The Pentagon announced on Sunday that the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS Nimitz, and its strike group were ordered to return to the Persian Gulf in response to threats from Iran. The threats come after the one-year anniversary of the US drone-strike assassination of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani. The new orders come just three days after they were ordered to return to their homeport
Nimitz Returns As Warning to Iran
“Due to the recent threats issued by Iranian leaders against President Trump and other U.S. government officials, I have ordered the USS Nimitz (CVN-68) to halt its routine redeployment,” Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller said in the statement.
“USS Nimitz will now remain on station in the U.S. Central Command area of operations. No one should doubt the resolve of the United States of America.”
The Nimitz was deployed to the region in June. Before the orders on Thursday, the Nimitz and the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group had been operating off the coast of Somalia to support the repositioning of about 700 US troops to other countries in East Africa.
Tensions between the US and Iran have been mounting. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gave a speech on December 16th warning of a “definite plan” for revenge. Three days later, Iranian-backed militia attacked the US Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. Last Wednesday when, according to a report in the Washington Times, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani issued a personal death-threat against US President Trump.
In response, on Wednesday, two U.S. B-52 Stratofortress bombers flew over the Persian Gulf, avoiding Iranian airspace in a 36-hour mission from Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota. It was the third time in six weeks that US B-52s had flown near Iran.
Don’t Worry US, IDF Has Your Back
Two weeks ago, an Israeli submarine crossed the Suez Canal. Debka File reported that the move was coordinated with the US military which sent the USS Georgia, an Ohio-class nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine (SSGN), escorted by the cruisers USS Port Royal and USS Philippine Sea to the Strait of Hormuz on Monday. The USS Georgia is one of four in the Navy’s arsenal and can carry up to 154 Tomahawk missiles. In the video released by the US Navy, the US submarine can be seen with a drydock behind its sail. The drydock is used to deploy commandos from the vessel which can carry 66 special forces soldiers.
LARGEST, OLDEST, NUCLEAR-POWERED
At 1092 feet and over 100,000 tons displacement, the nuclear-powered Nimitz, touted as the US Navy’s oldest and finest aircraft carrier, is one of the largest warships in the world. The Nimitz has a complement of over 3,500 sailors and an airwing of over 2,400 capable of operating 90 warplanes and helicopters.
The Amphibious Ready Group consists of USS Makin Island (LHD-8) and amphibious transport docks USS Somerset (LPD-25) and USS San Diego (LPD-22), and 2,500 Marines from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit are embarked aboard the three ships. Makin Island also has a squadron of Marine F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters aboard.