Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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US Navy and Marines Intensify Airstrikes against ISIS in Libya

Jump jets

(Photo : US Navy) Two AV-8B Herriers of the U.S. Marines about to take-off from the USS Wasp.

Northrop Grumman F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) Carrier Strike Group (CSG) resumed airstrikes against ISIL (or ISIS) targets in Sirte, Libya in support of Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), the U.S. military campaign against ISIL in Iraq and Syria.

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"U.S. 6th Fleet is fighting 'Daesh' on multiple fronts, simultaneously supporting three combatant commanders," said Vice Adm. Christopher Grady, Commander, United States Sixth Fleet.

"As a flexible, adaptive force, we are committed to defeating Daesh, we are committed to our NATO allies and partners, and we are 'where it matters, when it matters.'"

The three combatant commands supported by the Sixth Fleet are U.S. Central Command, U.S. Africa Command and U.S. European Command.

U.S. Marine Corps Boeing AV-8B Harrier vertical take-off and landing jets of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) are conducting precision air strikes against ISIL targets in Sirte from the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) as part of Operation Odyssey Lightning (OOL).

Operation Odyssey Lightning is the codename for the U.S. military effort to support the Libyan Government of National Accord-aligned forces fighting against ISIL and other radical Islamist militants.

The Eisenhower's CSG returned to the Sixth Fleet area of operations Dec. 4 after conducting strikes from the Eastern Mediterranean Sea from June 28 to July 7. It completed 116 sorties in support of OIR.

Eisenhower's CSG consists of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69); Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3; guided-missile cruisers USS San Jacinto (CG 56) and USS Monterey (CG 61), and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 26 with guided-missile destroyers USS Roosevelt (DDG 80), USS Mason (DDG 87) and USS Nitze (DDG 94).

Operation Inherent Resolve demonstrates the deep commitment of the U.S. and regional partner nations to eliminating the terrorist group ISIL and the threat it poses to the international community.

Wasp is deployed as part of the Wasp Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) to the Sixth Fleet area of operations to support maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts.

Wasp initially used AV-8B Harrier jump jets as strike aircraft and added AH-1W SuperCobra attack helicopters to provide close air support on these strike missions. She conducted 330 strikes since the mission began, an average of more than four strikes per day.

Commander, Amphibious Squadron 6 commands the Wasp ARG, which consists of amphibious dock landing ship USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41), amphibious transport dock USS San Antonio (LPD 17) and Wasp. The 22nd MEU is currently embarked on the Wasp ARG.

The 22nd MEU had been conducting precision air strikes against ISIL targets in Sirte since early August from the Wasp ARG as part of OOL. Both Wasp and San Antonio conducted sorties in support of OOL during their time in the Sixth Fleet area of operations.

With its headquarters in Naples, Italy, the Sixth Fleet conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint, and interagency partners in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.

The Sixth Fleet is the United States Navy's operational fleet and staff of United States Naval Forces Europe.

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