NORFOLK -- USS George H.W. Bush leaders say so far, so good when it comes to the on-going U.S. air strike campaign against insurgents in Iraq.
Speaking by phone from the Persian Gulf, USS Bush Commanding Officer Captain Andrew Loiselle told 13 News Now the entire strike group and air wing pulled together quickly once President Obama issued the strike order.
"It's going quite well," he said. "That is probably the single greatest thing about aircraft carriers is that we are immensely flexible. And so we were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom over in Afghanistan and then this went down. And within 30 hours we're supporting the Iraq theater of operations. So without skipping a beat we were ready to go."
The air strikes are being carried out by F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet fighter jets based at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach.
Deputy Commander of Carrier Air Group 8 Captain Dan Martin said the pilots and Naval Flight Officers are doing a good job.
"It has been rewarding," he said. "Performance has been superb, to say the least. We're excited to have been called upon by our political leaders to defend our interests aboard."
Martin was not able to provide exact details on the air strikes, but said he believes the effort is making a difference.
"Our presence there, even if we're just overhead making noise, there is an element of protection with that, and somewhat of an element of fear in the ISIS guys on the ground," he said.