Royal Navy leads US Navy Task Force 50 for the first time
The Royal Navy has taken command of US Task Force 50 in the Gulf – the first time it has led a US task force in the Middle East. Commodore Andrew Burns, the Royal Navy’s Commander Amphibious Task Group, has taken charge of the US task force while currently embarked on HMS Ocean. It represents a significant development in combined maritime operations between the UK and US.
HMS Ocean, left, and USS Dwight D Eisenhower transit the Gulf. Picture: US Navy
Commodore Burns and his staff will now direct the operations of the multi-national task force from on board Ocean, maintaining the free flow of trade, freedom of navigation for shipping and regional security in an area covering around 2.5m square miles.
A change-of-command ceremony took place on board the USS Dwight D Eisenhower, during which Commodore Burns assumed the role of Commander Task Force 50 from US Navy Rear Admiral James Malloy.
“Together we have had an enduring Royal Navy and US Navy presence in this region that has contributed to stability, order on the high seas and freedom of navigation, and ensured the free flow of commerce, so vital to the prosperity of our nations,” said Commodore Burns.
“Today marks the start of another chapter in this partnership as the Royal Navy takes on the privilege of leading a US task force in the Middle East for the first time.”
Rear Admiral Malloy said the handover of the task force to the Royal Navy "represents a wise investment in this region's future."
"I cannot think of a more capable officer and friend to continue this mission out here than Commodore Burns," he added.
"Security and stability cannot be maintained by one nation alone. Working together with our UK and other coalition counterparts, I am confident in the success of our shared interest for security, stability and prosperity in this region."
HMS Ocean, a helicopter carrier and amphibious assault ship, will provide maritime security through continued presence in the Gulf region and a series of exercises with partner nations. Along with Type 45 destroyer HMS Daring, she will provide a continued presence following the USS Dwight D Eisenhower's departure from the Gulf.