Two massive earthquakes just hours apart struck cities and towns across southern Turkey and northwest Syria earlier this week, amassing a death toll of more than 20,000 as of writing. The recent tragedy is now one of the biggest natural disasters in the 21st century.

Boosting Rescue Efforts

The US Defense Department said Wednesday that the Pentagon issued an order to move the Nimitz-class supercarrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) into the Mediterranean Sea near Turkey to boost rescue and recovery efforts. In addition, other US military assets such as search and rescue teams, C-17 cargo planes, and helicopters were also deployed to help with search and rescue operations around the affected region.

CVN-77, the flagship of the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group, recently ported in Greece, visiting Piraeus last week to enhance NATO Alliance and allow Sailors aboard “a chance to experience Greek culture,” the Navy said in a statement. The Strike Group supports regional operations of the US Sixth Fleet under the US Naval Force Europe-Africa ((NAVEUR-NAVAF).

The nuclear-powered supercarrier can accommodate more than 90 planes and helicopters and has a complement of more than 5,500 Sailors, homeported at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia.