The U.S. State Department rescinded a travel advisory Wednesday regarding travel to Bahrain, but families of U.S. Navy personnel and Department of Defense civilians will not be allowed to return there.
U.S. Navy Lt. Bill Speaks said family members were told to leave the area because of the general security situation in the region, not just the State Department warning issued in early July.
“That travel advisory was not the only reason we made that decision,” Speaks, a spokesman for the Fifth Fleet, said Friday afternoon from Bahrain.
The Navy moved nearly 1,000 dependents from the tiny nation in the Persian Gulf following a Pentagon order for a “temporary relocation” on July 2. It was to last 30 days but has gone beyond that point with no clue of when it will end.
“At this time, DOD has not made a decision to return family members here,” Speaks said in a telephone interview.
The State Department issued a travel advisory at the same time advising private U.S. citizens not to travel to the country. It also suggested that anyone already in the country should consider getting out.
About 4,500 military personnel are stationed in Bahrain, which is also home to a Department of Defense Dependent School with about 700 students.
Speaks said there is no way to guess when a decision to allow family members to return might be made.
“All I can tell you is, it is a situation we’re constantly monitoring and evaluating,” he said.