The aircraft carrier Ranger and seven escort ships will leave their home ports in San Diego and Long Beach today for deployment to the Middle East, the Pentagon announced.
The carrier, with about 75 aircraft on its flight deck, will join three others already supporting Operation Desert Shield in the northern Arabian Sea, the Red Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean.
Two other carriers--the America and the Theodore Roosevelt--are scheduled to leave from Norfolk, Va., after Christmas to complete a doubling of American carrier strength in the Middle East.
On Friday, two ships sailed from Southern California. The Horne, a guided missile cruiser carrying 400 people, sailed from San Diego at 9:30 a.m., Navy spokesman Clint Duncan said. The Jarrett, a guided missile frigate with 185 aboard, left Long Beach Naval Station at 8:50 a.m., spokesman Mike Perron said.
Meanwhile, the Army said Friday that elements of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment have begun arriving in Saudi Arabia from their base in Nuremberg, Germany. It did not say how many of the approximately 5,000 troops in the regiment have arrived.
The Army also announced that it alerted an undisclosed number of National Guard and Reserve members in 10 states to be prepared to report for active duty for Desert Shield.
The Marine Corps announced the call-up of 334 reservists from California and Georgia. Those from California are to report for active duty Dec. 18 at the Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms; those from Georgia are to report to Camp Lejeune, N.C., on Dec. 10.
The Navy said it activated 289 reservists from 15 states and the District of Columbia.