In response to the ongoing turmoil in Iraq as the Islamist insurgents known as ISIS advance on Baghdad, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush to the Persian Gulf.

The USS George H.W. Bush, whose home is Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Va., left port in February. The carrier has operated in the Middle East region as part of an ongoing rotation of forward-deployed U.S. forces to support maritime security operations. The guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea and the guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun are accompanying the Bush.

The Daily Signal traveled Monday to Naval Station Norfolk to join defense and other policy experts on a tour of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, an aircraft carrier in the same class – and thus with similar capabilities – as the Bush. The Daily Signal also toured the USS McFaul, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.

These photos take you inside the warships, for a glimpse of how the ships deployed to the Persian Gulf would operate.


The USS Theodore Roosevelt towers 20 stories above the waterline. It boasts four bronze propellers, each 21 feet across and weighing more than 30 tons.


 The 4.5-acre flight deck of the Roosevelt can carry up to 85 aircraft, which are both launched and recovered on it.


The pilot house of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which oversees the flight deck and monitors the aircraft, is manned 24/7.


This “dud plane” rests on the flight deck for practice purposes. A mannequin, “Rescue Randy,” serves as a prop during mock rescues.


The United States deploys 10 Nimitz class carriers. The Roosevelt, commissioned in 1986, is expected to operate as a Navy warship for 50 years.


The USS McFaul conducts combat operations at sea. On Sept. 12, 2012, the day after the Benghazi attacks, it was ordered to the coast of Libya in case the president ordered a strike.


The McFaul is equipped with an Mk 45 lightweight gun designed for use against surface warships and aircraft in flight.


The vertical launching system of the McFaul holds and fires missiles.