By Petty Officer 1st Class Mark Mahmod
| June 17, 2022
Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Linda Fagan speaks to Coast Guardsmen assigned to Patrol Forces Southwest Asia in Bahrain, June 15, as part of her first official visit overseas after assuming her new role as the service’s top officer. (Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Brandon Giles)
Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Linda Fagan visited U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) headquarters in Bahrain, June 15-16, as part of her first official visit overseas after assuming her new role as the service’s top officer.
During her visit, she met with Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of NAVCENT, U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces, and attended the change of command ceremony for U.S. Coast Guard Patrol Forces Southwest Asia (PATFORSWA), the Coast Guard’s largest unit outside of the United States.
“Since 2003, the U.S. Coast Guard has provided a vital presence to Central Asia through support to U.S. Naval Forces Central Command,” said Fagan. “PATFORSWA embodies the strong link between the Coast Guard and the Department of Defense. The Coast Guard’s unique capabilities, namely our expertise in interdictions and security operations, enhance Central Command’s capabilities and help build partner nations’ capacity, ultimately strengthening maritime governance throughout the region.”
Fagan became the 27th commandant of the Coast Guard on June 1, making history as the first woman to lead a branch of the U.S. armed forces.
Established in 2002 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, PATFORSWA has played a crucial role in regional maritime security operations. PATFORSWA provides U.S. 5th Fleet with combat-ready assets, utilizing a full spectrum of vessel boarding capabilities at sea and training engagements ashore.
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 region is comprised of 21 countries and three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, Suez Canal, and the Strait of Bab al-Mandeb.