Navy leaders ordered the Mahan to extend its deployment as the U.S. increased its presence in the region surrounding Syria. President Barack Obama has sought authorization from Congress to strike Syria after U.S. intelligence agencies confirmed that forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used sarin gas in the extend Syrian civil war killing over 1,400 people including women and children.
The Mahan carries about 90 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs) that many expect will be the weapon used should a strike be ordered.
Four U.S. destroyers will remain in the Mediterranean Sea: USS Stout, USS Ramage, USS Barry and USS Gravely. The Ramage was originally scheduled to replace the Mahan. All four also carry TLAMs.
The U.S. aircraft carrier USS Nimitz also sailed to the Red Sea to provide forces to the Syrian region.
Congress is expected to vote on an authorization next week. A Senate panel started the vote approving authorization in a vote 10–7 on Wednesday.