WASHINGTON - Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Mike Gilday and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith travelled to Manama, Bahrain, Jan. 13-14 to meet with senior Bahrain leadership as well as forward-deployed Sailors in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.
“This has been a great opportunity to see the region first-hand and meet with Bahrain, coalition, and U.S. Navy senior leadership here,” Gilday said. “Make no mistake, we are committed to further strengthening and expanding cooperation with all of our Coalition Partners in the region. It is our hope that we will continue to identify new areas for collaboration in order to maintain security, stability, and prosperity within the region and keep the seas free and open.”
During his visit, Gilday met with His Royal Highness Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander, First Deputy Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa and Bahrain Defence Force Commander-in-Chief Field Marshal Shaikh Khalifa bin Ahmad Al-Khalifa.
“Bahrain is a valued and trusted defense partner, a crucial friend, and we greatly value the contributions and capabilities that they bring to regional security,” Gilday said. “Our relationship with Bahrain continues to grow across the board, and we cooperate on a wide range of issues at the highest levels.”
At Naval Support Activity Bahrain, Gilday and Smith met with U.S. 5th Fleet leadership, and were briefed on Combined Maritime Forces operations by representatives from the 33-partner nations. Gilday and Smith also visited Sailors deployed to Bahrain and aboard USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) at sea, and spoke with the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group leadership by phone during the trip.
“I’ve spoken with Nimitz Strike Group Leadership and they understand the mission, expectations, and why they are needed in the region right now,” Gilday said. “Nimitz’s presence in the region highlights that there is a demand for maritime forces across the globe and the U. S. Navy is meeting that demand.”
Smith said that Sailors here demonstrate the very best of the U. S. Navy.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to spend time with our forward-deployed Sailors here in 5th Fleet,” Smith said. “The work they do every day helps us provide security and stability and demonstrates a maritime combat prowess that gives any potential adversary pause.”
This visit by Gilday and Smith has been long-planned to meet with deployed Sailors and Bahrain officials who graciously host the U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces.