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US warship arrives in Gulf with Marines, aircraft

Published on Jun 16, 2014 9:10 PM
 
A CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter launches from the amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde during preparations for a field exercise in the Mediterranean Sea on October 24, 2011. The USS Mesa Verde entered the Gulf on Monday, June 16, 2014 carrying hundreds of marines and Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft in case they are needed to protect Americans in Iraq, the Pentagon said. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A US warship entered the Gulf on Monday carrying hundreds of marines and Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft in case they are needed to protect Americans in Iraq, the Pentagon said.

"It's presence in the Gulf adds to that of other US naval ships already there - including the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush - and provides the commander-in-chief additional options to protect American citizens and interests in Iraq, should he choose to use them," Rear Admiral John Kirby said.

The USS Mesa Verde, an amphibious dock ship, is carrying 550 Marines, as well as MV-22 Osprey aircraft capable of quickly moving up to 22 marines at a time over long distances.

The deployment comes in the wake of a stunning offensive by Islamist militants across Sunni areas of northern Iraq that has left Iraqi army forces in disarray.

 
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