New rotation of military forces near Iran aimed at keeping troops fresh

New rotation of military forces near Iran aimed at keeping troops fresh

An MH-60S Sea Hawk with Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 21, lands aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) during flight operations on June 14 (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Dalton S. Swanbeck)

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is switching out personnel and material in the Persian Gulf area to keep the current high level of readiness to buffer any threats from Iran.

An amphibious assault group led by the USS Boxer reached the Persian Gulf region on Monday, the Navy said. That group will replace the one centered around the USS Kearsarge, which had been in the region since April.

The USS Boxer contains the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and a combat helicopter squadron. The fleet includes the amphibious transport dock USS John P. Murtha and the amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry, the Navy said.

“All of our training and our transit to 5th Fleet have made us prepared to respond to any crises across the range of military operations,” Capt. Brad Arthur, commander of Amphibious Squadron 5 and the Boxer ARG/11th MEU team, said in a statement.

The 5th fleet is based in Bahrain, on the Persian Gulf.

The deployments mean that Navy has 28,000 personnel deployed to the Persian Gulf region, the most anywhere. Next are the 24,000 personnel deployed to the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans, according to Navy data published by USNI News.

The Pentagon has increased assets in the region after threats from Iranian were first noticed in April and May. They advanced the deployment of the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier force and added Patriot anti-missile batteries, along with increasing the number of personnel.

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