July 6, 2012Bookmark and Share

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Release #101-12

Ponce Arrives In Bahrain

By U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs

MINA SALMAN PIER, Bahrain - The U.S. Navy’s first Afloat Forward Staging Base- Interim USS Ponce (AFSB-I) arrived in Bahrain for duty in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR), July 6.

Prior to arriving in theater, Ponce, formerly designated as an amphibious transport dock (LPD), was converted and reclassified as an AFSB(I) in April to fulfill a long-standing U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) request for an AFSB to be located in its AOR.

“Ponce’s role as an AFSB provides us with an enhanced capability to conduct maritime security operations, and gives us greater flexibility to support a wide range of contingencies with our regional partners,” said Vice Adm. John Miller, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT).

Ponce’s primary mission is to support mine countermeasures (MCM) operations and other missions, such as the ability to provide repair service to other deployed units, including electrical, diesel engine, piping, and machinery repairs. Additionally, Ponce also has the capability to embark and launch small riverine craft.

Commanded by a U.S. Navy Captain, Ponce will remain a U.S. Navy ship. The newly classed AFSB will be manned by a “hybrid” crew consisting of approximately 150 Military Sealift Command (MSC) civilian mariners and 55 U.S. Navy Sailors. Sailors will be primarily responsible for the ship operations. MSC personnel will man the engineering, deck and damage control departments.

“The versatility of Ponce, combined with the teamwork of its ‘hybrid’ crew, brings a unique capability to the region." said Capt. Jon Rodgers, commanding officer of Ponce. "As the first dedicated Afloat Forward Staging Base, we look forward to working closely with our coalition and regional partners to promote security and stability."

Ponce departed its homeport of Norfolk, Va., June 1. Previously scheduled to decommission, Ponce delayed its scheduled decommissioning to serve as an interim AFSB until a permanent solution can be identified.

Photos:

120706-N-UM570-040 MINA SALMAN PIER, Bahrain (July 6, 2012) Tugboats assist the Afloat Forward Staging Base-Interim USS Ponce (AFSB-I) as the ship pulls into the Kingdom of Bahrain. Ponce is deployed to support maritime security operations and mine countermeasure efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ashanté Hammons/Released)

120706-N-UM570-040 MINA SALMAN PIER, Bahrain (July 6, 2012) Tugboats assist the Afloat Forward Staging Base-Interim USS Ponce (AFSB-I) as the ship pulls into the Kingdom of Bahrain. Ponce is deployed to support maritime security operations and mine countermeasure efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ashanté Hammons/Released)

120706-N-UM570-047 MINA SALMAN PORT, Bahrain (July 6, 2012) Tugboats assist the Afloat Forward Staging Base-Interim USS Ponce (AFSB-I) as the ship pulls into the Kingdom of Bahrain. Ponce is deployed to support maritime security operations and mine countermeasure efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ashanté Hammons/Released)

120706-N-UM570-047 MINA SALMAN PIER, Bahrain (July 6, 2012) Tugboats assist the Afloat Forward Staging Base-Interim USS Ponce (AFSB-I) as the ship pulls into the Kingdom of Bahrain. Ponce is deployed to support maritime security operations and mine countermeasure efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ashanté Hammons/Released)

120706-N-UM570-051 MINA SALMAN PORT, Bahrain (July 6, 2012) Tugboats assist the Afloat Forward Staging Base-Interim USS Ponce (AFSB-I) as the ship pulls into the Kingdom of Bahrain. Ponce is deployed to support maritime security operations and mine countermeasure efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ashanté Hammons/Released)

120706-N-UM570-051 MINA SALMAN PIER, Bahrain (July 6, 2012) Tugboats assist the Afloat Forward Staging Base-Interim USS Ponce (AFSB-I) as the ship pulls into the Kingdom of Bahrain. Ponce is deployed to support maritime security operations and mine countermeasure efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ashanté Hammons/Released)

120704-N-WB378-201 ARABIAN GULF (July 4, 2012) Afloat Forward Staging Base-Interim USS Ponce (AFSB-I) transits the Arabian Gulf. Ponce is deployed to support maritime security operations and mine countermeasure efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Blake Midnight/Released)

120704-N-WB378-201 ARABIAN GULF (July 4, 2012) Afloat Forward Staging Base-Interim USS Ponce (AFSB-I) transits the Arabian Gulf. Ponce is deployed to support maritime security operations and mine countermeasure efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Blake Midnight/Released)

120704-N-WB378-249 ARABIAN GULF (July 4, 2012) Afloat Forward Staging Base-Interim USS Ponce (AFSB-I) transits the Arabian Gulf. Ponce is deployed to support maritime security operations and mine countermeasure efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Blake Midnight/Released)

120704-N-WB378-249 ARABIAN GULF (July 4, 2012) Afloat Forward Staging Base-Interim USS Ponce (AFSB-I) transits the Arabian Gulf. Ponce is deployed to support maritime security operations and mine countermeasure efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Blake Midnight/Released)

120704-N-WB378-362 ARABIAN GULF (July 4, 2012) An MH 53E Sea Dragon assigned to Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM) 15 prepares to land on the flight deck aboard Afloat Forward Staging Base-Interim USS Ponce (AFSB-I). Ponce is deployed to support maritime security operations and mine countermeasure efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Blake Midnight/Released)

120704-N-WB378-362 ARABIAN GULF (July 4, 2012) An MH 53E Sea Dragon assigned to Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM) 15 prepares to land on the flight deck aboard Afloat Forward Staging Base-Interim USS Ponce (AFSB-I). Ponce is deployed to support maritime security operations and mine countermeasure efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Blake Midnight/Released)

120704-N-WB378-403 ARABIAN GULF (July 4, 2012) An MH 53E Sea Dragon assigned to Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM) 15 prepares to land on the flight deck aboard Afloat Forward Staging Base-Interim USS Ponce (AFSB-I). Ponce is deployed to support maritime security operations and mine countermeasure efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Blake Midnight/Released)

120704-N-WB378-403 ARABIAN GULF (July 4, 2012) An MH 53E Sea Dragon assigned to Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM) 15 prepares to land on the flight deck aboard Afloat Forward Staging Base-Interim USS Ponce (AFSB-I). Ponce is deployed to support maritime security operations and mine countermeasure efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Blake Midnight/Released)

120704-N-WB378-415 ARABIAN GULF (July 4, 2012) Operations Specialist 1st Class Marcus Mitchell, left, supervises as Operation Specialist 3rd Class Patrick Lloyd monitors the SPA-25G radar console from the combat information center aboard Afloat Forward Staging Base-Interim USS Ponce (AFSB-I). Ponce is deployed to support maritime security operations and mine countermeasure efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Blake Midnight/Released)

120704-N-WB378-415 ARABIAN GULF (July 4, 2012) Operations Specialist 1st Class Marcus Mitchell, left, supervises as Operation Specialist 3rd Class Patrick Lloyd monitors the SPA-25G radar console from the combat information center aboard Afloat Forward Staging Base-Interim USS Ponce (AFSB-I). Ponce is deployed to support maritime security operations and mine countermeasure efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Blake Midnight/Released)

120704-N-WB378-427 ARABIAN GULF (July 4, 2012) Operations Specialist 1st Class Marcus Mitchell plots points for open ocean navigation from the combat information center aboard Afloat Forward Staging Base-Interim USS Ponce (AFSB-I). Ponce is deployed to support maritime security operations and mine countermeasure efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Blake Midnight/Released)

120704-N-WB378-427 ARABIAN GULF (July 4, 2012) Operations Specialist 1st Class Marcus Mitchell plots points for open ocean navigation from the combat information center aboard Afloat Forward Staging Base-Interim USS Ponce (AFSB-I). Ponce is deployed to support maritime security operations and mine countermeasure efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Blake Midnight/Released)

