11:56 GMT27 February 2020
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    Royal Navy Officer Takes Control of US Task Force in Middle East for First Time

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    An officer in the United Kingdom’s navy has been assigned to lead the US Naval Forces Central Command's Task Force 50 for the first time, according to a press release Friday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Royal Navy Commodore Andrew Burns, commander of Amphibious Task Group, embarked on the UK's premier naval warship HMS Ocean (L 12) and took command of US Naval Forces Central Command's Task Force (CTF) 50 in the Arabian Gulf on Friday, the US Navy stated in a release.

    HMS Ocean, the flagship of the Royal Navy, is a helicopter carrier and amphibious assault ship operating in the Gulf, the release noted.

    CTF 50 plans and conducts strike operations and includes a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, Ticonderoga cruiser, Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and support ships.

    US aircraft operating from the Nimitz-class carrier Eisenhower have completed 1,770 combat sorties, delivering 1,903 ordnances from both the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf in support of Operation Inherent Resolve in the fight against the Islamic State terror group, the release added.

    In December 2015, the commander of France’s maritime force, Rear Adm. Rene-Jean Crignola, took command of CTF 50, which operates in the US Navy’s 5th Fleet area.

    The Naval Forces Central Command monitors an area of about 2.5 million square miles, including the Gulf, the North Arabian and Red seas, the gulfs of Oman and Aden.

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    US Navy, Royal Navy, United Kingdom, United States
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