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British navy Commodore Bruce Williams has taken command of Combined Task Force 58 in the Middle East from U.S. Navy Capt. Hank Miranda, according to a U.S. 5th Fleet news release.

Task Force 58 is the multinational coalition force responsible for conducting maritime security operations in the northern Persian Gulf.

The guided missile cruiser USS San Jacinto will serve as the flagship, marking the first time a Royal Naval commodore has flown his flag over a U.S. Navy warship since the end of World War I, the release states.

“The strength of a coalition is greater than the sum of its parts,” Williams said in a statement.

“In terms of the coalition here in the northern [Persian] Gulf, the real demonstration of that concerted strength and concerted capability is the fact that here I am, as a British one star, in charge of a force made up of Australian, American, U.K. and Iraqi forces able to operate together.”

Coalition forces patrol the gulf waters to preserve “free and secure use … by legitimate mariners, and prevent terrorists from attempting to use the maritime environment as a venue for attack or as a medium to transport personnel, weapons or other illicit material,” the release states.

Part of the mission includes providing security on Iraq’s Al Basra and Khwar Al Amaya oil terminals, which account for a significant percentage of Iraq’s revenue.


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