BAHRAIN, Oct. 30, 2020 —
During his first visit to Bahrain as Secretary of Defense, Dr. Mark T. Esper toured facilities and met with personnel on board U.S. Naval Support Activity Bahrain, Oct. 28.
Esper met with Vice Adm. Samuel Paparo, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces, to discuss ongoing operations and partnerships in the region. He then visited the headquarter’s maritime operations center (MOC), where watchstanders provide command and control for missions throughout the 5th Fleet area of operations (AOO).
Esper visited with the Navy and Marine Corps team at Commander, Task Force 51/5, where he spoke with Brigadier General Farrell Sullivan, commanding general of CTF 51/5, to discuss naval integration between the maritime services.
He also sat down with a group of junior Officers and Sailors to discuss their experience serving in the military and while stationed in Bahrain.
During his final stop on base, he visited forward deployed naval forces at the waterfront. Sailors aboard the mine countermeasures ship USS Devastator (MCM 6) and the patrol coastal ship USS Monsoon (PC 4) provided the secretary ship tours.
The visit highlighted the role of NAVCENT/5th Fleet’s operations to the U.S. national defense strategy as well as the longstanding partnership between the Kingdom of Bahrain and U.S. Navy.
The U.S. 5th Fleet AOO encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse is comprised of 20 countries and includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.