120704-N-WB378-442 ARABIAN GULF (July 4, 2012) Fire Controlman 2nd Class Ronald Kleinberger scans the horizon for surface and air contacts with the MK-38 mod 2 system from the combat information center aboard Afloat Forward Staging Base-Interim USS Ponce (AFSB-I). Ponce is deployed to support maritime security operations and mine countermeasure efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Blake Midnight/Released)

120704-N-WB378-442 ARABIAN GULF (July 4, 2012) Fire Controlman 2nd Class Ronald Kleinberger scans the horizon for surface and air contacts with the MK-38 mod 2 system from the combat information center aboard Afloat Forward Staging Base-Interim USS Ponce (AFSB-I). Ponce is deployed to support maritime security operations and mine countermeasure efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Blake Midnight/Released)

120704-N-WB378-500 ARABIAN GULF (July 4, 2012) A U.S. Navy Sailor monitors the SPA-25G radar console from the combat information center aboard Afloat Forward Staging Base-Interim USS Ponce (AFSB-I). Ponce is deployed to support maritime security operations and mine countermeasure efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Blake Midnight/Released)

120704-N-WB378-500 ARABIAN GULF (July 4, 2012) A U.S. Navy Sailor monitors the SPA-25G radar console from the combat information center aboard Afloat Forward Staging Base-Interim USS Ponce (AFSB-I). Ponce is deployed to support maritime security operations and mine countermeasure efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Blake Midnight/Released)

120704-N-WB378-549 ARABIAN GULF (July 4, 2012 An MH 53E Sea Dragon assigned to Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM) 15 conducts flight deck landing qualifications aboard Afloat Forward Staging Base-Interim USS Ponce (AFSB-I). Ponce is deployed to support maritime security operations and mine countermeasure efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Blake Midnight/Released)

120704-N-WB378-549 ARABIAN GULF (July 4, 2012 An MH 53E Sea Dragon assigned to Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM) 15 conducts flight deck landing qualifications aboard Afloat Forward Staging Base-Interim USS Ponce (AFSB-I). Ponce is deployed to support maritime security operations and mine countermeasure efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Blake Midnight/Released)

120704-N-WB378-567 ARABIAN GULF (July 4, 2012) A civilian mariner directs an MH 53E Sea Dragon assigned to Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM) 15 to land on the flight deck aboard Afloat Forward Staging Base-Interim USS Ponce (AFSB-I). Ponce is deployed to support maritime security operations and mine countermeasure efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Blake Midnight/Released)

120704-N-WB378-567 ARABIAN GULF (July 4, 2012) A civilian mariner directs an MH 53E Sea Dragon assigned to Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM) 15 to land on the flight deck aboard Afloat Forward Staging Base-Interim USS Ponce (AFSB-I). Ponce is deployed to support maritime security operations and mine countermeasure efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Blake Midnight/Released)

120704-N-WB378-629 ARABIAN GULF (July 4, 2012) An MH 53E Sea Dragon assigned to Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM) 15 prepares to take off from the flight deck aboard Afloat Forward Staging Base-Interim USS Ponce (AFSB-I). Ponce is deployed to support maritime security operations and mine countermeasure efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Blake Midnight/Released)

120704-N-WB378-629 ARABIAN GULF (July 4, 2012) An MH 53E Sea Dragon assigned to Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM) 15 prepares to take off from the flight deck aboard Afloat Forward Staging Base-Interim USS Ponce (AFSB-I). Ponce is deployed to support maritime security operations and mine countermeasure efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Blake Midnight/Released)

120704-N-WB378-821 ARABIAN GULF (July 4, 2012) Afloat Forward Staging Base-Interim USS Ponce (AFSB-I) transits the Arabian Gulf. Ponce is deployed to support maritime security operations and mine countermeasure efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Blake Midnight/Released)

120704-N-WB378-821 ARABIAN GULF (July 4, 2012) Afloat Forward Staging Base-Interim USS Ponce (AFSB-I) transits the Arabian Gulf. Ponce is deployed to support maritime security operations and mine countermeasure efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Blake Midnight/Released)

 

For further questions, please contact Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command
Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs Office at 011-973-1785-4027.
For Naval Support Activity Bahrain at 11-973-1785-4000.
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