The last time the US navy sent three aircraft carriers into the Arabian Sea/Persian Gulf was just a few short weeks before WTI broke above $110, and aggressive military tensions, coupled with concerns of an imminent invasion of Iran by Israel and/or 'others', were running high. Then summer arrived, as did the need to lower the price of gas and crude ahead of a veritable cornucopia of central banks easing into June and July, not to mention the need to keep gas as low as possible into the July 4th holiday. Now that the peak summer months are behind us this is all changing, and 4 months ahead of the presidential election, the need to have the "Wag the Dog" put option to round up the troops, not to mention votes, has arrived, as has the need to return to an outright aggressive military stance where Iran is concerned. Which is why we were not very surprised to learn that that Middle East veteran aircraft carrier, the CVN-74 Stennis, is going right back into Mordor, a few short months after it came back from its long stint in the Fifth Fleet, and will shortly complete the trio of aircraft carriers stationed within miles of Iran.
"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."
Oh, it is Iran making threats? We get it. Just like Syria is making threats to Turkey after the country "aggressively" took down a Turkish jet which was amicably flying over Syrian territory.
At least with the Stennis back, the US public can sleep soundly because Iran will not feel at all threatened with not two but three carriers, not to mention however many supporting ships:
Two U.S. aircraft carrier battle groups — USS Abraham Lincoln and USS Enterprise — are now in the Middle East. The Navy has doubled the number of minesweepers in the region, to eight, and moved a converted amphibious transport and docking ship, the USS Ponce, into the Persian Gulf to serve as a floating staging base for military operations or humanitarian assistance. Its first job will be as a hub for mine-clearing, according to Pentagon officials.
At least unlike the the Enterprise, which is currently on its final lifetime assignment for some reason in the Persian Gulf, the Stennis at least is veteran when it comes to all matters Middle Eastern.
The Stennis is familiar with Iranian threats. During its last deployment, which ran from August 2011 to March 2012, it exited the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz. The chief of Iran's military was quoted as telling "the American warship that passed through the Strait of Hormuz and went to the Gulf of Oman not to return to the Persian Gulf." The Stennis just went about its business, launching planes to help troops in Afghanistan, though family and friends back home were worried by the news coverage.
U.S. officials said the ships were in international waters, and they won't tolerate any effort by Iran to close the Strait of Hormuz, through which one-sixth of the world's oil is transported.
During its last deployment, the Stennis air wing conducted 13,389 sorties in support of troops in both wars, and rescued Iranian cargo ship sailors from pirates.
Finally, for those curious where US naval interest lie, here is the latest naval update map courtesy of Stratfor: