Posted by lex, on January 5th, 2012
How did Stennis Strike Group respond to the saber rattling of the Iranian general staff?
If Iran’s warning on Tuesday to this American aircraft carrier was intended to disrupt the ship’s routine or provoke a high-seas reaction, nothing of the sort was evident on Wednesday.
Steaming in international waters over the horizon from the Iranian fleet, the John C. Stennis spent the day and the early hours of the night launching and recovering aircraft for its latest mission — supporting ground troops in Afghanistan. All visible indications were that the carrier’s crew was keeping to its scheduled work, regardless of any political or diplomatic fallout from Iran’s warnings.
“It is business as usual here,” said Rear Adm. Craig S. Faller, commander of the carrier strike group, as he watched a large-screen radar image showing the nearby sea and sky cluttered with commercial traffic.
The screen also showed Navy jets flying back and forth in a narrow air corridor to Afghanistan, known as “the boulevard.”
The day’s sorties, not the words of Iran, commanded attention here throughout the afternoon and evening. Returning pilots discussed low-elevation passes to suppress Taliban fighters near an Italian patrol in Farah Province and to help British troops under fire in Helmand Province. The subject of Iran barely came up in the briefings and meetings…
As they planned the next day’s missions even as the last aircraft returned to the ship, Admiral Faller and his officers and crew had no comment about the general’s threat.
They referred to what had been said already in Washington: that United States ships sailed lawfully in international waters, and that they would not tolerate any effort by Iran or any other nation to close the Strait of Hormuz.
As for that, they said, everything was normal in the strait that day. “We get all the news,” Admiral Faller said. “We get CNN. We get Fox. We have access to the Internet, and we are voracious consumers of information. We saw those statements. But we also watch the sea.”
All of it.