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DOD Increases Military Presence Near Oman

The Defense Department today announced an increased presence in the U.S. Central Command's area of responsibility, including an additional Navy destroyer along with fighter jets. 

A large naval vessel moves through the ocean. The numbers "116" are on the side of the ship.
USS Thomas Hudner
The Navy’s USS Thomas Hudner is under orders from Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III to deploy to U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility. The Thomas Hudner is an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Malachi Lakey
VIRIN: 230305-N-LK647-1161Y

"In response to a number of recent, alarming events in the Strait of Hormuz, the secretary of defense has ordered the deployment of the of the destroyer USS Thomas Hudner, F-35 fighters and F-16 fighters to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility to defend U.S. interests and safeguard freedom of navigation in the region," said Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh during a briefing. 

Earlier this month, Singh said, the Iranian navy attempted to illegally seize two merchant vessels in the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman. 

"One attempt included an Iranian navy ship firing upon the merchant vessel," Singh said. "In light of this continued threat and in coordination with our partners and allies, the department is increasing our presence and ability to monitor the strait and surrounding waters." 

A military fighter jet soars through the sky.
Fighter Jet
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III is ordering an undisclosed number of F-16 aircraft, similar to the one photographed, to deploy to the U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility.
Photo By: Osakabe Yasuo, Air Force
VIRIN: 150724-F-PM645-203Y

According to a news report from U.S. Central Command, on July 5, U.S. forces already in Centcom's area of responsibility participated in preventing two commercial tanker ships from being seized by the Iranian military in international waters near the coast of Oman. 

One of those ships, the Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker TRF Moss, was approached by an Iranian naval vessel, but that naval vessel departed after the arrival of the U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS McFaul. 

Later that same day, the Bahamian-flagged oil tanker Richmond Voyager was also approached by an Iranian naval vessel. That Iranian naval vessel got within one mile of the tanker and fired on it using small arms and crew-served weapons. As happened with the TRF Moss, the Iranian vessel departed when the USS McFaul arrived on the scene. 

According to Centcom, Iran has attacked or seized about 20 merchant vessels since 2021. 

A military fighter is above a runway.
An undisclosed number of F-35 aircraft, similar to the one pictured, are being deployed to the U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III.
Photo By: Air Force Senior Airman Devante Williams
VIRIN: 160912-F-EC705-079Y

"We call upon Iran to immediately cease these destabilizing actions that threaten the free flow of commerce through this strategic waterway, of which the world depends on for more than 1/5 of the world's oil supply," Singh said. 

Singh also said Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark A. Milley tomorrow will host a virtual meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group from the Pentagon.  

"They will join ministers of defense and chiefs of defense from nearly 50 nations from around the world to discuss Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine and continue close coordination to provide Ukraine with the security assistance they need to protect their people and defend their country," she said. 

VIDEO | 23:04 | Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Holds Briefing

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