Naval Support Activity Bahrain
|This article is outdated. (June 2016)|
|Naval Support Activity Bahrain|
United States Navy personnel performing morning colors at Naval Support Activity Bahrain in 2005
|Type||United States Navy Main Operating Base|
|Owner||United States Government|
|Controlled by||United States Navy|
|Built||Refurbished in 1997; major renovations in 2003, 2006, and 2010–2015|
|U.S. Navy Captain Colin S. Walsh|
|Garrison||U.S. Fifth Fleet|
Occupying the original territory of the British Royal Navy base known as HMS Jufair, USN presence was established on-site during World War 2. Transferred to the U.S. government in 1971, NSA Bahrain today provides support through logistical, supply and protection as well as a Navy Exchange facility and Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs to both United States Armed Forces and coalition assets. It is the primary base in the region for the naval and marine activities in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and formerly Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), to include when the latter was changed to Operation New Dawn (OND) until the end of the Iraq War.
The commander of Navy Region Southwest Asia is responsible for NSA Bahrain and Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti. Navy Region Southwest Asia falls under the oversight of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (COMUSNAVCENT). Vice Admiral John W. Miller, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and United States Fifth Fleet.
The first presence of the British Royal Navy in the Persian Gulf came about from the need to control pirates raiding the British Empire ships east of Suez, especially the East India Company routes to India. In the early 1820s the rulers of Bahrain, Salman and Abdullah Al Khalifa, signed an agreement to try and limit piracy in the area. This was strengthened in 1835 through an agreement signed specifically with the Royal Navy, which addressed the need to stop pirates operating in the area, and limit the slave trade. In 1902 the first oil was discovered in the area, but commercial extraction did not begin until 1925 when Frank Holmes was given the first license, with the first oil not exported from Bahrain until 1932.
After the death of Sheikh Isa in 1932, having handed control of the state in 1921 under British diplomatic pressure to his son Hamad, his advisor Charles Belgrave with whom he had modernised the state systems and key infrastructure, suggested that they should come to an agreement with the British to open a permanent Royal Navy base within the state. HMS Jufair opened on 13 April 1935, as part of the port at Mina Salman. It was bombed by the Italian Air Force during World War 2, as part of an Axis Forces effort to cut-off one of the three Allied Forces sources of oil in the Persian Gulf.
As a result of the raid, and the United States entry into WW2 from December 1941, the Royal Navy extended an invitation to the US Navy, allowing the USN to deploy a small detachment. Post-WW2, the posting was recognized as the U.S. Middle East Force from 1948, a small shore facility that provided logistical and communications support to Marine Expeditionary vessels.
In 1971, with Bahrain gaining independence from the British Empire, the permanent Royal Navy presence in Bahrain officially ended. With agreement of the Emir, the USN immediately took on the entire 10 acres (40,000 m2) site, and eight years later the location was named Administrative Support Unit (ASU) Bahrain. In an effort to more accurately reflect the increasing role of United States Navy activities in the region, the organization was renamed Administrative Support Unit Southwest Asia in 1992.
In 1997, under the aegis of the Military Construction Program, facilities located in Juffair saw an increased buildup, resulting in what is known today as Naval Support Activity Bahrain.
In 2003, facilities at NSA Bahrain began expanding after Operation Iraqi Freedom began.
In 2006, a large food court, known as the "Freedom Souq" and an expanded Navy Exchange opened, expanding morale and welfare support to service members and tenant commands.
In 2010, the Navy embarked on a five-year, $580-million project to expand the base, proposing to essentially double the size of the current 62-acre facility. The first phase of construction, targeted for completion by fall 2012, will include a new perimeter wall and security gate along with several new utility buildings. The second phase will expand the port operations with a new harbor patrol facility and include a small-craft basin. That phase began in late 2010 and is scheduled to be completed by late 2012. New barracks, a dining facility, a renovated recreation center and administrative buildings will be completed by 2015, according to the Navy's plan. The final phase will also include a flyover bridge connecting NSA Bahrain to the port facility at Mina Salman.
A US Navy Judge Advocate General Manual investigation found that misconduct, hazing, and harassment had occurred at the base's Military Working Dog Division in 2005 and 2006. The investigation stated that the unit, under the direction of Chief Master-at-Arms Michael Toussaint, had condoned gambling, fraternization, and socializing with prostitutes. Unit members were routinely harassed and humiliated. In spite of the investigation's findings, Toussaint was later promoted and remained in the Navy. Toussaint's successor in the unit, Master-at-Arms 1st Class Jennifer Valdivia, committed suicide after being informed of the report's findings. The Navy is reexamining actions taken in response to the investigation.
The Navy announced on October 21, 2009 that Toussaint had been removed from his current leadership assignment and placed in a temporary deck duty position. His request to extend his current enlistment was denied and a mandatory retirement date was set for January 2010. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus issued a “Secretarial letter of censure” on Toussaint, which was placed in the sailor’s permanent military file. Mabus stated that he would be reviewing Toussaint's retirement pay-grade determination. A Navy spokesman stated that this meant that a decision would be made as to whether Toussaint would be allowed to keep his rank and retirement pay.
- Tilghman, Andrew, "5-year NSA Bahrain expansion project begins", Navy Times, June 1, 2010.
- Tilghman, Andrew, "Report outlines security unit hazing, assault", Military Times, October 2, 2009.
- Tilghman, Andrew, "Senior chief to retire in hazing investigation", Military Times, October 21, 2009
- Shane III, Leo, "Two years later, sailor to be forced out for role in hazing scandal", Stars and Stripes, October 23, 2009.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Naval Support Activity Bahrain.|
- Official Page for U.S. Naval Forces Central Command
- Official Page for Naval Support Activity Bahrain
- "Bahrain navy gung-ho on coalition security effort for Gulf". 2007-08-02.
- U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs (2006-06-15). "NSA Bahrain Opens New NEX/MWR Complex".