The John C. Stennis and Abraham Lincoln carrier strike groups have joined the US Mediterranean 6th Fleet for the first time in more than two years. This was announced on Monday, April 22, by the 6th Fleet commander, Vice Adm Lisa Franchetti. DEBKAfile’s military sources add that this unusual concentration of US naval and air might in the region is intended to convey a warning to Iran against striking back at the US or its allies in the region in retribution for tightened Trump administration sanctions on its oil experts. This level of concentrated strength is capable of countering any Iranian attempt to interfere with the oil tanker shipping plying routes to market from the Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz, the Gulf of Aden or the Red Sea. See DEBKAfile’s earlier special report.
Vice Admiral Franchetti commented that it was a rare opportunity for two strike groups to work together alongside key allies and partners in the region. Our sources say she was referring to British, French and Israeli naval forces. The vice admiral, who has served as 6th Fleet commander since early 2018, added: “The dual carrier operations in the Mediterranean showcase the flexibility and scalability maritime forces provide to the joint force, while demonstrating our ironclad commitment to the stability and security of the region.”