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Austin met with Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of NAVCENT, U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces, as well as other personnel from the U.S. military and Bahrain Defense Force to thank them for helping evacuate U.S. citizens and people from Afghanistan.
NAVCENT stood up Task Force 58, Aug. 19, to help temporarily facilitate the safe transit of more than 7,000 evacuees traveling through Bahrain from Afghanistan. The task force included more than 1,400 U.S. and coalition personnel from various units operating in the 5th Fleet region.
Austin praised U.S., interagency, coalition and Bahraini personnel for providing critical assistance during the largest air evacuation of civilians in American history. U.S. Sailors, Marines, Soldiers, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen worked alongside U.S. Embassy, coalition and Bahraini counterparts to provide evacuees meals, short-term lodging and medical services at an intermediate staging base.
Prior to departing, Austin met with junior military and interagency personnel who ran day-to-day staging base support. He expressed gratitude for their compassion and commitment to helping those in need.
The U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses nearly 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Read Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The region is comprised of 21 countries and includes three choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab-al-Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.
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