As everyone prepares to celebrate Thanksgiving, more than 2,000 Sailors and Marines assigned to three of U.S. Navy’s assault ships have to continue reporting for duty after their vessels were ordered to head to Israeli shores.
USS Iwo Jima, USS New York, and USS Gunston Hall were on their way back to the U.S. from an eight-month deployment when they received an order to sail for Israel where they will be on standby for Americans who might be affected by the most recent Israel-Gaza clash, the RT reports.
Although it wasn’t clear how many Americans are currently living in Israel, about 2,000 U.S. citizens reportedly move there every year. The three U.S. Navy ships will be prepared to serve as floating hospitals in case Israel-based Americans get injured in the conflict.
The ships are capable of treating a large number of casualties. Their hanger bays and vast indoor rooms can be turned into makeshift hospitals.
Two U.S. officials told CNN that President Obama is not planning for an evacuation, though it remains a possibility.
“This is being done as a precautionary measure to allow the Marine team to respond to any crisis or contingency, whatever is out there,” Cmdr. Marc Boyd, spokesman for U.S. Naval Forces Europe/Africa, told the Stars and Stripes. “It is a prudent measure.”
Boyd said the ships will remain in the region until further notice.
According to The Associated Press, the seven-day conflict has already killed more than 100 Palestinians and three Israelis.