BAGHDAD, June 17 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has deployed an additional warship to the Persian Gulf in response to the lightning offensive launched by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Iraq.
"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."
The USS Mesa Verde is "capable of conducting a variety of quick-reaction and crisis response operations," Kirby noted. The amphibious transport dock ship is transporting an unspecified number of MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.
Captain Kenneth Reynard, Mesa Verde's commanding officer, explained via Facebook that, "The ship's unique assets and capabilities combine with the other naval forces in the region to provide a deterrent for activity, as well as the ability to quickly respond to any situation with flexibility, should we be needed."