"What is special about this is that you have two strike groups," Quinn
said. "Everybody will see us because it is in daylight."
The carrier groups were identified as the USS John C. Stennis and USS
Nimitz. The groups were joined by the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme
Richard and its own strike group. In all, more than 17,000 sailors were
participating, including members of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
Officials said Iran was not notified of the exercise.
Officials said this would be one of a series of exercises to demonstrate
the U.S. ability to protect shipping throughout the Straits of Hormuz. The
42-kilometer passage contains about 30 percent of global oil exports.
In all, nine U.S. warships entered the Straits of Hormuz, with aircraft
scheduled to conduct training. Officials said the surface vessels would
operate submarines and conduct anti-mine warfare exercises.
In March, the Fifth Fleet held an exercise comprised of two carrier
strike groups. The previous exercise, with 20,000 sailors, lasted two days
and took place near the Iranian coast. The March exercise, however,
contained fewer warships than in the current maneuvers.
"We do maritime security operations here to reassure friends in the
region of our commitment, and certainly this is a viable commitment and a
visible one that helps security and stability in the waters here," U.S.
Fifth Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Kevin Aandahl said.