Friday, June 08, 2007

Perspective: Navy Works to Keep Lines Open to Iran

An Airman from launch and recovery runs to make sure the tailhook releases the arresting gear wire after the recovery of an F/A-18C Hornet, assigned to the "Death Rattlers" of Marine Strike Fighter Squadron aboard Nimitz-class carrier USS John C. Stennis last month in the Persian Gulf

ABOARD THE USS NIMITZ IN THE GULF -- Even as Iran and the U.S. face off bitterly, Navy commanders in the Persian Gulf are working quietly to keep communications open with Iran's military, hoping the contact will avert an accidental stumble into armed confrontation.

Most of the talk takes place over the crackle of radios, using the standard international bridge-to-bridge communications network, Rear Adm. Terry Blake, commander of the strike group led by the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, said aboard ship this week.

Other contacts are between Iranian pilots and air communications networks.

Conversations often begin with an Iranian voice, in accented English, announcing that Iran has detected foreign planes or ships and wants to know their purpose, said the carrier's skipper, Capt. Michael Manazir.

"Hey, vessel at such and such a latitude and longitude, this is the Iranian navy. Who are you? What's your course and speed?" Manazir said, paraphrasing a typical call from Iran.

Read the rest at the Washington Post