U.S. allows military kids back in Bahrain

June 29, 2009 at 11:55 AM
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MANAMA, Bahrain, June 29 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy says it has lifted the 2004 order evacuating the young children of military personnel stationed in the Persian Gulf nation of Bahrain.

U.S. Central Command said the decision reflects the improvement of the security situation in Bahrain, the headquarters of the U.S. 5th Fleet.

"The return of family members of all ages is an extremely important sign of the security and stability in the region," Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, commander of Central Command's naval forces, said in a written statement. "It will also greatly improve the quality of life for our service members and Department of Defense civilians."

The Pentagon ordered military children and spouses to leave Bahrain in 2004 due to fears of terrorist attacks. Adult family members were allowed to return last year.

The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot said Monday the order will also allow the military to extend its Bahrain tours. Personnel currently spend 12 to18 months in Bahrain; however, they will be authorized to stay up to two years if they have their families with them.

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