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Command of maritime operations in the central and southern Persian Gulf now falls under a U.S. Navy admiral who assumed control Sunday from an Italian admiral.

U.S. Rear Adm. Allen Myers took over command of Combined Task Force 152 from Italian Rear Adm. Emilio Foltzer, according to a U.S. Navy 5th Fleet press release.

“Between supporting Operation Enduring Freedom and continuing the mission of Maritime Security Operations, cooperation with regional partners is imperative,” Myers said during the change of command ceremony. “I believe we all recognize that working together as a fully integrated coalition is key to our success in achieving security in international waters.”

The Italian navy assumed command of CTF 152 on June 28, making it the task force’s first non-U.S. command. U.S. and coalition forces patrol the region’s waters to combat terrorism and stop piracy, smuggling and trafficking.

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