US Navy Chief of Ops visits Bahrain; Focus is on Coalition and Readiness

An F/A-18F Super Hornet launches off the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) during flight operations in the north Arabian Sea, 19 January 2021. USS Nimitz is the flagship of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, deployed to the US 5th Fleet area of operations. (US Navy)

Chief of US Naval Operations Admiral Mike Gilday and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russ Smith visited the Gulf state of Bahrain from 13-14 January. They spend time with civilian leaders and US Navy commanders in charge of the 5th Fleet. Also the Nimitz Strike Group has had its deployment to the region extended.

During a media call Adm. Gilday was asked how political tension with Iran was affecting the the situation in the Gulf. He said that the region still seemed stable and highlighted the fact that militaries from many nations were present in the region working as the Coalition Maritime Force: “so that is 33 nations and growing that have come together with a unified effort to keep the seas free and open – whether that’s the Strait of Hormuz, the Arabian Gulf [sic], the Gulf of Oman.”

USS Nimitz

The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz with Carrier Air Wing 17 is currently operating in the Gulf of Oman. The air complement comprises nine squadrons and detachments including four squadrons of Boeing FA-18C/E/Fs, one squadron each of Boeing EA-16G Growlers and Northrop Grumman E2C Hawkeyes, a squadron of C2 Hawkeyes, and two squadrons of Sikorsky MH-60S/R helicopters.

Nimitz Strike Group

Adm. Gilday stated: “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 US Navy is meeting that demand.”

He concluded: “we’re sending a very clear signal to Iran and others that we have the capabilities in place to respond, should we be required to. We’re not looking for trouble. We’re not trying to instigate anything. Again, our focus is to maintain stability in the region. And right now, my assessment is that we have the right forces in place, and we’ve been sending the right messages publicly in order to reinforce that across the region. And I think that those messages have been well accepted.”

by Andrew Drwiega