On 25 November 2016,Royal Navy Commodore Andrew Burns,commander,Amphibious Task Group embarked on the Royal Navy flagship HMS Ocean (L12),took command of US Naval Forces Central Command Task Force 50 (CTF 50) in the Arabian Gulf.This is the first time a Royal Navy officer has commanded a US task force in the Middle East and is a significant step in combined maritime operations,US Naval Forces CENTCOM said.*
HMS Ocean is a helicopter carrier and amphibious assault ship and will provide continued forward presence in the Gulf.It can deliver Sailors and Marines by helicopter or landing craft.*
CDRE Burns,assuming command of CTF 50 from Rear Admiral James Malloy,USN,commander of Carrier Strike Group 10,said:
Together we have had an enduring presence in this region that has contributed stability,order on the high seas and freedom of navigation,and ensuring the free flow of commerce,so vital to the prosperity of our respective nations.Today marks the start of another chapter in the partnership as the Royal Navy takes on the privilege of leading a US task force in the Middle East for the first time.*
HMS Ocean will provide a range of flexible and adaptable capabilities to perform theatre security cooperation efforts and maritime security operations aimed at providing continuous forward presence as the USS Eisenhower (CVN 69) leaves CENTCOM's Area of Responsibility.The Eisenhower completed 1770 combat sorties delivering 1903 ordnances from both the Mediterranean Sea and Arabian Gulf in support of the anti-ISIL Operation Inherent Resolve.