July 19, 2012
A week ago we reported news that Middle East veteran aircraft carrier CVN-74 Stennis was ending its brief sabbatical prematurely, and far earlier than previously expected, and heading right back into the field, er sea, of action. As Kitsapsun reported, “Bremerton-based aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis is returning to the Middle East much sooner than expected. The Navy hasn’t officially announced the new deployment plan for the Stennis, said spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Zach Harrell.” The ship came home to Naval Base Kitsap on March 2 after seven months of launching planes into Iraq and Afghanistan. Generally, it wouldn’t go back to the Fifth Fleet area of responsibility for four to five years, after a deployment to the Western Pacific and a maintenance period. But with Iran making threats, crew members learned Saturday they’ll be leaving again in late August for eight months.” We concluded that shortly, Stennis will be the third carrier accompanying Lincoln and Enterprise. As it turns out, a third carrier was already en route, and as of today, CVN 69 Eisenhower is either at the opening of the Straits of Hormuz, or just past it. That makes 3 aircraft carriers in the middle east, 2 in the Gulf and the Arabian Sea and one just off the coast of Syria. And technically, the LHD 7 Iwo Jima Big Deck Amphibious ship, which is also just off the coast of Iran region, makes three and a half.Which means that a 5th one (rounded up) – Stennis – is coming in 1-2 months. Good luck Iran.
So to recap: Four US aircraft carriers. One big deck amphibious warfare ship. One Iran. WTI well below its 2012 highs even with Bernanke having engaged in yet another flow-boosting Qualitative Easing operation. And One presidential election in 4 months.