The USS Boxer downed an Iranian drone earlier this week while operating in the Strait of Hormuz, according to reports. The USS Boxer’s commanding officer, Captain (O-6) Ron Dowdell, issued a statement on the vessel’s Facebook page reassuring loved ones back home that all sailors aboard were safe.
“I wanted to take just a moment to inform all the members of Team Boxer that we, the Boxer ARG/MEU team, are all safe here in the 5th Fleet area of operations,” Dowdell wrote in the post. “I’m so proud of the performance of your Sailors who continue to make the extraordinary look ordinary.”
President Donald Trump confirmed the incident during a press conference on Thursday, July 18.
“The Boxer took defensive action against an Iranian drone which had closed into a very very near distance, approximately 1000 yards, ignoring multiple calls to stand down, and was threatening the safety of the ship and the ship’s crew,” Trump said during the press conference. “The drone was immediately destroyed. This is the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran against vessels operating in international waters. The United States reserves the right to defend our personnel, our facilities, and interests, and calls upon all nations to condemn Iran’s attempts to disrupt freedom of navigation and global commerce. I also call on other nations to protect their ships as they go through the Strait and to work with us in the future.”
The USS Boxer reportedly used its anti-UAS Marine Air Defense Integrated System (MADIS) to destroy the aircraft. According to the U.S. Naval Institute, the MADIS was operated by the USS Boxer’s detachment of Marines from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit. Other Iranian forces were reportedly in the area as well, including an Iranian helicopter and small boat.
The Strait of Hormuz is one of the busiest stretches of water in the world. As many as 40 vessels transit through the Strait each day, many of which are carrying crude oil, according to a report from Insurance Journal. About 2,000 companies around the globe own ships that pass through the Strait, but as of last month, only two had reportedly stopped operations in the area due to the growing tensions between Iran and the U.S.
The USS Boxer is a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, which is responsible for transporting Marines to and from the battlefield, along with other essential tasks. It has a complement of 66 officers and 1,004 enlisted crew members, according to the Navy. About 1,500 Marines can be deployed aboard the vessel as well.
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