Stennis, Nimitz and Bonhomme Richard Enter the Persian Gulf
USS JOHN C. STENNIS, At Sea (NNS) -- The USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Carrier Strike Groups and USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) Expeditionary Strike Group entered the Persian Gulf May 23.
While operating in the Persian Gulf, the carriers and amphibious strike groups and their associated forces will conduct missions in direct support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and will also perform Expeditionary Strike Force (ESF) training. (...)
The air wings from the aircraft carriers and BHR will conduct air training while the surface components will conduct training in three general disciplines: anti-submarine, anti-surface and mine warfare. (...)
Along with JCS, other ships in its strike group which made the transit include the guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54) and the guided-missile destroyer USS O’Kane (DDG 77).
Stennis’ Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 squadrons include the “Black Knights” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 154, “Blue Diamonds” of VFA-146, “Argonauts” of VFA-147, “Death Rattlers” of Marine Strike Fighter Squadron (VMFA) 323, “Yellowjackets” of Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 138, “Golden Hawks” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 112, “Topcats” of Sea Control Squadron 31, “Eightballers” of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 8, and “Providers” of Logistics Support Squadron 30.
Accompanying NIM is guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) and guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins (DDG 76).
Nimitz's CVW-11 squadrons include VFA-14 “Tophatters,” VFA-41 “Black Aces,” VFA-81 “Sunliners,” Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 117 “Wallbangers,” VMFA-232 “Red Devils,” Electronic Warfare Squadron 135 “Black Ravens,” Logistics Support Squadron 30 “Providers,” and HS-6 “Indians.”
Accompanying BHR is the amphibious transport dock ship USS Denver (LPD 9), amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LPD 47) and fast-attack submarine USS Scranton (SSN 756).
Embarked aboard BHR is Amphibious Squadron 7. Also embarked aboard BHR, Denver and Rushmore are units from Beach Master Unit 1, Assault Craft Units 1 and 5, Tactical Air Control Squadron 12, Naval Beach Group 1, and Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23. The 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) makes up the Marine force embarked with the ESG. Units of the 13th MEU include Combat Logistics Battalion 13; Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment; and Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 163 - Reinforced.
That's a lot of firepower.
Previous: Sending clear messages
Update: In some other not-so-clear messages, the Blotter at ABCNews.com reported yesterday that the CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert "black" operation to destabilize the Iranian government.
And the Guardian, also quoting unnamed US officials, says that Iran has a secret plan for a summer offensive aimed at forcing the US out of Iraq. "Iran is fighting a proxy war in Iraq and it's a very dangerous course for them to be following. They are already committing daily acts of war against US and British forces."
One could speculate for days about the motivation behind these "leaks".