Second US aircraft carrier headed to Gulf region

The aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis is scheduled to leave the United States this month for the Gulf region in a Naval buildup aimed partly as a warning to Iran. Officials decided to send the Stennis strike group on top of a carrier group already in the region on a request late last year from the US Central Command, the military unit in charge of activities there as well as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a senior Pentagon official said Thursday. He spoke on condition of anonymity because the Defense Department prefers not to publicly announce upcoming ship movements for security reasons. Pentagon officials said last month that the extra ships would serve as a show of force to Iran, at odds with the United States over its nuclear program and alleged support of violence in Iraq. They said the ships also would be available to help in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and possibly nearby in Indian Ocean waters off the coast of Somalia, a lawless nation that authorities say has been a haven for Islamic radicals. The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower left in September and is already in the gulf region.