View Full Version : U.S. Sends 3rd Carrier To Gulf, Denies Build-Up

07-11-2007, 09:02 PM
U.S. sends 3rd carrier to Gulf, denies build-up


www.chinaview.cn 2007-07-11 11:30:08

BEIJING, July 11 (Xinhuanet) -- While the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Enterprise is heading to the Gulf region, the Pentagon on Tuesday said there is no naval build-up in the region.

Navy officials earlier raised the possibility that the USS Enterprise would increase the number of carriers in the region to three, which would be the biggest U.S. naval presence in the Gulf since the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

But Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said the deployment of the USS Enterprise was a routine measure to replace one of two U.S. Navy carriers now in the Fifth Fleet area.

"There is a scheduled swap of carriers that is part of the routine deployment of the Enterprise," Whitman told reporters in Washington.

"Has the department made a decision for three carriers in the Gulf? No," he added.

The Fifth Fleet area includes the Gulf, the Arabian Sea, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman and parts of the Indian Ocean.

Ships currently in the region are the USS John C. Stennis and USS Nimitz, and both are expected to leave soon. The nuclear-powered USS Enterprise left Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia over the weekend and will replace one of the carriers, the U.S. 5th Fleet announced Tuesday.

A Pentagon official said there was a possibility the Navy could go down to one carrier in the region.

The USS Stennis is expected to have left the region by the time the USS Enterprise arrives, and that the new carrier will replace the USS Nimitz, according to defense officials.

The United States sent a second carrier to the Gulf in a much-publicized military buildup at the start of this year. U.S. officials said that move was designed to reassure U.S. allies concerned about Iran's increasing influence in the region.