NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – The Norfolk-based USS George H. W. Bush carrier strike group was involved in several airstrikes conducted in Iraq Friday, according to the Pentagon.
The group deployed in February from Naval Station Norfolk and moved closer to the Persian Gulf in June.
The Pentagon said F-18s dropped a total of ten bombs over the northern part of Iraq Friday, one day after President Obama authorized military intervention in a growing humanitarian crisis in the country.
“Today I authorized two operations in Iraq: targeted air strikes to protect our American personnel and a humanitarian effort to help save thousands of Iraqi civilians who are trapped on a mountain without food or water,” the President said Thursday.
The Pentagon said the F-18s targeted weapons that terrorists were using against forces defending the city where American diplomats are located.
Old Dominion University Professor of Political Science and Author Aaron Karp said there are still many questions about the conflict: “There are risks on the ground, there are big risks in the air, as well, so no one should think that this is going to be a cost-free intervention.”
Karp said the U.S. will be watching how effectively Kurdish militias defend against the terrorists.
“For the men and women serving in the Navy and the Marine Corps, for their families, the question, of course, is how big will this intervention be? How long is it going to last? Are there going to be combat forces on the ground in the end? We don’t know the answer to any of this,” Karp said.
The President authorized deliveries of meals and water for tens of thousands of stranded Iraqis. It has been three years since Obama pulled U.S. forces out of the country, and he has said he will not send combat forces back into Iraq.