This New Commando ‘Mothership’ Is Being Rushed To The Middle East

USS Ponce

The Pentagon is wasting no time in modifying its forces to meet the needs of a more specialised and commando-based military.

The Washington Post reports the Pentagon is fast-tracking the conversion of the 1960s warship USS Ponce to use as a “commando mothership” base for special forces teams in the Middle East.

The re-christened Ponce will hold small Combat Rubber Raiding Craft (Zodiac style boats), and helicopters routinely employed by the SEAL teams that are now becoming famous for their successful clandestine operations.

The news broke through Pentagon procurement documents, and though the Navy has refused to announce where the Ponce will be stationed, military paperwork suggest it will sail the Persian Gulf.

The fact that further documentation says the ship will “support mine countermeasure missions” fuels speculation that the Ponce will be used in the Strait of Hormuz should Iran follow through on its threats to try and shutter the waterway.

The commissioning of this new Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB) could signal a return for the SEALs to maritime-focused missions after spending the last decade immersing themselves in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Ponce will serve along with another AFSB previously stationed in the Gulf, the USS Cleveland.

While the Pentagon is wasting no time in getting the SEALs, and the Ponce, to wherever they’re going, Pentagon spokesman Captain John Kirby told FOX News that he denied the Post’s claim that they were “moving with unusual haste” in refitting the Ponce.

“While this work is being done in an expeditious fashion,” Kirby said, it is not accurate to surmise that this signals a rush to meet some urgent combat requirement.”

The Navy SEALs were used this week to recover two hostages being held in Somalia.