Entries in US Navy (14)


US Navy Denies Iran 'Captured' American Drone

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joseph M. Buliavac/Released(NEW YORK) -- The U.S. Navy has denied Iran's claim that it "captured" a small, unmanned U.S. drone over the Persian Gulf.

On Tuesday, Iran state media reported that the ScanEagle drone, which is small enough to be carried by hand, did not get far into Iranian airspace when the naval unit of the Revolutionary Guards allegedly "captured" it.

Iran did not say when, where or how it gained possession of the ScanEagle, which flies at a lower altitude than the much larger Predators or Reapers employed by the CIA.

Cmdr. Jason Salata of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet in Bahrain, however, said that the Navy "has fully accounted for all unmanned air vehicles operating in the Middle East region."

He told ABC News that ScanEagles have been lost in the past but not recently.

Salata also noted that all of the Navy's unmanned vehicles are "operating within internationally recognized waters and airspace," countering Iran's claim that the drone entered its airspace.

He suggested that Iran may have another nation's drone in its possession, being that it is "an off-the-shelf item manufactured by Boeing."

 Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US Navy Bans Sailors in Japan from Drinking at Night

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(TOKYO) -- The U.S. Navy is cracking down on sailors in Japan following a string of arrests involving military personnel.

Sailors will now be banned from drinking alcohol between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m., even if they are in their homes, regardless of leave or liberty status.

The strict rule comes just weeks after U.S. forces in Japan enforced a curfew for all military personnel based there.  That was a direct response to allegations that two American sailors raped a young local woman in Okinawa last month.

A handful of other arrests have followed since.  In the most recent case, a sailor was caught urinating and stripping naked at a café.

About 53,000 troops are stationed in Japan, but the Japanese have become increasingly wary of the large military presence there.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US Navy Rescues 10 from Burning Iranian Ship

Archival Photograph. AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A U.S. Navy destroyer has rescued 10 sailors from an Iranian-flagged vessel that was on fire in the Gulf of Oman.

The guided missile destroyer USS James E. Williams came upon the Iranian-flagged dhow as it burned on Wednesday night. The 10 on board were picked up out of the water by the crew of the destroyer.

A Defense official says eight of the 10 are Iranian; the other two are Pakistanis.

According to a Navy press release the crew members, “are being well cared for, receiving medical treatment and awaiting transport to aircraft carrier USS Enterprise.”

Commander Jason Salata, a spokesman for the Navy’s Fifth Fleet, said they will be transported Thursday morning to the Enterprise and will be repatriated from there. "Our intent is to take care of them and send them [home],” said Salata.

With its ships constantly deployed to the waters of the Middle East, it’s not uncommon for U.S. Navy ships to rescue mariners in distress whatever their nationality.

The Navy’s rescue of 13 Iranian mariners in January made international headlines because it occurred shortly after an Iranian general had warned the U.S. Navy not to send an aircraft carrier back to the Persian Gulf.

The destroyer USS Kidd had rescued the Iranian mariners from their fishing boat, which had been hijacked by Somali pirates for more than a month and converted into a pirate mother ship. Fifteen Somali pirates were taken into custody and the grateful Iranian crew was repatriated to Iran.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US Navy Helicopter Crashes in Oman, Two Crew Members Missing

File photo. (U.S. Navy)(WASHINGTON) -- A U.S. Navy helicopter carrying five crew members crashed 58 miles southwest of Muscat, Oman, Thursday “while conducting heavy lift support operations,” the Bahrain-based U.S. Fifth Fleet said. The incident “was not due to any sort of hostile activity,” the fleet continued.

A U.S. government official told ABC News that three of the crew members were safely recovered, but that search and rescue efforts were still underway for the remaining two.

The U.S. military also disclosed that another helicopter was at the scene of the crash “providing search and rescue assistance.”

The downed chopper was one of four counter-mine helicopters sent to the Gulf back in March.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pentagon Sends Carrier to the Middle East Ahead of Schedule

U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate Airman Tina Lamb(WASHINGTON) -- The Pentagon is sending the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis to sea four months ahead of schedule to ensure that there are at least two carriers in the Middle East.

The U.S. Navy has had two carriers operating in the Middle East for quite some time.  It usually rotates one of the two carriers into the Persian Gulf for several weeks at a time while the other operates in the Arabian Sea, providing air support for the war in Afghanistan.

On Monday, Pentagon spokesman George Little confirmed that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has agreed to a recent request from U.S. Central Command to maintain a two-carrier presence in the Middle East.

In September the U.S. was going to go down to one carrier, as the USS Enterprise would not be replaced after it left the region.  To prevent that from happening the Stennis has had its deployment orders changed from the Pacific to the Middle East.

Little says the Stennis is being sent so that there is no gap in between two carrier assignments to the region.  Also being sent on the deployment will be the cruiser USS Mobile Bay.

Little said the need to send the carrier early was, “not a decision based solely on the challenges posed by Iran.”

On Sunday, the USS Eisenhower replaced the other carrier in the region, the USS Abraham Lincoln, which is headed to Norfolk for maintenance work.

In order to make the Stennis/Enterprise swap possible, the Enterprise’s deployment will be extended for what officials say will be “a few days.”  It also means the crew of the Stennis will be out to sea for longer than they had expected.  Originally slated for a four-month Pacific Ocean deployment, the Stennis will now leave four months early to serve a seven month deployment that will last through April 2013.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US Carrier Sails Through Strait of Hormuz

U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Will Tyndall/Released(WASHINGTON) -- An American aircraft carrier passed through the Strait of Hormuz into the Persian Gulf over the weekend, in what the U.S. Navy is calling a routine maneuver.

Amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran, the USS Abraham Lincoln entered the Gulf on Sunday to conduct scheduled maritime security operations.  The carrier had just arrived in the United States Central Command area on Thursday, replacing the USS Stennis, which is now headed home.

“USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) completed a regular and routine transit of the Strait of Hormuz, January 22, to conduct maritime security operations as scheduled and in support of requirements set by the combatant commander. The transit was completed as previously scheduled and without incident,” the U.S. Navy said in a statement.

In December, Iranian officials had warned the U.S. not to return after the carrier USS John Stennis departed the Gulf.  Iran also suggested the Strait may be closed in retaliation over fresh economic sanctions imposed against the country.

The other U.S. carrier currently in the region is the USS Carl Vinson, which is in the Arabian Sea and is providing air cover for troops in Afghanistan.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pentagon Dismisses Latest Iranian Threat to Stop Naval Carrier

U.S. Navy/Photographer's Mate Airman Tina Lamb(WASHINGTON) -- Iran's latest volley in its ongoing dispute with the West won't prevent the USS John C. Stennis from reentering the Persian Gulf, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

Stung by additional economic and political sanctions because of its illicit nuclear program, Iran has threatened to close down the Strait of Hormuz so that international oil shipments can't get through.

Washington has said that any attempt to affect the transportation of oil will be met with swiftly.

Meanwhile, Iranian Army Chief Ataollah Salehi reportedly said that the USS John C. Stennis, which is now in the Northern Arabian Sea to help with the war effort in Afghanistan, won't be allowed back into the Persian Gulf.

But Pentagon Press Secretary George Little responded that, "the deployment of U.S. military assets in the Persian Gulf region will continue as it has for decades."

The Pentagon says that Iran keeps making idle threats because of the damage being done to its economy through the latest round of tough sanctions brought on by its ongoing nuclear ambitions.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US Navy Sailor Accused of Trying to Smuggle Cocaine Out of Colombia

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A U.S. Navy sailor has been caught allegedly trying to smuggle about five kilograms of high-grade cocaine out of Colombia, U.S. State Department and Defense Department officials told ABC News.

A spokesman for U.S. Fleet Forces Command identified the enlisted sailor as Gunner’s Mate Lemar Deion Burton, 26. He was based at Navy Munitions Command at Sigonella Naval Air Station in Sicily, Italy.

“This person is not a member of the U.S. official mission in Colombia,” the U.S. embassy in Bogota, Colombia, said in a statement. “We respect the rule of law in Colombia and the Colombian penal system and we believe that that the judicial process should run its course in all cases. Because of privacy concerns, we cannot comment further on this matter.”

Burton was arrested for cocaine possession on Oct. 12 as he tried to leave the country via Bogota’s El Dorado airport. The U.S. embassy was notified almost immediately and American consular officials visited him in La Modelo prison in Bogota on Oct. 13.

“He was on personal leave and not in an official capacity,” U.S. Fleet Forces Command spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Mike Kafka told ABC News.

Local news reported Burton was planning to fly to Paris and then to Rome and had the cocaine concealed in a hidden compartment in his luggage.

Colombia is prosecuting the sailor because he was not on official travel and, therefore, not covered by any immunity protections, the local news reports added. He could face up to five years in prison for drug transport and trafficking.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


US Navy Intercepts North Korean Ship Allegedly Carrying Weapons

The guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell. U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Adam K. Thomas/Released(SEOUL, South Korea) -- A North Korean cargo ship believed to be heading to Myanmar with missile components aboard was intercepted by the U.S. Navy two weeks ago and sent back to its home port, The New York Times reports.

Citing several senior American officials, the Times says the vessel, the M/V Light, was tracked down by the USS McCampbell near Shanghai on May 26.  The ship was registered in Belize, so the U.S. asked the Central American country for permission to go on board and was granted authority.  However, the North Koreans refused to let the Americans board the vessel four times.

Fearing a possible firefight or being mistaken on their allegations, the U.S. decided not to board the ship by force.

Meanwhile, over in Washington, D.C., Gary Samore -- the White House coordinator for weapons of mass destruction, counter-terrorism and arms control -- was holding a meeting with senior officials from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, including a representative from Myanmar.

A day after the M/V Light was tracked, Samore presented the Asian officials with the United States' suspicions of what was on board the North Korean vessel, much to the dismay of the Myanmar representative who "protested that we were making accusations," an American official with knowledge of the meeting told the Times.

Samore reitirated the message that under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1874 ships can be inspected if there's good reason to believe that they may be exporting weapons.  And, apparently, that did the trick.

Days after the meeting, the North Korean ship turned around and headed back home without ever reaching Myanmar.  The U.S. continued to track the vessel using surveillance planes and satellites.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


US Navy Scales Back Japan Effort to Four Ships

Jonathan Wood/Getty Images(HOSHNU, Japan) -- At its peak, the Navy had 22 ships dedicated to the Japanese relief effort that became known as Operation Tomodachi.
Monday night, the Navy scaled back its effort to four ships. The carrier USS Ronald Reagan has departed the eastern shore of Japan and will remain on duty in the U.S. Pacific Command area of operations.  Before departing, the Japanese defense minister visited the Reagan to thank Navy sailors and airmen for their efforts.
The four remaining ships are the command ship USS Blue Ridge, the amphibious ships USS Essex and the USS Tortuga and the salvage ship USS Safeguard.    
In addition to the four ships, 54 Navy aircraft and 4,295 personnel are actively engaged in Operation Tomodachi.  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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