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C5F’s Task Force 54 Celebrates 118th Submarine Birthday

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin J. Steinberg, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs | April 16, 2018

MANAMA, Bahrain --

Referred to as the “silent service” of the U.S. Navy, the submariners of U.S. 5th Fleet’s Task Force (TF) 54 and friends of the submarine community were anything but silent as they celebrated the 118th submarine birthday in Manama, Bahrain, April 13.

The event was held on the top floor of the Radisson Diplomatic Blu Hotel, and the guest speaker was Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. David J. Hahn. Hahn described the significance of the submariner community and its impact on the Navy and U.S. history

“Today we remember and honor those who have gone before us and the sacrifice they made. We also are here to understand who we are and where we come from,” said Hahn.

The ceremony began with a remembrance for prisoners of war, those missing in action and the traditional tolling of the bells ceremony where 65 bells were rung to honor the 65 submarines that suffered crew casualties from 1915 through 1968.

“During World War II, the United States submarine force was comprised of less than 50,000 Sailors, only 1.6 percent of our Navy’s personnel at that time,” said U.S. Naval Forces Central Command’s Command Master Chief Brian McDonough. “Their heroic accomplishments exemplified the determination and devotion to mission bred into every submariner.”

Over the years, a total of 65 U.S. submarines have been lost in war and peace, and more than 3,500 Sailors lost their lives serving on those submarines.

Hahn went on to say the only way those Sailors of the past accomplished the things they did was by depending on their crews and standing on the shoulders of the giants who had come before them.

“The submarine heroes of tomorrow are in this room and have the opportunity to continue this legacy of incredible, exceptional, extraordinary outcomes from regular people like you and me, so let’s go do that in every opportunity presented to us,” said Hahn.

The submarine force was established April 11, 1900, after the U.S. Navy bought the submersible Holland VI from John Holland. Holland, an Irish immigrant, synthesized an internal combustion engine, battery, ballast tanks, windows, and a three-bladed propeller to build USS Holland (SS 1), the first modern submarine for the Navy.

TF 54 is the submarine force in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations, and commands operations of U.S. submarine forces and coordinates theater-wide anti-submarine warfare matters. The mission of the squadron covers all aspects of submarine operations from effective submarine employment to safety and logistics. TF 54 is a task force under U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.

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 comprises 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.