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Amphib San Antonio Among Ships Targeted off Yemen Coast

USS San Antonio

The amphibious transport dock USS San Antonio was targeted by missiles launched from Yemen as it transited through the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb off Yemen, the ship's commanding officer said in a public post on the ship's Facebook page Oct. 13.

The Norfolk-based ship is part of the Wasp amphibious ready group carrying the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit through the 5th Fleet.

While defense officials previously confirmed that other ships in the region had been targeted by missiles launched from the coast of Yemen, including the guided-missile destroyer Mason and the amphibious transport dock Ponce, it had not previously been reported that the San Antonio was also a target. The news was first reported Monday by the Virginian-Pilot.

"The transit was challenging and missiles were launched against the USS Mason and USS San Antonio," ship commander Capt. Darren Nelson wrote in the Facebook post. "Our crew performed flawlessly in the defense of our ship. Per the Pentagon's press release we will be ready and respond to any further threat to our ships and commercial traffic, as appropriate, and will continue to maintain freedom of navigation on the high seas."

Navy officials announced that the San Antonio had completed a mid-voyage repair in Bahrain on Oct. 7 before passing through the Strait of Hormuz and around the Arabian peninsula to arrive in the Gulf of Aden on Oct. 10. It's not clear from Nelson's post, but the timeline indicates the ship likely came under fire when cruise missiles were launched a second time from a coastal region in Yemen controlled by Houthi rebels Oct. 12.

To date, missiles have been fired at Navy ships from the same coastal region on three separate occasions, most recently on Oct. 15. The Navy responded to the first two attacks in kind Oct. 12, firing five Tomahawk missiles from the guided-missile destroyer Nitze in the Red Sea and destroying three radar sites used to target the ships. It remains unclear whether the Navy plans to retaliate again for the most recent attack.

Nelson said the ship and crew had ultimately made the transit unharmed, and praised his sailors for their "exemplary performance."

"All hands had a huge role in guaranteeing San Antonio's safety throughout the transit," he wrote. "Words cannot express how much I appreciate each and every one of your sailors and Marines."

The San Antonio passed quickly through the Red Sea, transiting through the Suez Canal on Oct. 16, according to public releases. Navy officials have said that other ships will remain in the Red Sea and near the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb to ensure free commerce, freedom of transit and security in the region.

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at@HopeSeck.

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