RED SEA — Auxiliary, Expeditionary Fast Transport ship USNS Choctaw County (T-EPF 2) arrived in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations (AOO) Feb. 3, the first ship of its platform to be forward deployed to the region following a routine transit of the Suez Canal.
Choctaw County is a non-combatant vessel with a civilian crew. The ship will operate under Commander, Task Force (CTF) 53 to accomplish a range of missions in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOO and provide a range of flexible and adaptable capabilities in order to conduct theater security cooperation efforts, maritime security operations and provide crisis response.
"I'm thrilled to have Choctaw County in the 5th Fleet," said Capt. Edwin D. Kaiser, commander of CTF 53. "The ship gives us tremendous capacity and operational flexibility."
CTF 53 provides logistics support to the Naval Forces Central Command area of operations, including underway replenishment by Military Sealift Command-operated ships.
U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) is responsible for approximately 2.5 million square miles of area including the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, North Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. NAVCENT's mission is to conduct maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts, and strengthen partner nation's maritime capabilities in order to promote security and stability in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOO.