On 14 April 1988, the USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG-58) struck an Iranian mine in the central Persian Gulf. The explosion nearly forced the crew to abandon ship. No one was killed in the incident, but there were several injuries, some severe. The commanding officer reported that the force of the blast raised the Roberts's stem 10 to 12 feet. The fight to keep the ship afloat was a heroic effort. The substantial evidence linking Iran to the mining led the U. S. National Command Authority to respond appropriately on 18 April in an operation called Praying Mantis.
Battle Group Foxtrot, including the USS Enterprise (CVN-65), was positioned to handle just such a contingency in the northern Arabian Sea, approximately 200 nautical miles from the Strait of Hormuz. It had been conducting operations there for nearly two months in support of U. S. reflagged Kuwaiti tanker convoy operations.