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U.S. Sends Three Warships Back Into Persian Gulf After Clearing Them Out Earlier This Month

Seaman Jocelyn Ramey uses the ship’s binoculars while standing watch as a lookout aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87) while transiting the Strait of Hormuz. Navy photo.

A destroyer in the the Lincoln Carrier Strike Group entered the Persian Gulf this week without incidents, after the U.S. Navy cleared its ships out of the Gulf earlier this month amid rising tensions.

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG-87) passed through the Strait of Hormuz a week after two other U.S. warships —USS McFaul (DDG-74) and USS Gonzalez (DDG-66) – entered the gulf by transiting the choke point that’s typically under steady surveillance by Iranian forces.

Mason did not encounter any unsafe maritime operations by any other force in the area, Navy officials told USNI News on Thursday.

The Navy typically has destroyers on independent deployments and ships from rotational carrier strike groups and amphibious ready groups in the Persian Gulf at any given time. Parts of the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group had been operating in the Gulf earlier this month but were sent out through the Strait of Hormuz as tensions with Iran rose.

The Lincoln CSG arrived in the region earlier than initially expected when it was ordered to depart the Mediterranean and head to U.S. Central Command waters because of what the White House and Department of Defense officials called “indications of heightened Iranian readiness to conduct offensive operations against U.S. forces and our interests.”

For nearly a week now, USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) and its escorts have operated in the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea, outside the Persian Gulf, according to the USNI News Fleet Tracker. It appears the Navy is now sending ships back in to resume their previous operations.

Iranian officials had previously shrugged off the recent movement of U.S. Navy forces into the region. When the Lincoln CSG abruptly left the Mediterranean Sea, the Iranian Republic News Agency reported Behrouz Nemati, spokesman for the Iranian parliament, as saying, “the commutes of the U.S. forces are nothing new.”

However, on Thursday, after Mason steamed into the Persian Gulf, Major-General Mohammad Baqeri, the Iranian military chief of staff, offered more pointed comments about the recent U.S. Navy moves.

“The enemies should know that the Iranian military will not lose any single moment monitoring the enemies’ conspiracies and adventurism, especially those of the U.S. abominate administration,” Baqeri said in an Iranian Republic News Agency report.
“The new conditions of countering the U.S. arrogant and pharaonic threat invite all the Iranians to enter the fields of jihad, full alert, and mobilize more power.”