July 20, 2023
Release Number 20230720 - 01
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TAMPA, Fla. – In response to recent attempts by Iran to seize commercial ships in the CENTCOM area of operations, the Secretary of Defense has ordered the deployment of an Amphibious Readiness Group/Marine Expeditionary Unit (ARG/MEU) into the CENTCOM area of responsibility, in addition to the recently approved forces comprising F-35s, F-16s, and a guided missile destroyer, the USS Thomas Hudner (DDG-116). The ARG/MEU brings additional aviation, maritime assets, and U.S. Marines, providing even greater flexibility and maritime capability in the region.
In the past two years, Iran has attacked, seized, or attempted seizure of nearly 20 internationally flagged merchant vessels in the CENTCOM area of operations.
“U.S. Central Command is committed to defending freedom of navigation within our area of responsibility which includes some of the most important waterways in the world,” said Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, Commander U.S. Central Command. “These additional forces provide unique capabilities, which alongside our partners nations in the region, further safeguard the free flow of international commerce and uphold the rules based international order, and deter Iranian destabilizing activities in the region.”