CTF-56 Serves Multiple Roles in 5th Fleet

Sailors assigned to Riverine Squadron 1 race along the Euphrates River in riverine patrol boats. RIVRON-1 was established in May 2006, under Navy Expeditionary Combat Command. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin S. O'Brien

January 28, 2009, Bahrain -- In the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Operations, the men and women of Commander Task Force (CTF) 56 play a vital role in the region by providing operational oversight for all naval expeditionary combat forces.

CTF-56 supports nine different task groups including expeditionary combat, logistical support and combat service support forces.

"The mission of CTF-56 is to properly assign and manage Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) forces in theater," said Capt. Michael Jordan, commander, CTF-56. "We provide expertise in Navy Expeditionary Combat Forces and NAVCENT initiatives with these forces."

CTF-56 has several different task groups that fall under their command. These task groups include: Naval construction force, Navy explosive ordnance disposal, mobile diving and salvage, maritime expeditionary security forces, Navy expeditionary logistics support forces, combat camera, riverine squadrons, expeditionary intelligence units, maritime civil affairs teams and expeditionary training teams.

CTF-56 task groups provide various services to the commands they are assigned to in Bahrain and throughout the region.

"We are unique from other task forces in 5th Fleet because we have such a wide range of capabilities," said Lt. Cmdr. Eric Bray, CTF-56 operations officer. "Our task groups cover multiple roles throughout the U.S. 5th Fleet; from security, construction to ordnance disposal."

CTF-56 task groups deploy throughout the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Operations to support various commands.

"Our task forces are deployed to seven countries throughout the region," said Bray. "Our task groups are serving in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom as well as conducting maritime security operations."

Members of the EOD task group regularly deploy to front line commands.

"We get called to clear IEDs a lot in Iraq," said Explosive Ordnance Disposal 1st Class (EWS) Phillip Morrison, who deployed there in 2006 and 2007. "If EOD wasn't there to remove IEDs, they might still be there killing or wounding our Soldiers."

EOD Sailors also help gather information on the IEDs being used in Iraq, which enable investigators to hunt the terror cells that plant them.

CTF-56 also provides intelligence information that helps NAVCENT operate effectively.

"Being part of CTF-56 has given me a bigger view of how and why we operate the way we do," said Intelligence Specialist 1st Class Douglas Kelley, Jr. "Doing this job allows those in command to make informed decisions on how to best use our troops and resources."

"I'm glad to be supporting the troops on the front lines," said Morrison. "I always want to be as involved as possible in supporting the troops who are in harm's way. That's the greatest honor that a Sailor can have.(navy.mil)

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