Coast Guard Forces Southwest Asia Holds Change of Command

NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY, Bahrain – The command of U.S. Coast Guard forces in the Middle East supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom was transferred today at 11 a.m in a ceremony in Bahrain.

Capt. Glenn F. Grahl of Miami has commanded Coast Guard Patrol Forces Southwest Asia for more than a year, which consists of tactical control of six Coast Guard patrol boats, five U.S. Navy coastal patrol boats, a large support unit in Bahrain, a training teams in Umm Qasr, Iraq, and a Coast Guard forward operating base aboard Kuwait Naval Base. Capt. Bell held the title of commodore because of the numerous ships he had under his command.

Coast Guard units operating in the Persian Gulf play an integral role in maritime security operations in the Middle East and are helping to train numerous navies and coast guards in the Gulf Region. As part of their maritime security role, Coast Guard crews are tasked with protecting Iraq’s two oil platforms. These oil platforms are vital to ensuring security and stability in Iraq with more than 90-percent of Iraq’s gross national product generated by oil exports.

Capt. Grahl was be relieved by Capt. Matthew T. Bell, Jr., from Kodiak, Alaska. Capt. Bell is coming to Coast Guard Patrol Forces Southwest Asia after a tour at Coast Guard Pacific Area as chief of Cutter Forces. Capt. Bell has held numerous operational positions during his 22 years of service in the Coast Guard including commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley in Kodiak.

For his superior performance while serving in the Middle East, Capt. Grahl received the Legion of Merit today. According to the award citation, “Capt. Grahl championed efforts to enhance inoperability among coalition and friendly forces, increasing the safety of the maritime domain by honing an elite, adaptable and agile naval fleet.”

Capt. Grahl will be returning home to take a position at U.S. Southern Command as a Coast Guard liaison officer.

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