The U.S. Marine Corps is considering deploying specially-trained Marines on commercial vessels transiting the strategically significant Strait of Hormuz to deter Iranian forces from harassing or seizing the ships. Over 100 Marines have already been prepared for this duty, having received training for potential deployment. The unprecedented peacetime deployment of Marines onto commercial ships could signal a return to historical roles while raising concerns about potential escalation in a region fraught with potential miscalculation.
- Preparation for Deployment: More than 100 Marines have been trained to be deployed on commercial vessels in the Strait of Hormuz. The teams, consisting of 15 to 19 Marines each, could prevent Iranian forces from coming aboard.
- Historical Context and Unprecedented Move: This deployment would mark a return to a historical role of Marines protecting commercial vessels and would be an unprecedented move in modern history, with the last known time being during World War II.
- Potential Impact and Concerns: The presence of Marines could serve as a deterrent against Iranian harassment, but also brings concerns about escalation and miscalculation in a region already tense with geopolitical complexities.
- Marines’ Capabilities: The trained Marines could fend off attacks with their counter-drone and counter-air capabilities. Their “jam-proof communications” would be a vital asset, allowing them to quickly alert the Navy if threats emerge.
- Current Maritime Tensions: The potential deployment comes after a series of incidents involving Iranian interference with commercial vessels in the Strait of Hormuz, a key passage for crude oil. Iran has seized at least five commercial vessels in the past two years and has harassed over a dozen others.