PORT OF SHUAIBA, Kuwait (NNS) -- The amphibious transport dock ship USS Arlington (LPD 24) hosted a reception in the Port of Shuaiba, Kuwait, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the liberation of Kuwait from the forces of Saddam Hussein.
Among the distinguished visitors for the ceremonial occasion was the U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait Douglas Silliman, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Vice Adm. Kevin M. Donegan, Commander of Naval Forces Kuwait, Maj. Gen. Khaled Al-Kandari and Commander of Task Force 51, U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Carl E. Mundy.
"We are here tonight to pay tribute to those men and women who contributed to the Gulf War and Kuwait's liberation," said Silliman. "The United States' commitment to use all elements of our power to deter and confront external aggression against our allies and partners, as we did in the Gulf War, is unequivocal. Kuwait is helping tackle these challenges by providing essential access, basing and over flight for thousands of U.S. military and coalition personnel working to defeat ISIL."
Silliman also delivered a personal message from the President of the United States, Barack Obama, in honor of the reception.
"As we commemorate the 25th anniversary of Kuwait's liberation, I am confident that through continued close partnership, the United States and Kuwait will help build a more stable and prosperous region," Silliman read from the message.
Donegan spoke of the strong partnership between the United States and Kuwait.
"There is a proud connection that brings our two countries together, built on mutual trust, and the result of bold leadership," said Donegan. "This strong association between the United States and Kuwait has existed for more than 50 years, but it was forged into an unbreakable bond in response to the crisis this region faced in 1990."
To mark the occasion, a preview of an upcoming Gulf War documentary was shown to those in attendance, including veterans of the conflict from both the United States and Kuwait.
"We do this to honor our veterans," said John Lund, chief executive officer of Story Rock Electronic Publishing. "This particular commemoration is particularly rewarding because the result was so profound. It was one of the only times we saw the entire world unite and come together on behalf of the state of Kuwait. These amazing men and women left their homes and travelled half a world away and united on a worldwide scale to defend Kuwait because it was the right thing to do. It's important that we remember that and honor it."
Crew members and guests mingled as they enjoyed a buffet from Arlington's Food Service Division and music from the U.S. Air Force Central Command Band, "Galaxy."
Arlington's commanding officer, Capt. Sean R. Bailey, said he was honored to show off the ship's capabilities and people as well as help contribute to strengthening the ties between the United States and Kuwait.
"We are truly honored to host this 25th anniversary celebration of the liberation of Kuwait," said Bailey. "Tonight, we not only reaffirm our commitment to peace with our Kuwaiti partners, but also our commitment to stand with our allies against oppression."
Arlington is part of the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and, with embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.
For more news from USS Arlington (LPD 24), visit http://www.navy.mil/local/lpd24/.