Middle East Logistics Command Changes Leadership

The command responsible for providing air and sea logistics to the U.S. Navy in the Middle East changed leadership today in Manama, Bahrain.

Navy Capt. Donald D. Hodge took charge of Military Sealift Command's Sealift Logistics Command Central from Navy Capt. Stephen H. Kelley, who has held the position since July 2008. Hodge reports to SEALOGCENT from Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific in Hawaii, where he served as chief of staff.

In his new role as SEALOGCENT's commander, Hodge will also serve as commander, Task Force 53 and commander, Logistics Forces, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command. In these roles, he is responsible for coordinating the air and sea delivery of people, mail, cargo, fuel, ammunition and provisions to a fleet of 40-plus U.S. and coalition ships operating in Middle Eastern waters.

"I am honored to be back in Bahrain and serving with these recognized experts in logistics," said Hodge. "SEALOGCENT and Task Force 53 have a long standing reputation for delivering the goods and I am proud to be part of that team."

Under Kelley's leadership, the command oversaw 1,100 underway replenishments at sea involving the delivery of 178 million gallons of fuel to ships in theater and 484 million gallons of fuel to Department of Defense fuel distribution depots. The command also supported more than 5,500 air logistics missions and managed a daily average of nine ships and 10 aircraft in theater. In addition, the command's aviation unit coordinated and moved more than 15,000 tons of cargo, 6,000 tons of mail and 38,000 passengers during Kelley's tour.

"The 13 months of my command here have seen many changes," said Kelley. "The shift from Gulf-centric operations to operations outside the Gulf – along with 200 percent growth in logistics in support of ships conducting counter-piracy operations – has put emphasis on our air and trucking resources in addition to our logistics force ships."

Following his tour at SEALOGCENT, Kelley will report to Naval Surface Warfare Center Dam Neck, Va., as its 25th commanding officer.

SEALOGCENT provides at-sea logistics and strategic sealift services to U.S. and coalition troops operating throughout the U.S. Central Command theater. In their strategic sealift capacity, the command is responsible for overseeing the delivery of nearly 90 percent of all cargo being used by troops operating in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Middle East.

SEALOGCENT is one of five worldwide operational commands of the Navy's Military Sealift Command. MSC operates approximately 110 noncombatant civilian-crewed ships. These ships move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners, replenish U.S. Navy and coalition ships, chart ocean bottoms, conduct specialized missions and strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world.