This is my first article for Carthage’s newspaper, The Current 🙂
As a close friend of a sailor in our Navy, I do everything I can to keep up to date with the current situation regarding the fleets in the Persian Gulf – a situation many people seem to overlook outside of the fluctuating gas prices.
Up until early January, I’ll admit I wasn’t paying attention either. My concern was the 7th fleet – the one that contained my friend’s ship, the USS Carl Vinson – whose primary area of responsibility lies in the waters surrounding Japan and South Korea. However, in the first week of January, Iran threatened to fire missiles at US ships that entered the Persian Gulf or attempted to pass through the Strait of Hormuz without permission from the Iranian government. The USS John C Stennis of the 5th fleet, which was in the Persian Gulf at the time the initial threat was made, pulled out of the gulf. Following this were rumors that part of the 7th fleet would be joining the 5th fleet in the Arabian Sea area.
In the weeks that followed, both the Vinson and the USS Abraham Lincoln made their way from the waters of Hong Kong to the Arabian Sea, joining the 5th fleet. The Stennis then began its journey home after three months supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in the Middle Eastern waters, joining the 7th fleet near Japan for a period of time.
So what does the placement of new ships in the gulf mean? Simply that America is prepared. According to The Associated Press, the U.S. Navy is giving its largest demonstration of force in the Persian Gulf since 2003 – beginning with two aircraft carriers and ending with warplanes simulating attack maneuvers. However, the progress of the Navy is continuing as it would have had the threats not been made, for the most part. Since the threats were made, the USS Lincoln has passed through the Strait of Hormuz into the Persian Gulf, untouched by Iranian forces.
Were it not for the skyrocketing fuel prices, a lot of Americans would be left entirely in the dark regarding the state of our fleets in foreign waters. The response of both the 5th and 7th fleet to Iran’s threats demonstrates the readiness and bravery of our men, whose safe return home is worth a temporary rise in gas prices.