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U.S. 5th Fleet
The 5th Fleet of the United States Navy maintains a visible deterrent force in the Persian Gulf area. The 5th Fleet was initially established 26 April 1944 from Central Pacific Force, and disbanded after the war. In the era of the first Gulf War, the region was patrolled by ships from the East and West Coasts, but no defined fleet existed. By July 1995, the course of events made a new numbered fleet necessary. After a 48-year hiatus, the US 5th Fleet was reactivated and it now cruises the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, and Arabian Sea. Its headquarters are in Manama, Bahrain.
For the early years of its existence, its forces normally consisted of an Aircraft Carrier Battle Group (CVBG), an Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), surface combatants, submarines, maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, and logistics ships. However, with the War on Terrorism, the naval strategy of the US has changed. The regular deployments of the Cold War are now a thing of the past. Consequently, the policy of always maintaining a certain number of ships in various parts of the world is also over.
The forces of the 5th Fleet peaked in early 2003, when five USN aircraft carriers, six USMC LHAs and LHDs, their escorting and supply vessels, and over 30 Royal Navy vessels were under its command. In the aftermath of the fall of Baghdad in April 2003, the very large force of ships was quickly drawn down. Until and unless further very serious tensions occur in the area, forces are likely to remain at a lower level than has been the case in recent years.
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