USS Gravely shoots down two ballistic missiles in Gulf of Aden

by Tommy Grant

The Navy destroyer Gravely shot down two anti-ship ballistic missiles Wednesday in the Gulf of Aden fired by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, according to U.S. Central Command.

It was the latest salvo in a months-long effort involving fellow destroyers Carney, Laboon, Mason and Thomas Hudner to keep the Red Sea and surrounding waters safe for commerce.

CENTCOM said the Houthis launched three anti-ship ballistic missiles toward the U.S.-flagged, owned, and operated container ship M/V Maersk Detroit as it transited the Gulf of Aden.

The Gravely intercepted two of those missiles, while the other landed in the sea. There are no reports of injuries or damage to the ship, CENTCOM said.

Attacks on commercial vessels in the region have increased following the Palestinian militant group Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel, and Israel’s follow-on operations. To date, Houthis have attacked more than 30 commercial ships since the end of 2023.

The Gravely has also been involved in retaliatory strikes that the U.S. and U.K militaries have conducted this month targeting Houthi logistical hubs, air defense systems, weapons storage and launching locations in Yemen.

CENTCOM said in a statement last month that the U.S. has “every reason to believe that these attacks, while launched by the Houthis in Yemen, are fully enabled by Iran.” Additionally, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced on Dec. 18 the creation of a multinational task force to help protect civilian ships in the economically vital sea route.

The Gravely is part of the Dwight D. Eisenhower’s carrier strike group, which departed Norfolk, Virginia, in October for a scheduled deployment. The carrier transited the Strait of Hormuz into the Persian Gulf in November.

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