According to the United States Central Command (CENTCOM), the highest-ranking U.S. military official responsible for the Middle East was present on a guided missile destroyer during its passage through the Strait of Hormuz over the weekend.
CENTCOM chief Gen. Erik Kurilla also visited the UAE and Bahrain, according to a statement.
Over 3,000 American troops arrived in the Middle East on Sunday in response to Iranian and Russian threats in recent months, in what was part of a pre-announced deployment.
The US Sailors and Marines were onboard the USS Bataan and USS Carter Hall warships.
Last month, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ordered the deployment of an Amphibious Readiness Group/Marine Expeditionary Unit (ARG/MEU) into the region. That came in addition to the F-35s, F-16s, and a guided missile destroyer, the USS Thomas Hudner (DDG-116), which were dispatched.
Gen. Kurilla was on the DDG-116 along with Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, the commander of the US Fifth Fleet, and received hands-on demonstrations of the full capabilities of the combat vessel.
“These trips to the region provide me deep insights into the relationships with our partners and the readiness of the US and Coalition forces deployed there,” Gen. Kurilla said. “I continue to be impressed with the high level of readiness, professionalism, and capability of the US forces serving in CENTCOM. The commitment of our forces and partners is key to regional security.”
Stops in Bahrain, UAE
Gen. Kurilla also visited the United Arab Emirates and met Lt. Gen. Issa Sayf Mohammed al-Mazrouei, the Armed Forces Chief of Staff, “to discuss the enduring nature of the military-to-military relationship and the need to address threats in the region.”
The US general then traveled to Bahrain, where he met with King Hamid bin Isa Al Khalifa. The two spoke about the strength of the US-Bahrain military relationship as well as the “complex security situation” in the region and how strong partnerships are the key to overcoming regional challenges.
While in Bahrain, Gen. Kurilla also visited the headquarters of the US Fifth Fleet.