The Big Stick, as the Roosevelt is affectionately known, left the Persian Gulf for the Gulf of Aden to prevent Iranian weapons shipments from reaching Houthi rebels – Shiite Muslims rebelling against the Sunni government – in the eastern part of the country. The carrier's first interaction with the Iranians could be coming soon, as the Navy is tracking an Iranian convoy steaming towards the waters of Yemen, USA Today reports.
According to sources within the Navy that spoke to USA Today on condition of anonymity, the Roosevelt is the ninth ship to take station off Yemen and adds "significantly" to the available firepower. That's important, because on top of the rebellion, the US government has been monitoring the actions of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Having something like The Big Stick available makes that task at least a little bit easier.
According to USA Today, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter hinted at the Roosevelt's redeployment to combat AQAP last week, saying:
"It's easier for us to operate against [AQAP] if we have the cooperation of a stable government as was the case in the past. But if we don't have a stable government, as is the case in the current circumstance, we have to use other means to protect ourselves, and that's what we're doing."