From AP

NORFOLK, Va. - As part of its faster response to requests from overseas, the Navy announced Tuesday it is sending five ships to the Middle East with a mission to disrupt terrorist operations at sea

Terrorist operations at Sea? now I have trouble imagining what they could be, but I suppose they could be small boat suicide operations, or perhaps smuggling. So assuming that is true you would be looking for something fast, with perhaps a good Aircraft platform.

Leaving Wednesday are the USS Saipan, an amphibious assault ship, the USS Nashville, an amphibious transport ship, the frigate USS Nicholas and the cruiser USS Philippine Sea. The Saipan, Nashville and Nicholas are all based in Norfolk, while the Philippine Sea's home port is Mayport, Fla.

The USS Gunston Hall, an amphibious dock landing ship, is to leave June 1 from Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base in Virginia Beach.

Fitzgerald said the ships were ready to deploy, but acknowledged that the short notice created a hardship for the crews.

"Obviously this is hard on the sailors," he said, "but we're at war."

Now this may just be me being paranoid but these ships have one purpose, amphibious assault, they are not specialised for anything else, and as you already have carrier battle groups in place you do not need any extra aircraft capacity. So why deploy them to the Middle East on short notice unlesss you are looking for the ability to mount one of that sort of operation?

26th MEU AAV's disembark from the USS Gunston Hall

Thanks to N for her always invaluable help, why she does not set up her own blog I'll never know!

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