USS Kearsarge ESG Attacked by Rockets
The flagship and another amphib of the USS Kearsarge Expeditionary Strike Group were attacked by Katyusha rockets in the Jordanian port of Aqaba today. A rocket, apparently fired from a warehouse in Aqaba near the docks where USS Ashland (LSD-48) and USS Kearsarge (LHD-3) were moored. According to a statement from Central Command, the rocket flew over the bow of USS Ashland and hit another warehouse. According to the Jordanian government, the warehouse the rockets were fired from "...had been rented a few days ago by four people of Iraqi and Egyptian descent."
The USS Kearsarge Expeditionary Strike Group carries the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, and consists of the flagship and the amphibious transport dock USS Ponce (LPD 15), the dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48), the cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), the guided-missile destroyer USS Gonzalez (DDG 66), the guided-missile frigate USS Kauffman (FFG 59), and the fast-attack submarine USS Scranton (SSN 756). Apparently only the Kearsarge and Ashland were in port at the time.
Submarines attached to Expeditionary Strike Groups are fairly new; the first deployment I remember of a submarine with these groups (which used to be called Amphibious Ready Groups) was back in 2003, when USS Greeneville (SSN-772) deployed with ESG-1. Later, my old ship USS Connecticut (SSN 22) deployed with ESG-2. Normally, the submarines are only loosely affiliated with the Strike Group, and spend most of their time doing their own thing.
This attack brings to mind the attack on USS Cole in Yemen back in 2000. It makes me think that our improved force protection capabilities are paying off, if the best the jihadis can do is fire a rocket at our ships, and miss at that.
Update 2027 19 Aug: They apparently haven't caught the attackers yet. I think it's important in this case to ensure that the Egyptians, when caught, are returned to their own government for questioning.
Update 2109 19 Aug: Eagle1 has much more on the attack.
Update 1930 22 Aug: Looks like the ringleader has been arrested.