USS Nimitz Scheduled To Depart For Persian Gulf

Ship To Join Another Local Aircraft Carrier

The USS Nimitz and its support ships will depart San Diego on Monday for the Persian Gulf to join another local aircraft carrier strike group already in the region, military officials said.

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier will join the San Diego-based John C. Stennis Strike Group and relieve the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, according to Naval Air Forces Public Affairs.

Military officials said in a statement that the two-carrier presence in the Persian Gulf area is intended to demonstrate the country's "resolve to build regional security and bring long-term stability to the region."

The Nimitz's departure comes amid heightened tensions in the region following the detention of 15 British sailors and marines by Iran last week. Iran maintains the detainees were operating in its territorial waters, a charge the British government strongly denies.

While deployed, the crew of the Nimitz will support the war on terrorism, patrol the Horn of Africa and conduct marine security operations as part of the larger effort to "deter and dissuade others from acting counter to U.S. national interests," according to a Navy statement.

The Nimitz Strike Group is comprised of the guided-missile cruiser Princeton, guided-missile destroyers Higgins, Chafee, John Paul Jones and Pinckney, two helicopter squadrons and an explosive ordnance disposal unit.

The Stennis, and its strike group, left Naval Base Coronado on Jan. 20. The aircraft carrier entered the Persian Gulf Wednesday, according to authorities. It is the largest carrier presence in the area since the start of the war in Iraq.

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