The special relationship between the U.S. Navy and the Kingdom of Bahrain began in 1950 and our presence in this vital region continues today.
"The 5th Fleet operates in the most strategically significant part of our planet," said Vice Adm. John Miller, commander, U.S., Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet, Combined Maritime Forces. "The global economy rests on the free movement of maritime traffic through three critical chokepoints that reside in this theater: the Suez Canal, the Strait of Bab al-Mandeb, and the Strait of Hormuz."
U.S. Navy operations here are focused on the commitment to foster security and stability by maintaining a naval and air presence that deters destabilizing activities and upholds lawful maritime order.
"Security of the maritime means security for the entire region - that starts here, with us," said Miller.
The 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden, Red Sea, and the Arabian Sea. But the U.S. Navy doesn't work alone - they work alongside 28 other nations from across the globe in CMF.
"There is a strong signal here that this region is so important to everybody that everyone needs to contribute; everyone needs to make that statement that this part of the world is of central importance globally," said Commodore Simon Ancona, Royal Navy, deputy commander CMF.
CMF is an international team of professional, capable navies operating to uphold international law, without political agenda, but conducting a broad spectrum of maritime security operations to maintain stability, to suppress this lawlessness and the resulting risk to our well-being.
"A Sailor is a Sailor. There is more that joins us than ever separates us and anyone who flies their trade or has a profession that takes them over the water, under the water, or on the water has a sort of invisible bond," said Ancona. "They all understand the environment; they all understand the risks involved; they understand the dedication required to prosecute their mission. And that's something - I can map across any one of those nations - something that instantly binds us before we even talk to each other."
Sailors who come to Bahrain develop their skills while operating in the complex and dynamic environment of the Middle East, but also have unique opportunities to explore the entire region and experience its rich culture on their off time. There are many historic and religious sites to see and appreciate around the island, as well as community service projects with local schools and centers.
"The 5th Fleet Sailor is a highly motivated, highly trained, agile Sailor," said Command Master Chief James DeLozier. "These are hard working Sailors in this AOR...they are the best we have."
"Working in the 5th Fleet has given me the opportunity to see things that I thought I would never see," said Yeoman 2nd Class Gary Sharper. "As a 5th Fleet Sailor you are required to produce at high levels, so you definitely can learn a lot and excel as a Sailor. I enjoy what I am doing, and I feel like I am doing things that make a difference. Being a 5th Fleet Sailor to me means that you are in direct support of the mission and the troops throughout the area of operations."
Service members and civilians in 5th Fleet form a team that is truly making a difference.
"We operate forward as a core tenant to our maritime strategy," said Miller. "That means meeting threats in far away places before they have a chance to reach our shores. That is what the Navy does for our nation; that is what we do here in 5th Fleet."