The aircraft carriers USS John C. Stennis (foreground) and USS Abraham Lincoln in the Mediterranean Sea on April 23. Navy photo

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln was already headed to the Middle East when National Security Advisor John Bolton announced its deployment.

The Lincoln left Norfolk April 1 on a regularly scheduled deployment, and afterward will proceed to its new home port of San Diego. It was operating in the Mediterranean Sea with the Bremerton, WA-based carrier USS John C. Stennis last week.

The Stennis is also transferring home ports and is on its way to Norfolk, swapping with the Lincoln. They met on the way, headed in different directions.

Bolton announced Sunday night that the Lincoln and its accompanying strike group were being sent to the Middle East in order “to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime.”

The Lincoln is expected to transit the Suez Canal in coming days to enter the 5th Fleet area of operations.

The Navy typically deploys one aircraft carrier battle group and one Marine expeditionary unit led by an amphibious assault ship in the Middle East at all times.

The Lincoln is replacing the Stennis as the aircraft carrier in the region, and the USS Kearsage amphibious group is there now, to be replaced soon by the USS Boxer, which left San Diego on May 1.

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Chris Jennewein

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