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NEWS | Feb. 12, 2021

U.S. Sixth Fleet Celebrates 71st Anniversary at Sea and Shore

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kaila Peters, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa / U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

U.S. Sixth Fleet, established Feb. 12, 1950, celebrates more than seven decades of support to European and African Allies and partners, promoting regional security and maritime stability in critical sea lanes, Feb 12, 2021.

Throughout the last year, U.S. Sixth Fleet conducted landmark operations and exercises throughout Europe and Africa.

Highlights of the last 12 months include: 

- In April, USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) joined the Forward Deployed Naval Forces-Europe team in Rota, as our first Aegis Baseline 9 Flight II destroyer and we bid farewell to USS Carney (DDG 64) following her circumnavigation of Africa. 

- USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams (ESB 4) shifted homeports to Souda Bay, Greece in August to support missions in Africa, including a recent port visit to Kenya.

- Maritime patrol aircraft operated alongside NATO Allies and partners throughout Europe and Africa, and maintained an ever vigilant watch throughout the maritime domain.

- USS Seawolf highlighted U.S. Sixth Fleet submarine operations while forward deployed to the region, enhancing our already robust undersea warfare capability.

- Expeditionary Sailors participated in Eurasian Mine Counter Measure Dive 2020 in Constanta, Romania with Romanian and Bulgarian forces, which improved our operational and tactical interoperability.

- USS Mount Whitney, the U.S. Sixth Fleet flag ship, celebrated its 50th birthday.    


 “For the past 71 years, Sixth Fleet Sailors, Marines, Coastguardsmen, and civilians just like you have operated in a dynamic and ever-changing security environment,” said Black. “No matter the situation, we provide credible deterrence and response options to our national decision makers.” 

The command’s maritime skills and proficiencies are honed with partners and allies by conducting more than 70 joint exercises annually, including Sea Breeze in the Black Sea, BALTOPs in the Baltic Sea, and the Express Series around the west, north, and east of Africa.

“Typically, we would celebrate with a large command wide event, but in the era of COVID-19 pandemic that just isn’t possible,” said Black. “But we still have an opportunity to pause, reflect, and be proud of the efforts each and everyone one of you have demonstrated across the region.”

C6F area of operation covers more than 100 countries and 67 percent of the world's coastline, stretching from the North Pole to Antarctica. C6F Sailors operate from bases in Rota, Spain; Sigonella, Sicily; Souda Bay, Crete; and Gaeta, Italy, while the command itself is headquartered in the maritime port of Naples, Italy. 

For 71 years, C6F has enhanced transatlantic security through support to NATO, building partnership capacity and working with partners to promote trade and freedom, stop unlawful activity at sea, and ensure enduring relationships with allies.

U.S. Sixth 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.