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WASHINGTON -- Norfolk-based aircraft carrier USS George H. W. Bush arrived in the Persian Gulf after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered it to move from the northern Arabian Sea Saturday.

Hagel's press secretary, Rear Admiral John Kirby said the order gives President Obama added flexibility if military action is required to protect American lives, citizens, and interests in Iraq.

Norfolk-based guided missle destroyer USS Truxtun and Mayport-based guided missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea accompaned the Bush.

The Truxtun and Philippine Sea carry Tomahawk missiles, which could reach Iraq.

The Bush is carrying fighter jets that could also easily get to Iraq, where a fast-moving Islamic insurgency is gaining territory.

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