The USS Nimitz leaves San Diego on March 29. Photo by Chris Jennewein

The Navy has ordered a third nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to join the San Diego-based USS Carl Vinson off North Korea amid heightened tensions.

The federally funded Voice of America and a respected Japanese newspaper, citing sources, said the USS Nimitz would join the Vinson and the USS Ronald Reagan in the volatile region.

The Navy rarely deploys three aircraft carriers to the same region. The decision comes as North Korea has stepped up missile testing and vowed to develop weapons that can strike the United States.

Sometime in the coming week the U.S. will attempt to shoot down an intercontinental ballistic missile using a interceptor rocket fired from Vandenberg Air Force Base near Santa Barbara.

The Nimitz, which carries 90 aircraft, was long based in San Diego but now has its home port in Washington state. It was briefly in San Diego for training as recently as late March.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.