RED SEA — The amphibious transport dock ship USS Arlington (LPD 24) completed its first transit of the Suez Canal and entered the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations, Nov. 9.
The San Antonio-class ship completed the transit after conducting operations in the Mediterranean Sea and will rejoin the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (KSGARG) to continue its maiden deployment in support of maritime security operations.
The Suez Canal is a 120-mile long artificial channel connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Its narrow width limits traffic to one-way travel at any given time, with only two points wide enough to allow passing. The transit through the Suez Canal marks the shift from the 6th to 5th Fleet area of operations, which is responsible for about 2.5 million square miles of water including the Arabian Gulf, Arabian Sea, Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman and parts of the Indian Ocean.
"Our transition to the 5th Fleet area of operations marks the second chapter in Arlington's Maiden Deployment," said USS Arlington's Commanding Officer Capt. Sean Bailey. "We now have to transition from NATO focused training and missions in the Mediterranean Sea to the daily conduct of maritime security operations and forward presence in a region of the world where the maritime domain is of strategic importance to a number of regional nations and allies. It will be both challenging and rewarding.