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The USS John C. Stennis has completed a dual-carrier exercise with the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Persian Gulf and will make its first port call of this Middle East mission, officials said Friday.

The two carriers had been involved in high-profile exercises this week in international waters near Iran, as tensions with that nation rose in the wake of Iran seizing 15 British sailors and marines in the gulf.

While U.S. military officials pointedly did not name Iran in talking about the exercises, they were aimed at demonstrating “the importance of both strike groups’ ability to plan and conduct dual task force operations as part of the Navy’s commitment to maintaining maritime security and stability in the region.”

The Navy did not say where the Stennis’ port call would take place, but noted that it is the first “liberty” granted to the ship’s sailors in 10 weeks at sea.

Before getting to the gulf on Monday, the Stennis had been in the northern Arabian Sea in support of ground forces in Afghanistan.

The Stennis left its homeport in Bremerton, Wash., on Jan. 16.

“I always get a charge out of announcing liberty call,” Command Master Chief Joseph Curtin said in a news release. “Everybody’s been out here for a long time and working hard. We earned it.”

The Stennis Carrier Strike Group includes Carrier Air Wing 9, Destroyer Squadron 21, the USS Antietam, the USS Preble, the USS O’Kane and the USNS Bridge.

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