By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Scott Barnes
The U.S. 6th Fleet Blue Ridge-class command and control ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) departed Lisbon, Portugal, after a scheduled port visit Oct. 25, 2019.
The visit served to embark Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) for participation in the upcoming exercise Trident Jupiter 2019. As part of the embark, U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Jason Bohm, chief of staff, STRIKFORNATO, and Royal Navy Rear Adm. Guy Robinson, deputy commander, STRIKFORNATO, and Spanish Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Andres Gacio, chief of staff operations, STRIKFORNATO, joined the crew of Mount Whitney to get underway.
Trident Jupiter 2019 is an Allied Command Transformation sponsored Command Post Exercise/Computer Assisted Exercise that serves as a venue to train and evaluate STRIKFORNATO planning for collective defense and conducting high-intensity defensive operations against a peer-state adversary, contesting NATO in all domains, within a deconflicted battlespace.
“The crew of Mount Whitney is eager to show that we can once again play a key role in such an important NATO event,” said Capt. Cassidy Norman, commanding officer of Mount Whitney.
During Trident Jupiter, Mount Whitney will act as the afloat command platform for STRIKFORNATO enabling the staff to conduct integration actions and training evolutions at sea.
“Our ability to provide multiple operation centers for a large staffs while charting our own course on the high seas provides a superb command center for a military staff such as STRIKFORNATO,” said Norman.
While in Lisbon, the United States ambassador to Portugal, Ambassador George E. Glass, visited the ship. During his visit, he toured the ship, spoke with Mount Whitney leadership, and held a small-group discussion with junior Sailors where he discussed topics including his day-to-day life as an ambassador and how he came to be in the position.
“Thank you all very much for your service,” said Glass at the end of the discussion. “I really mean that. Your visit here is a tremendous point of pride for the Portuguese people, and I hope you can get out and enjoy Lisbon.”
During the visit, the crew of Mount Whitney took liberty and participated in community relations events focusing on helping local charities. The events included helping pack care packages for the local homeless and less fortunate at Armazem do Banco de Bens Doados and cleaning at the local Ronald McDonald House.
“It felt great, like I made an impact,” said Electronics Technician 2nd Class Jonathan Green, a sailor assigned to Mount Whitney. “I feel like we helped strengthen our relationship with the Portuguese people and the community of Lisbon.”
Mount Whitney, commissioned on Jan. 16, 1971, is the U.S. 6th Fleet flagship. Homeported in Gaeta, Italy, the ship operates with a combined crew of U.S. Sailors and Military Sealift Command civil service mariners.
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.