This means that the USS Cole, damaged by terrorists in Yemen in 2000, will play a role in the evacuation of up to 25,000 US citizens from Lebanon.
The Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group consists of USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), USS Nashville (LPD 13) and USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41). USS Trenton (LPD 14) and High Speed Vessel Swift (HSV 2) have also joined the strike group.
The Swift’s high speed, shallow draft, and large cargo capacity will come in handy if things get dicey. As will the LCACs (Landing Craft Air Cushion) on the Whidbey Island.
Hopefully things won’t get as bad as needing to resort to that.
Incidentally, recall that the Iwo Jima expeditionary strike group played a big part in post-Katrina operations in the Gulf of Mexico last summer. (That was before the Cole re-joined the fleet.)