Bahrain king visits US Naval Forces Command

King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the king of the Kingdom of Bahrain, visited the headquarters of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) in Bahrain on June 12.

Vice Adm. Kevin M. Donegan, NAVCENT commander, and the U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Bahrain the William V. Roebuck greeted the king.

During the visit, Navy officials briefed the king on current operations of the U.S. 5th Fleet and coalition operations to defeat ISIS.

Following the briefing, the king had dinner with the ambassador and Donegan, where they continued discussing issues of mutual interest.

The king was accompanied on this trip by two of his sons, Brig. Gen. Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, commander of the Royal Guard, and Maj. Shaikh Khaled bin Hamad Al Khalifa, commander of the Royal Guard Special Force, as well as Commander-in-Chief of the Bahrain Defense Force Field Marshal Shaikh Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa and Commander of the Bahraini Royal Navy Rear Adm. Shaikh Khalifa bin Abdullah Al Khalifa.

His majesty said the connection between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United States was critical to regional maritime security and the free flow of commerce.

“The world’s trade flows, its commerce, and ultimately its security depend on what happens in this critical region,” the king said. “This region in turn depends on the vital strategic partnership between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United States of America.”

The U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse is comprised of 20 countries and 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.