A seven-ship US force carrying enough supplies and equipment for a 12,000-man US Marine Corps amphibious brigade has begun moving toward the Indian Ocean as scheduled, Monitor correspondent John K. Cooley reports.
Two 561-foot chartered cargo ships, the American Courier and American Champion, sailed from Sunny Point, N.C., July 2 and 3 for Diego Garcia, the US base in the Indian Ocean, the Pentagon said Tuesday. Another charter, the 685 -foot US Navy ship Jupiter, sailed July 6 from Wilmington, N.C., and its sister ship, the Mercury, was due to sail from Wilmington today (July 9).
A chartered oil tanker left a Greek port for Diego Garcia July 1 and the freshwater tanker Zapata Patriot departed from Subic Bay, Philippines. These and several other supply ships were due on station by July 31, to be ready to supply any future emergency airlift of marines or US Air Force personnel to the Indian Ocean.
These ships are separate from the US Navy battle group in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea, which includes 15 fighting ships and 9 supply ships.