clear
Friday February 5th, 2016 7:26PM

Pentagon sending aircraft carrier to Mideast early

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON - The Pentagon is sending an aircraft carrier to the Middle East several months early to make sure at least two carriers will constantly be present in the troubled region.

There are two carriers in the area now, but one was scheduled to leave before its replacement arrived to fill that gap, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has approved sending by late summer the USS John C. Stennis strike group, which also includes the Aegis guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay and some 5,500 sailors.

The extra presence was approved late last week on a request by Gen. James Mattis, commander of U.S. Central Command, Pentagon press Secretary George Little said Monday.

Questioned about whether the deployment is a response to problems with Iran or perhaps the violence in Syria, he declined to be specific. Little said the need comes from a "wide range of security issues" in the region.

"This is not about any one particular country or any one particular threat," he said.

The USS John C..Stennis will have to accelerate its training and re-equipping of the ship, because it just left the area in December.

After that last deployment, Iran's army chief Gen. Ataollah Salehi in January warned the U.S. warship not to return to the Gulf, but its replacement, the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, entered the Gulf without incident later in January.

Although U.S. warships have had a presence in the region for decades, the deployment schedule change comes during an escalating showdown between Iran and the West over the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.

The Pentagon also recently doubled the number of minesweepers in the region, giving the U.S. greater flexibility to counter any Iranian effort to mine the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf.

The strait is routinely patrolled by Iranian and U.S. warships. Iran has repeatedly threatened to close the strategic waterway, which is the transit route for about a fifth of the world's oil supply, in retaliation for increased Western-led sanctions.

Another ship, the USS Ponce, has also been sent. The amphibious transport dock was recently retrofitted to become what is known as an afloat forward staging base.
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Doctors: Blood clot located in Clinton's head
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton developed a blood clot in her head but did not suffer a stroke or neurological damage, her doctors said Monday. They say they are confident that she will make a full recovery.
3:55PM ( 3 years ago )
Illinois Sen. Kirk to return a year after stroke
Nearly a year after a stroke left him barely able to move the left side of his body, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk is expected to climb the 45 steps to the Senate's front door this week - a walk that's significant not just for Illinois' junior senator, but also for medical researchers and hundreds of thousands of stroke patients.
3:54PM ( 3 years ago )
U.S. News
Couch names administrative team
Ahead of his scheduled swearing in Friday, Hall County Sheriff-elect Gerald Couch named his top administrative team Monday.
6:28PM ( 3 years ago )
Tech beats Southern California in Sun Bowl
Tevin Washington threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score to help Georgia Tech beat Southern California 21-7 on Monday in the Sun Bowl.
5:54PM ( 3 years ago )
Hall Co. officials launch health-based initiative for employees
Hall County officials believe healthy county employees will be of greater service to the county. With that in mind, they have created a health-based fitness initiative to provide free fitness training for county workers.
5:46PM ( 3 years ago )
Local/State News
Cheap oil will be sticking around for a while, buoying consumers, frustrating oil producers
Cheap oil will be sticking around for a while.That reality is wreaking havoc and causing uncertainty for some governments and businesses, while creating financial windfalls for others. Less expensive...
6:18PM ( 3 days ago )
Cruz (R) expected to claim conservative Iowa caucus victory, with Clinton (D) and Sanders (D) deadlocked among liberal vote
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz swept to victory in Iowa's Republican caucuses Monday, overcoming billionaire Donald Trump and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Among Democrats, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were deadlocked in a tight race.
By The Associated Press
10:55PM ( 3 days ago )
America, its politics in flux as voting begins
On the eve of the first contest on the 2016 presidential election calendar, some voters are pushing for bolder, more uncompromising action, with an intensity that has shaken both the Republican and Democratic establishments.
By The Associated Press
9:00PM ( 4 days ago )
Piedmont College biology professor says getting rid of mosquito breeding areas key to control of Zika virus
The World Health Organization says the Zika virus is likely to spread to every area of the U.S. where the mosquito that carries it can be found - and that includes Georgia.
By Russell Brown
9:38AM ( 5 days ago )
Donald Trump's Republican rivals mocked the billionaire businessman for skipping Thursday night's debate, then tried to capitalize on a rare opportunity to step out of his shadow
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Absent Donald Trump, the Republican presidential candidates strained to take advantage of a rare opportunity to step out of the front-runner's shadow in Thursday night's debate...
1:46AM ( 1 week ago )