NAVCENT Commander Presents Sailor with Inaugural Leadership Award

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Mark Meredith, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs | May 10, 2018

MANAMA, Bahrain -- Vice Admiral John Aquilino, former Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT)/ U.S. 5th Fleet (C5F)/Combined Maritime Forces, presented the inaugural Vice Admiral John Redd Leadership Award to a Sailor during his change of command ceremony onboard Naval Support Activity Bahrain, May 6.

Lt. Cmdr. Alaina Gembara, a senior intelligence watch officer at NAVCENT, was presented the award, which recognizes a leader who is the epitome of a warfighter, according to Aquilino.

“It was a complete surprise to me,” said Gembara. “I was very, very honored. “I really have to say, I feel like I’m taking credit for others’ accomplishments. I give all credit to the team and leadership who supported me in allowing our men and women to do great things.”

Gembara stood out from the pack as she flawlessly led 35 officers and enlisted personnel on NAVCENT’s 24/7 indications and warnings watch. Her coordination across the waterfront and within the intelligence community ensured mission critical intelligence provided indications and warnings to two carrier strike groups, two amphibious ready groups and more than 80 U.S. and allied naval units operating within the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.

In addition, Gembara led four rotating watch teams and overhauled the watch floor, changing the configuration of the space to maximize efficiency.

She also oversaw the production and dissemination of more than 300 naval message intelligence summaries, 270 time-sensitive force intelligence and threat advisories, 189 operation and intelligence briefs, and 108 NAVCENT commander’s update briefs.

“I’m very proud of the Sailors and junior officers on the I&W watch,” Gembara said. “I just let them run with it. They’ve handled every high stress, high visibility event very well, coolly and competently.”

The award is named after Redd, who served as the first commander of NAVCENT and U.S. 5th Fleet from September 1994 to July 1996.

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.