Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen has ordered additional aircraft to deploy to Europe in support of NATO Operation Allied Force. He also ordered a mine countermeasures ship to remain in the Mediterranean to participate in NATO Operation Allied Harbor rather than complete a scheduled deployment to the Arabian Gulf.
Thursday, Cohen tasked U.S. Pacific Command to deploy six F-15C aircraft to Europe in support of U.S. European Command's participation in NATO Operation Allied Force. The aircraft and associated support personnel and equipment will come from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, and arrive in Europe next week.
The secretary also ordered USS Inchon to remain in the eastern Mediterranean to support NATO humanitarian relief efforts rather than proceed on its original mission to the Arabian Gulf. USS Inchon has unique capabilities that are well suited for humanitarian relief operations, including heavy-lift helicopters, hospital beds and other shipboard assets. They will add needed humanitarian relief capabilities to Operation Allied Harbor without enlarging the onshore footprint.