MANAMA, Bahrain – The amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) visited Manama, Bahrain, for a scheduled port visit Jan. 15-20.
Sailors experienced the local culture, attractions and took advantage of the services available aboard Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain while in port.
“It was nice to pull into a place where there was a big Navy presence,” said Air Traffic Controller Airman Kiel Wirthlin, from Phoenix. “Being able to hang out at NSA Bahrain to access some Wi-Fi and get some shopping done at the Navy Exchange really hit the spot.”
Sailors also participated in tours offered by Boxer’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) department, including go-kart racing, cultural tours, shopping, and a visit to a local spa.
“Giving the Sailors a chance to see the sights and enjoy themselves wherever we go is what these tours are all about,” said Brian Rockenbach, USS Boxer MWR director.. “Whether it’s the spas or the Grand Mosque and shopping tours, Bahrain had a little something for everyone.”
During the visit, Boxer also hosted a reception for the Bahrain International Air Show (BIAS) in the ship’s hangar bay, Jan. 17.
Boxer’s Sailors and Marines hosted nearly 200 dignitaries, diplomats, U.S. and host nation military leaders, and regional and partner military leaders, as well as local civic and business leaders including the King of Bahrain’s representative and Minister of State for Defense Affairs, His Excellency Lt. General Dr. Shaikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Khalifa and Vice Adm. John W. Miller, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet, Combined Maritime Forces.
“The reception was an all-hands effort and couldn’t have gone any better,” said Capt. John Gumbleton, USS Boxer commanding officer. “It was an honor to have everyone aboard to show them what the United States Navy and Marine Corps team has to offer and to strengthen our partnerships in the region.”
The Bahrain International Air Show is a biennial, three-day international business-to-business aerospace event, launched in 2010, with a particular focus on industry activity within the Middle East and North Africa region. The U.S. Department of Defense has participated in each of the previous air shows, and the 2014 event attracted visitors from around the world to view more than 1,000 exhibits from nearly 50 countries.
Boxer is the flagship for the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (13th MEU), is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.