By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Drew Verbis, U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs
The Blue Ridge-class command and control ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) arrived in Lisbon, Portugal, Nov. 13, for a scheduled port visit.
The arrival supports the disembarkation of Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) who were aboard Mount Whitney to certify as a NATO Expanded Task Force Commander during exercise Trident Jupiter 2019. The exercise served to train and evaluate the staff’s ability to command and control high-end joint warfare operations.
“Exercise Trident Jupiter was the culmination of months of joint planning and coordination,” said. U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Jason Bohm, STRIKFORNATO chief of staff. “We demonstrated our ability to come work together as a joint NATO staff to plan, command and control high-end NATO forces for the defense of the Alliance.”
The exercise began and ended in Lisbon, the headquarters of STRIKFORNATO. Port visits serve to enhance regional partnerships, while embarkations like Trident Jupiter increase interoperability with NATO allies.
“Mount Whitney is proud to provide US and NATO commanders a premier maritime capability for command and control of operational level forces,” said Captain Cassidy Norman, Mount Whitney’s commanding officer. “We were honored to be the dynamic platform STRIKFORNATO needed to show that they can operate as a NATO Expanded Task Force – the highest certification they have earned in their 66 year of existence.”
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.