By U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs
Vice Adm. Lisa M. Franchetti, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet (C6F), hosted a Task Force (TF) Commander’s Conference May 14-15, 2019 at Naval Station Rota, Spain.
The recurring event serves as a way for Franchetti and C6F Command Master Chief Johannes Gonzales, to meet face-to-face with her TF commanders and senior enlisted leaders to discuss the U.S. Navy strategy, the fleet's role in great power competition, long-term planning for operations and exercises, and enable greater synchronization across a widely dispersed fleet.
The new U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (CNE-A) fleet master chief, Fleet Master Chief Derrick Walters, also took advantage of the opportunity to meet and share his thoughts with the leaders of C6F.
“Although I see my task force commanders almost daily on video teleconferences, it's important that we meet in person at an ‘off-site’ several times a year to synchronize our thinking, strengthen our connections, and ensure we are working coherently towards the same goals,” said Franchetti. “These folks are the leadership team of my fleet, the action arm of everything we do to support CNE-A. They need to understand my commander's intent so they can carry it all the way down to the deckplates - just as I need to understand the opportunities and challenges they see from their perspectives.”
During the visit, Franchetti met with her counterpart, the Spanish fleet commander Adm. Manuel Garat Carame, and the commander of the Spanish side of Naval Station Rota, Spanish Vice Adm. Enrique Torren Pineyro.
Franchetti also spent time with the Sailors and Marines of the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Arlington (LPD 24), and the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers USS Ross (DDG 71), USS Porter (DDG 78), and USS Donald Cook (DDG 75).
“The four destroyers forward-deployed to Rota are a force multiplier and have contributed significantly to achieving our national security objectives since the arrival of the first ship in 2014,” said Franchetti. “They’ve been doing an amazing job conducting operations, exercises, and partner engagements throughout the European and African theaters, and we will continue to support and evolve our partnerships and capabilities in the region through them. It was also great to meet with the blue-green team on Arlington. They have made a substantial contribution in support of our operations in both Europe and Africa, and are always ready 24/7 to execute any task that comes their way.”
The destroyers, forward-deployed to Rota, are part of the NATO missile defense system and conduct ballistic missile defense patrols as well as exercises and operations with regional allies and partners. Arlington is currently conducting a routine deployment.
“One of the biggest wins of these visits is to see the U.S. 6th Fleet commander recognizing the Sailors aboard these ships,” said Gonzales. “They are operating at the highest level and prepared to answer all bells. Personally, when I depart from these visits, I depart with an intense feeling of pride and confidence that our teams are focusing on the parts of our profession that will continue to help us project power for peace in the theater.”
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.