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U.S. carrier presence in Gulf to decline, briefly

The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower departs Naval Station Norfolk in this file photo taken August 25, 2011. REUTERS/Mass Communica
The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower departs Naval Station Norfolk in this file photo taken August 25, 2011. REUTERS/Mass Communica

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. aircraft carrier presence in the Gulf region will decline for about two months, from two to one carrier, due to unexpected repairs that have triggered a reshuffling of deployments, the Navy said on Wednesday.

It will be the first time since December 2010 the Navy has not had two carriers in the Gulf region for an extended period of time, as tensions with Iran simmer.

The reshuffling, which the Navy described as "unusual," was caused by the discovery of needed repairs on board the carrier USS Nimitz, which was meant to deploy to the Middle East and replace the carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower - which is now in the Gulf.

Instead, the Eisenhower will return in December to the United States, where the Navy will resurface its flight deck, and it will return to the Middle East region early next year for an additional deployment lasting several more months. The Nimitz will deploy once repair work is complete, the Navy said.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Todd Eastham)

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