U.S. Navy Replaces Persian Gulf Carriers
By BARBARA SURK
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - The U.S. Navy said Sunday that it was
maintaining a stepped-up military presence in the Persian Gulf by keeping
two aircraft carriers in the area amid tensions with Iran.
The USS Nimitz and the ships in its strike group were expected within two
days to replace the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, said Navy Cmdr. Kevin Aandahl
of the Bahrain-based U.S. 5th Fleet.
The San Diego, Calif.-based Nimitz will join aircraft carrier USS John C.
Stennis, now on patrol in the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea and
Both carriers, with about 160 aircraft and more than 5,000 sailors and
marines between them, are backing military operations in
The February arrival of the Bremerton, Wash.-based Stennis marked the first
time since the U.S.-led invasion of
aircraft carriers in the
Aandahl said most carrier deployments in the Persian Gulf last six to eight
months, meaning the
through the summer.
Many see the increased military buildup as a way to impress on
four-year stay in
"It's to tell
a security expert at
Arab governments have signaled their unease with the aggressive
presence in the Persian Gulf, fearing any
reprisals against countries that host American bases.
Persian Gulf leaders also remain deeply worried about Iran's nuclear
program, which Tehran says is aimed at bolstering its electricity supply,
but Washington suspects is cover for weapons development.