NEWS | Aug. 10, 2021

All Five FDNF-E ships salute the CTF 65 Change of Command

By U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. Sixth Fleet Public Affairs

Commander, Task Force (CTF) 65 welcomed a new commodore during a change of command ceremony at Naval Station Rota, Aug. 10, 2021.  Capt. Kyle Gantt relieved Capt. Joseph Gagliano during a waterfront ceremony presided over by Vice Adm. Gene Black, commander, U.S. Sixth Fleet.

All four CTF 65 Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers USS Arleigh Burke, (DDG 51), USS Ross (DDG 71) USS Porter (DDG 78) and USS Roosevelt (DDG 80), along with the U.S. Sixth Fleet flagship Blue Ridge-class command and control ship, USS Mount Whitney lined the waterfront to honor Gagliano’s service as commodore during a ceremony aboard Roosevelt, the 2020 Battle “E” Winner.

The ceremony was also attended by Spanish Adm. Diaz de Rio, commander, Spanish Fleet, and Capt. Carrara, Commander, 41st Frigate Squadron, host nation representatives aboard Naval Station Rota, demonstrating the relationship cultivated between the U.S. and Spanish navies.

 CTF 65, headquarter in Rota, exercises operational and tactical control of all forward deployed surface combatants operating in the U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command area of responsibility (AOR) under the direction of U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa.

“Each and every American, and our European brothers and sisters should sleep well at night, knowing that leaders like Commodore Gagliano, and the crews of his destroyers, unfailingly stand the watch.” said Black. “While in command of Task Force 65, Captain Gagliano drove his mission forward.  I pressed him hard to enhance our warfighting effectiveness and to expand the capability to control the sea and project power when ordered.“

Capt. Gagliano led from the front, commanding at sea; while Russia conducted exercises on the Ukrainian border, Gagliano commanded a two destroyer Surface Action Group in the Adriatic, providing credible deterrence to bring stability to the region.  

Under his direction, USS Carney circumnavigated Africa, reestablishing critical partnerships through historic missions of state, which only a U.S. Navy warship can do, and testing logistics capabilities to enable our support to partners and meet emerging mission requirements.

He oversaw multinational surface action group and independent U.S. ship operations in the  Barents Sea, underscoring the importance of freedom of navigation and access to the Arctic and the long reach and persistence of our ships.

Additionally, he masterfully coordinated the initial rotation of our forward deployed ships, ensuring the continued readiness and presence to support our NATO Allies and partners. He put the  two newest and most capable FDNF-E ships to work right away, sending Roosevelt into the Barents Sea and Arleigh Burke to conduct exercise Black Toro in the mid-Atlantic, developing undersea warfare capabilities with every other Sixth Fleet Task Force to conduct the most advanced theatre undersea warfare in the world.

“This assignment at Destroyer Squadron 60 and Task Force 65 has been the greates privilege of my life, said Gagliano.  I came here to lead Sailors forward deployed, who excel in the highest operational tempo in the Navy. Sailors who regularly look the adversary eye-to-eye and stand ready to fight. Then, come back here, reset over four months, and go out and do it all over again. That’s the mission I came here for.”

Gantt assumed command, after serving as Gagliano’s deputy at DESRON 60 and CTF 65.  Gantt recently oversaw Exercise Sea Breeze 21, a multi-national naval exercise cohosted by Ukraine and the U.S. in the Black Sea. 

“Thank you to the amazing Commodores who taught me the nuance of fighting destroyers as an aggregated force,” said Gantt.  “It is their investment in me, which ensures my readiness to lead commanders in combat. It their investment that ensures my readiness to assume command today.”

This is the Second CTF 65 change of command to take place in Rota, Spain after the staff homeport shifted from Naples, Italy in 2019.

CTF 65 and DESRON 60, headquartered in Rota, Spain, overseas the forward-deployed forces of U.S. Sixth Fleet’s area of operation in support of regional allies and partners as well as U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa.

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.