U.S. and Bahrain Begin Exercise Neon Defender

U.S. and Bahrain Begin Exercise Neon Defender
Royal Bahrain Naval Force fast attack craft RBNS Abdul Rahman Al-fadel (P 22), Bahrain Coast Guard response boats Hawar 5 and Hawar 4, U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Mahan (DDG 72), patrol coastal ships USS Squall (PC 7) and USS Hurricane (PC 3), U.S. Coast Guard patrol boat USCGC Adak (WBP 1333) and two Mark VI patrol boats operate in formation during exercise Neon Defender in the Arabian Gulf, April 7. Neon Defender 21 is a bilateral maritime exercise between the U.S. and Bahrain, designed to enhance interoperability and readiness, fortify military-to-military relationships and advance operational capabilities, allowing participating naval forces to effectively develop the necessary skills to address threats to regional security, freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce. (Army Photo by Spc. Evens Milcette Jr.)

Forces from the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United States began a 10-day military exercise Neon Defender in and off the coast of Bahrain, May 8.

Exercise Neon Defender is an annual bilateral training event between U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) and the Bahrain Defence Force. The Bahrain Coast Guard is also participating. The exercise focuses on maritime security operations, installation defense and medical response.

“Bahrain makes many vital contributions to the maritime security of the Gulf and the annual bilateral Neon Defender exercise highlights the fulsome capability of Bahrain’s maritime forces,” said Ambassador Steven C. Bondy, the U.S. ambassador to the Kingdom of Bahrain. “The U.S.-Bahrain security partnership continuously develops to deliver enhanced regional security. This exercise is a strong example of how our two nations are working in tandem to improve security and safety for all, to the benefit of both our great nations.”

Nearly 200 U.S. personnel are participating, including maritime engagement, security, medical and construction teams from the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. U.S. Coast Guard cutters USCGC Robert Goldman (WPC 1142) and USCGC Baranof (WPB 1318) as well as several U.S. Navy unmanned systems will also participate in the exercise.

“Neon Defender is an excellent opportunity to increase interoperability with our Bahraini partners,” said Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of NAVCENT, U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces. “I am inspired as our military-to-military relationship with Bahrain continues to grow as we strengthen and expand our mutual cooperation.”