The Defense Department has moved to protect civilians in Iraq amid a growing crisis in the country by sending the amphibious transport dock ship the USS Mesa Verde to the Arabian Gulf, American Forces Press Service reported Monday.
Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby has confirmed that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the ship’s deployment to the Gulf, according to the report.
“Its presence in the Gulf adds to that of other U.S. 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,” Kirby said.
Kirby added that the ship is already on its way to the Gulf after passing through the Strait of Hormuz, the press service reports.
The USS Mesa Verde, part of the USS Bataan amphibious ready group, is intended for emergency and quick response operations.