WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Navy's top admiral says the

USS Stout, USS Gravely, USS Mahan, USS Ramage and USS Barry are stationed in the eastern Mediterranean.

Adm. Jonathan Greenert, the chief of naval operations, told an audience at the American Enterprise Institute on Thursday that the U.S. ships are prepared for what he called a 'vast spectrum of operations,' including launching Tomahawk cruise missiles at targets in Syria and protecting themselves in the event of retaliation.

Greenert's role is to ensure that naval forces are properly trained and equipped; he is not in the chain of command.

The Navy says the Tomahawk missiles that could be launched by the destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean cost $1.5 million each.

Stout left Naval Station Norfolk on August 18.

AP-WF-09-05-13 1532GMT

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