The U.S. 5th Fleet birth dates to service in the Central Pacific theater in 1944. A component of the “Big Blue Fleet,” the 5th Fleet fought valiantly under Admiral Spruance, until with mission accomplished she sailed into history in 1947.
But the challenges of a dangerous world never cease, and in 1995, the U.S. 5th Fleet was reconstituted as the numbered fleet arm of NAVCENT, with responsibilities for the safety and security of the United States and her interests in the Middle East (Red Sea, Arabian Sea, Arabian Gulf, and parts of the Indian Ocean). Headquartered in Manama, in the Kingdom of Bahrain, the U.S. 5th Fleet stands watch in arguably the most strategic, and troubled, areas of the entire globe - and the CSRA OCONUS Navy Network team stands with her.
When I arrived I was greeted by Mark Young, our CSRA site lead in Bahrain and was immediately struck by how comfortably Mark lives and leads in a place most of us would find very different from the United States. After a career of Service in uniform, Mark has spent much of his civilian career overseas, and the love and respect he has for his current host home is clear. As we chatted about our CSRA team, and the missions they support, the excitement of a life abroad, if only for a little while, was palpable. It is a unique privilege to serve our Nation in places like Bahrain, so close to the tactical edge, while also having the opportunity to be immersed in a culture very different from our own. It’s a blend of challenge and excitement our CSRA OCONUS Navy Network team proudly lives every day.
In Bahrain, like many other global locations where CSRA serves, multiple programs exist in the same geography. Support to 5th Fleet and NCTS Bahrain exists alongside our Afloat Military Sealift Command mission. I love seeing the camaraderie between those teams, and well as the opportunities such overlap provides. Not only can CSRA surge resources to support both vital missions, but it offers our CSRA team members chances to move and grow in their careers while staying in some of the exotic locales they have come to love.
Life in the 5th Fleet AOR can be difficult. The pace and uncertainty of contingency operations in volatile places require continuous vigilance. For the staffs, assets and Sailors of 5th Fleet and NAVCENT, the CSRA OCONUS Navy Network Team must be always vigilant as well. I left Bahrain grateful for our CSRA team’s commitment to mission, but also impressed by the sense of community and adventure half way around the world.
Please watch for my next post when I visit our CSRA team in Naples, Italy supporting the U.S. 6th Fleet and the European AOR.