Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered "the amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde into the Arabian Gulf," the Defense Department says in a press release. "The ship has completed its transit through the Strait of Hormuz," says a Navy admiral.

“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,” says Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby in the press release.

USS Mesa Verde is capable of conducting a variety of quick-reaction and crisis response operations, the press secretary said, and it carries a complement of MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.

The ship is part of the USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, which departed Norfolk, Virginia, in February and is operating in the region on a routine deployment to support maritime security operations.

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