NORFOLK, Va. (AP/WAVY) - The Pentagon is cutting its aircraft carrier presence in the Persian Gulf region from two carriers to one, the Defense Department said Wednesday, in a move that represents one of the most significant effects of budget cuts on the U.S. military presence overseas.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has approved keeping just one carrier in the Persian Gulf region. The U.S. has maintained two aircraft carrier groups in the Gulf for most of the last two years.
Plans for the Norfolk-based USS Harry S Truman to deploy to the Gulf later this week have been canceled. The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, which returned to Norfolk from the Gulf in December for the resurfacing of its flight deck and other maintenance, will return later this month and stay until about summer. The USS John C. Stennis will leave the Gulf and return home after the Eisenhower arrives.
Navy officials held a news conference at Naval Station Norfolk Wednesday to discuss the decision.
RADM Kevin Sweeney/Commander of the USS Truman Carrier Strike Group (Carrier Strike Group 10),
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