By U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs
At the end of June, Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Italy, recorded the 10th episode of the podcast “On the Horizon: Navigating the European and African Theater.”
During this episode, Foggo discusses his thoughts on Memorial Day, the 75th anniversary of D-Day, and the Navy’s support to the NATO alliance through exercises Formidable Shield and Baltic Operations (BALTOPS).
Foggo began the podcast by discussing his participation in a Memorial Day ceremony at the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial, in Cambridge, England. The U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Robert “Woody” Johnson and Jonna Doolittle Hoppes, the granddaughter of Gen. Jimmy Doolittle, were both present at the ceremony.
“During the commemoration ceremony, we remembered 3,811 U.S. service members who found their final resting place in Cambridge, and on the wall of this facility there are 5,127 other names of the missing,” said Foggo.
Overall, tens of thousands of U.S. service members from World War I and World War II are buried on European soil. Numerous other flag officers also participated in commemoration ceremonies throughout Europe to honor the lives and legacy of U.S. service members who made the ultimate sacrifice in support of freedom and democracy.
“[Those remembered here] fought and stood for the same values we stand for today: individual liberty, democracy, human rights and the rule of law,” said Foggo.
In early June, Foggo traveled to Normandy, France, to attend events commemorating the 75th anniversary of Operation Overlord, the beach landings commonly known as “D-Day”.
The events remembered those who died and honored those who survived. More than 165 veterans from the landings were present at the Commonwealth War Graves in Bayeux, and Foggo was able to meet with some of them.
“To hear these stories, to read about their experiences, and to meet them at Normandy is an experience I will never forgot,” said Foggo.
Foggo joined retired Rear Adm. Frank Thorp IV, president and CEO of the U.S. Navy Memorial, to dedicate a new “Lone Sailor” statue at Utah Beach.
“The newest location [of the statue] was chosen to honor the frogmen of the Naval Combat Demolition Units and all of the men and women in the United States Navy that heroically served in Normandy and throughout the European campaign,” said Foggo. “The statue looks out to the sea as we remember those men and women that came ashore.”
Foggo ended his day at a reception aboard the Coast Guard cutter USCGC Eagle in Cherbourg, France where Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer and the U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl L. Schultz jointly announced that the Navy’s newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, DDG 132, would be named to honor Coast Guard Capt. Quentin Walsh.
Walsh served as the Coast Guard liaison officer on the staff of commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe, and in 1944, helped create plans to seize the strategic port of Cherbourg during planning for Operation Overlord.
“His leadership in securing the Cherbourg port had a profound effect on the success of the amphibious operations associated with Operation Overlord, and I am excited his legacy will live on in the future USS Quentin R. Walsh,” said Foggo.
The episode continued with a discussion about key events for the NATO alliance as it celebrates its 70th anniversary this year.
Exercise Formidable Shield 2019, led by Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO on behalf of U.S. 6th Fleet, included 13 ships, more than 10 aircraft, and approximately 3,300 personnel representing 9 countries, all taking place at the Hebrides Range off the coast of the Western Isles of Scotland. Foggo started the segment by highlighting the importance of the exercise.
“It’s quite simple. The Integrated Air and Missile Defense network provides an umbrella of protection over Europe from the threats of ballistic missiles.”
Since the exercise’s inception in 2015, the level of difficulty and complexity has grown.
“The first exercise was in 2015, and it was significant, because it was the first time we'd ever done an exo-atmospheric intercept of a ballistic missile in the European theater,” said Foggo. “Now, that was a big deal, and it remains so today, because as we see the proliferation of longer-range and more lethal weapon systems, we have to be ready for that.”
This year’s exercise included the first engagement of a supersonic target by an Aster-15 air defense missile, which was fired from the French frigate Bretagne (D 655), and the Royal Canadian Navy’s successful engagement of a supersonic target with an Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile.
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) conducted the first simultaneous defense by Standard Missile (SM) 2 and an SM-3 interceptor against both low and high-altitude targets in the European Theater.
“The nations, all of them, conducted more than 12 successful live fire engagements against subsonic, supersonic and ballistic missiles using NATO's Coordinated Command and Control Structure,” said Foggo. “We've got a whole generation of warriors now who are very capable in conducting ballistic missile defense in this theater.”
This year, Vice Adm. Andrew “Woody” Lewis, commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet, and his staff, which was recently re-established in Norfolk, conducted the 47th iteration of BALTOPS. This year’s exercise included participants from eighteen allied and partner countries and it also marked the first time the U.S. Navy’s newest fleet had operated in Europe.
“It's remarkable for a command, U.S. 2nd Fleet, in just under a year from its establishment to have led a major multinational maritime exercise,” said Foggo. “I was really pleased to have Adm. Lewis and his team come over here to the European theater.”
Foggo had first-hand knowledge of the exercise, having participated in 2015 and 2016 as the commander of U.S. 6th Fleet and the commander of Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO.
U.S. 2nd Fleet was re-established as the Navy’s response to a dynamic and changing security environment. U.S. 2nd Fleet will, when directed, conduct exercises and operations within the U.S. European Command area of responsibility as an expeditionary fleet, under the operational control of U.S. Naval Forces Europe.
“At the operational level, BALTOPS allowed participating maritime forces the opportunity to work together and train together and standardize processes and procedures,” said Foggo. “At the strategic level, this highlights the importance of the Baltic region and the critical role maritime forces play in the overall security and stability of the region and Europe.”
“On the Horizon: Navigating the European and African Theaters” is available on: Spotify, Spreaker, Sound Cloud, iTunes, and Stitcher
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U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, 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.