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U.S. 5th Fleet Sailors Celebrate Navy's 243rd Birthday

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Samantha P. Montenegro, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs | October 13, 2018

MANAMA, Bahrain -- More than 500 service members and guests celebrated 243 years of American naval history and tradition during the Navy Birthday Ball at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Oct. 12.

The U.S. Navy traces its origins to the Continental Navy, established during the War of Independence by the Continental Congress on October 13, 1775.

The ball’s master of ceremonies Lt. Ryan Kersting-Schlimgen opened the ceremony with an introduction to this year’s birthday theme, “Forged by the Sea.”

“Tonight we commemorate the 243nd birthday of our Navy and its proud history of valor that has been forged in strife and adversity,” said Kersting-Schlimgen. “Tonight we celebrate the traditions begun so long ago, the traditions that began small, traditions that bind us all together as one body, stronger than we were before we entered this service, tonight we celebrate a United States Navy that has been forged by the sea.”

The formal ceremony included a colors presentation, a live performance of the national anthem, a Prisoner of War/Missing in Action remembrance, a set of ceremonial toasts and a cake-cutting.

Vice Adm. Scott Stearney, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces, served as the guest speaker as well as the guest of honor for the ceremony. 

“For 243 years, and multiple generations of Sailors, the sea has forged our nation,” said Stearney. “It has forged our Navy and continues to forge our Sailors and our eternal destiny. Our nation recognized that our prosperity was linked to a strong and capable maritime force.”

Following his speech, service members and guests continued the celebration with a night full of dancing and festivities.

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.