The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower is a massive vessel and the lead ship in a carrier strike group. It’s currently in the Red Sea, taking part in operations meant to stop attacks on shipping routes by the Houthi movement out of Yemen. On Thursday, Jan. 11 it launched F/A-18 fighter jets that took part in joint U.S.-U.K. strikes on Houthi-controlled areas around Yemen. It was the largest action in the Red Sea since attacks on commercial ships started weeks ago. The exact number of casualties from the attacks is unknown, but the Pentagon said that 28 locations were hit, with more than 150 guided munitions used in the operation.
This weekend after all of that the Ike’s captain posted this to social media:
That’s “Captain Demo,” a dog that regularly pops up on the captain’s social media posts. It turns out the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower is pretty active on social media, both as a whole and in posts from its commander, Capt. Christopher Hill. He’s regularly posting on the site X, formerly and better known as Twitter, under the handle @ChowdahHill. And if Hill is feeling anxious or tense amid the escalating violence in the Red Sea, he isn’t showing it.
That’s despite more than two dozen attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, months of tensions in the Middle East following the Oct. 7 terror attacks in Israel and the country’s subsequent war in Gaza and several back and forth air strikes and rocket attacks between U.S. forces and militants. Instead, the captain of the lead ship of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier strike group keeps it pretty light online. If Hill posts about the ongoing operations in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, it’s mostly to retweet posts from U.S. Central Command. Instead of Hill posting his own updates about operations or the ongoing tensions, he’s sharing photos of his crew and his dog. He particularly likes to post photos of crew members sitting in the captain’s chair holding a cookie. The carrier’s presence on Instagram is also light on operational details, mostly video and photos of the crew at work with almost no mention of the combat operations it is involved in.
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Hill’s posts are also a pretty strong contrast to the media being shared by Houthis. The group has shared footage of armed helicopter raids on commercial ships, and last month the group’s leader threatened to target American battleships if any attacks were conducted against the organization in Yemen. The Houthis have spent two decades fighting the former Yemeni regime and then Saudi Arabia and the internationally recognized government of Yemen. It currently controls a large swath of the country, including the capital of Sana’a. On Dec. 30 U.S. ships in the region responded to a distress call from a commercial ship and a day later the Ike and the USS Gravely launched helicopters to repel Houthi boats trying to seize the merchant vessel. Amid all of that, Hill shared a light-hearted post about an aircraft launch.
Hill is also apparently a big Star Wars fan. He regularly posts to social media with images of the titular character from The Mandalorian and the motto “this is the way,” also from the show. Captain Demo also has a harness with that on it.
The carrier strike group was originally sent to the Middle East region in October, as a deterrent against wider escalation following Oct. 7. Since then it has moved into the Red Sea area.
Since Thursday’s attacks on Houthi installations in Yemen, the group did fire one more missile into the Red Sea on Friday, but no one was hurt. The USS Carney hit a radar site operated by the group on Saturday. A Houthi spokesman pledged a “a firm, strong and effective response” following the Thursday attacks, but the group has not launched any missiles or drones since Friday. If Hill or the Ike’s dog seem worried, they aren’t showing it.
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