MANAMA, Bahrain –
Two U.S. Coast Guard fast response cutters arrived in Beirut, Lebanon, on Jan. 31, for a scheduled port visit that will include several military-to-military exchanges with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF).
USCGC Emlen Tunnel (WPC 1145) and USCGC Glen Harris (WPC 1144) arrived in Beirut after a stop last week in Alexandria, Egypt. The vessels are two of the Coast Guard’s newest fast response cutters slated for forward-deployment to Bahrain where U.S. 5th Fleet is headquartered.
While in Beirut, crewmembers will share ideas with LAF counterparts on areas of mutual interest such as maritime security, counterterrorism, and border security.
“Being able to share our maritime expertise strengthens our partnership and regional maritime security,” said Lt. Reginald Reynolds, commanding officer of Glen Harris. “This continues a growing relationship between U.S. maritime forces and LAF.”
Expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Choctaw County (T-EPF 2) completed a historic visit to Beirut in September during U.S. Naval Forces Central Command’s (NAVCENT) first-ever Central Partnership Station mission. U.S. service members participated in a series of subject-matter-expert exchanges with LAF personnel on mine countermeasures, disaster response, public health and construction capabilities.
“We are ushering in a new era of strengthening and expanding capacity building across the region,” said Vice Adm. Brad Cooper at the time. Cooper commands NAVCENT, U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces.
Emlen Tunnel and Glen Harris are replacing two of the Coast Guard’s existing Island-class patrol boats currently operating from Bahrain. The new fast response cutters feature advanced communications systems and improved surveillance and reconnaissance equipment.
The U.S. 5th Fleet operating area encompasses approximately 2.5 million square miles of water and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse is comprised of 21 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.