STRAIT OF HORMUZ — The U.S. 5th Fleet commander transited the Strait of Hormuz aboard guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60) with naval counterparts from France and the United Kingdom, May 19.

Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces, visited crewmembers as the U.S. Navy increases the rotation of ships and aircraft patrolling the strategic maritime chokepoint.

Cooper was joined by Joint Commander of the French Forces Deployed in the Indian Ocean Vice Adm. Emmanuel Slaars, and United Kingdom Maritime Component Commander Commodore Philip Dennis. While aboard, the leaders met with Paul Hamilton leadership, observed patrol operations and thanked crewmembers for their efforts.

“The Paul Hamilton team is doing remarkable work as we step up our patrols with regional allies and partners,” said Cooper. “This effort is about enhancing our collective vigilance and presence.”

During the transit through the narrow strait, Paul Hamilton and UK Royal Navy frigate HMS Lancaster (F 229) passed one another as Cooper, Slaars and Dennis observed. Lancaster arrived in the region last year and recently seized 3,000 kilograms of hashish worth $6 million from a fishing vessel transiting the Arabian Sea, May 8.

Paul Hamilton has been operating in the Middle East since February after departing its San Diego homeport in January.

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