A carrier strike group, described by President Donald Trump as an "armada" headed to North Korea, actually went the opposite direction, to the Indian Ocean thousands of miles away. The alleged deployment sparked fears that the White House was planning to strike North Korea.
Trump told Fox Business News on April 12th "we're sending an armada [to Korea]" The problem? The Vinson wasn't headed to Korea. At least not directly. Vinson and its escorts-the cruiser USS Lake Champlain and destroyers USS Wayne E. Meyer and USS Michael Murphy-sailed from Singapore through Indonesia's Sunda Strait to the Indian Ocean for a prearranged exercise with the Australian Navy.
For nearly a week the entire world-including America's allies in the Asia Pacific region-assumed the Carrier Strike Group was nearing or already in the Sea of Japan. The Vinson's true location, as New York Times pointed out, was actually 3,500 miles away. Instead, the Vinson Carrier Strike Group will head to Korea after the exercises with Australia. The ship's cruise has been extended thirty days to provide a "persistent presence in the waters off the Korean Peninsula."
The mislocation of the carrier strike group seems to have been the result of the White House and Pentagon giving out incorrect information about the order of events. In discussion with reporters, government officials seem to have discussed a Korean deployment with no mention of the exercises off Western Australia, as though the carrier was going straight from a visit at Singapore to the Sea of Japan. That the Pentagon did not immediately correct the record is unusual.
In reality, the Korean "presence mission" was tacked onto the end of Carl Vinson's tour. Vinson and her escorts have left Australia and should be off the coast of Korea "sometime next week," according to U.S. Naval Institute News sources.
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