After more than seven months in the waters around the Middle East intercepting and targeting Houthi munitions, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier and its supporting ships are set to stick around for at least another month. 

The “Ike,” as it is known, and the three ships in its carrier strike group had their deployment extended an additional month, according to the Associated Press. The AP, citing several U.S. government officials, said that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin signed the order in late May. 

Alongside the carrier itself, the Eisenhower carrier strike group includes the destroyers USS Gravely and USS Mason, as well as the cruiser USS Philippine Sea. The carrier strike group also includes the air wing based on the Ike and comprises approximately 6,000 sailors. 

The decision comes as the Houthi movement continues to fire munitions and one-way attack drones at ships in the waters around Yemen. The attacks throughout the Red Sea have led many shipping companies to find alternative routes, attempting to avoid going through what is normally one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. 

Despite dozens of intercepts or preemptive “self defense” strikes on Houthi drone and missiles, as well as several larger airstrike operations across Yemen this year, the militants remain active. In January and February, U.S. Central Command and the Pentagon both said that strikes on Yemen done in conjunction with the United Kingdom were “intended to degrade Houthi capability and disrupt their continued reckless and unlawful attacks.” However Houthis have not lost that capability, launching multiple drones and missiles at vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. From May 24 to June 1 alone, CENTCOM reported near daily launches, intercepts or self-defense strikes on Houthi sites (May 29 being the one day without a reported incident). 

Subscribe to Task & Purpose Today. Get the latest military news and culture in your inbox daily.

The Houthis, a Yemeni nationalist and religious movement, seized control of much of Yemen following a civil war with the internationally recognized government. Despite years of fighting, and heavy bombardment by a Saudi-led coalition, the group maintains its hold over much of the country, including the capital city of Sana’a. The group began attacking ships passing through the Red Sea in the fall, in response to the outbreak of the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. 

The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower has played a major role in anti-Houthi operations over the last seven months. Its carrier group and its fighter wing have shot down several Houthi munitions and drones, as well as bombed several locations inside Yemen.

Although the Ike and its supporting ships are sticking around, other ships sent to the Middle East after the start of the Israel-Gaza war have returned. The USS Gerald R. Ford carrier strike group left the eastern Mediterranean Sea in January. The USS Carney, an Arleligh Burke-class destroyer that engaged weapons fired from Yemen 51 times over eight months, returned back to the United States in mid-May.

The latest on Task & Purpose

  • Married Marines graduate from Parris Island boot camp together
  • USS Carney had ‘seconds’ to respond to anti-ship ballistic missiles
  • 18th Airborne Corps orders soldiers on staff duty to get some sleep
  • Bud Anderson, the last World War II ‘triple ace,’ dies at 102
  • Air Force general will jump from one to three stars to lead air commandos