U.S. has 14,000 sailors in Persian Gulf area
Wednesday, April 23, 2008

ABU DHABI — The U.S. Navy has reported a presence of 14,000 personnel in the Persian Gulf region.

Officials said 14,000 sailors have been serving in and around the Gulf. They cited Afghanistan, Djibouti and Iraq as well as in Gulf Cooperation Council states.

"Our having these members ashore and still doing the job shows we are agile and flexible and ready for whatever will arise," U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead said. "In the case of the navy, we remain a global force and we are able to respond to events, as it is a ready navy."

Roughead, appointed in September 2007, has toured the Gulf in efforts to increase U.S. cooperation with GCC states. Several GCC navies have been participating in the current U.S.-led naval exercise in the Gulf.

"The purpose of my visit at this time is to gain perspective from my Gulf region counterparts on important naval issues of mutual interest," Roughead told the Abu Dhabi-based Gulf News.

Roughead has sought to increase intelligence exchange on naval threats in the Gulf. The U.S. Navy maintains its Fifth Fleet in Bahrain.

The admiral's visit took place amid a renewal of Iranian confrontations with the U.S. Navy in the northern Gulf. Officials said Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has been responsible for the encounters.

"What I would like to see of the Iranian naval Revolutionary Guards is for them to act in a more responsive and mindful way regarding the importance of communicating intentions and movements," Roughead said.

Much of the U.S. Navy presence is in Bahrain, with more than 3,000 personnel. On April 20, a female U.S. sailor was found dead in her residence at the base in Manama. In October 2007, two women sailors were killed by another sailor on the base.

Original article: World Tribune
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