Manama, Bahrain – Sailors and Marines aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) visited Manama, Bahrain, Jan. 9-15, for the ship’s first port visit since entering the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations, Nov. 30.
Makin Island, and its crew of more than 2,400 Sailors and Marines, visited Bahrain to replenish supplies, perform maintenance and repairs, and take the opportunity to experience the country’s culture.
"Since arriving in the U.S. 5th Fleet operating area, our Sailors and Marines have maintained a steady tempo conducting training with our regional partners in order to stay ready to perform the range of maritime security operations on a moment’s notice," said Capt. Mark Melson, commanding officer of Makin Island. "We’re thankful to visit Bahrain, both for the logistical and maintenance capabilities afforded to the ship that allow us to maintain our high level of readiness, as well as the wonderful culture for our team to explore and enjoy."
Sailors and Marines also teamed together ashore to help the local community at outreach events at two local schools and a women’s shelter in Manama.
“I love doing community relations events and giving back to the community,” said Religious Program Specialist 2nd Class Tiffani Hess from Carson, Calif. “It’s one of the reasons I love what I do, seeing the happiness on their faces knowing that someone cares about them.”
The ship's Morale, Welfare and Recreation team organized a variety of activities ashore such as sporting events, horse back riding, city tours and spa packages.
"It was great to tour the city and enjoy an authentic Middle Eastern dinner," said Damage Controlman 3rd Class Euserbio Morenoortiz from Naples, Fla. "It was interesting to learn about the culture and experience it firsthand. I had a really good time."
Makin Island, part of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), is conducting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts during deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.
"As the flagship for 5th Fleet’s self-sustained crisis response force, the Makin Island ARG and embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, we must maintain the highest level of readiness," said Melson. "That means taking care of the ship and the crew, and we were able to do both during our visit to Bahrain.”
Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command-Commander U.S. 5th Fleet's responsibility encompasses about 7.5 million square miles and includes the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman, and parts of the Indian Ocean. The area is comprised of 27 countries, 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.
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