Marines embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer recently sailed through the Strait of Hormuz with an armored vehicle strapped to the flight deck, ready to fight off drones and Iranian gunboats.
A light armored vehicle (LAV) belonging to the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit can be seen on the flight deck as an AH-1Z Viper lifts off in a recently-released Marine Corps photo, NPR's Phil Ewing first noted.
Capt. Kavon Hakimzadeh, then the commanding officer of the Blue Ridge-class amphibious command ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) carries a bouquet of flowers for his wife following the ship's arrival at its forward-deployed port of Gaeta, Italy Oct. 27, 2017. (U.S. Navy/ Interior Communications Electrician 3rd Class Rebeca Gibson)
NORFOLK, Va. -- The new skipper of one of America's aircraft carriers fled Iran as a child.
Now, he's preparing for a deployment that could take him back to the region at a time of heightened tensions between the two nations that helped mold him into who he is today.
Capt. Kavon Hakimzadeh took command of the USS Harry S. Truman in July, achieving a goal he set for himself 30 years ago after he first laid eyes on an aircraft carrier in Norfolk. Back then, he was a young sailor who'd joined the Navy straight out of high school to serve a country he had only lived in for about a decade.
His journey from Tehran to enlisted sailor to an officer in command of the ultimate symbol of American seapower is a story that he believes serves as a testament to the opportunities the United States provides.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on ProPublica.
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The U.S. Navy officer was eager to talk.
He'd seen his ship, one of the Navy's fleet of 11 minesweepers, sidelined by repairs and maintenance for more than 20 months. Once the ship, based in Japan, returned to action, its crew was only able to conduct its most essential training — how to identify and defuse underwater mines — for fewer than 10 days the entire next year. During those training missions, the officer said, the crew found it hard to trust the ship's faulty navigation system: It ran on Windows 2000.
The officer, hoping that by speaking out he could provoke needed change, wound up delaying the scheduled interview. He apologized. His ship had broken down again.
“We are essentially the ships that the Navy forgot," he said of the minesweepers.
U.S. Air Force fighter jets are patrolling the Persian Gulf, and they appear to be carrying guided cluster munitions capable of tearing apart Iranian swarm boats.
"F-15E Strike Eagles from the 336th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron are flying air operations in support of maritime surface warfare," the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing revealed this week, explaining that "their role is to conduct combat air patrol missions over the Arabian Gulf and provide aerial escorts of naval vessels as they traverse the Strait of Hormuz."
Flight deck personnel stand on the flight deck on board the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) as it patrols the Arabian Gulf during a Strait of Hormuz transit February 14, 2012. (Reuters/Jumana El Heloueh)
The Navy wants to assure you that is not dispatching an entire fleet to the Strait of Hormuz a part of efforts to escort American commercial ships and has no plans on initiating a sequel to World War II's Battle of the Atlantic with its Iranian adversaries.
"We will escort our ships as they come along, but we won't be there in great numbers, Vice Adm. Michael Gilday testified on Wednesday during his Senate confirmation hearing to become chief of naval operations. "The idea is for the regional partners to bear the lion's share of the burden."
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Dan Coats, the spy chief who has clashed with U.S. President Donald Trump over assessments involving Russia, Iran and North Korea, plans to step down soon, a source familiar with the matter said on Sunday.
A person with direct knowledge of that matter told Reuters that Coats advised Trump last week that he planned to step down fairly soon as director of national intelligence. He offered the president some thoughts on who might succeed him, the source said.
The New York Times, citing people familiar with the matter, reported the departure was expected "in the coming days."
Coats' office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.