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NEWS | Oct. 22, 2021

U.S. Sixth Fleet Participates in Italy’s Mare Aperto exercise

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

TYRRHENIAN SEA – The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78), U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft from Commander, Task Force 67, and the Henry J. Kaiser-class fleet replenishment oiler USNS Kanawha (T-AO 196) recently participated in the Italian-led multilateral maritime exercise Mare Aperto in the Tyrrhenian Sea.

U.S. forces worked alongside Italian, French, German and Turkish maritime forces to develop interoperability and proficiency among the NATO allies in various maritime warfare scenarios.

"It was a privilege to operate alongside our Italian allies," said Cmdr. Christopher Petro, commanding officer of USS Porter. "[In] each multi-national exercise, the crew of Porter has the ability to participate in is a chance to not only maintain security and stability in the region, but also hone our skills as mariners and warfighters."

Mare Aperto is designed to improve combined combat capability, increase operational capacity, and strengthen relationships among NATO allies and partners.

"We have completed Mare Aperto '21 and further reinforced the partnership among our NATO allies," said Cmdr. Joseph Hamilton, executive officer of USS Porter. "Mare Aperto was a fantastic opportunity to strengthen our relationship with the Italian Navy to show we are truly stronger together."

Porter strengthened this relationship by performing naval maneuvers with Italian allied ships.  The close proximity of ships operating in formation requires constant communication and professional ship handling ability. Coordinating with allied and partner navies in this fashion enhances the capabilities of both sides to operate in concert with each other and is a testament to the strength of the cooperation among navies.

CTF 67 aircraft improved combat capability among NATO allies by sharing key maritime domain awareness data while conducting airborne maritime patrols. P-8A Poseidon aircraft, assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 1, the “Screaming Eagles,” transmitted, tracked, and communicated surface contacts with the Italian frigate ITS Carabiniere (F 593). This key information sharing between NATO allies builds an accurate picture of the maritime domain, enhancing commanders’ awareness of the area of operations and enabling a faster and more informed decision-making process.

USNS Kanawha’s (T-AO 196) participation provides a capable replenishment platform for U.S. and NATO ships underway for the exercise. Kanawha is one of 15 fleet replenishment oilers operated by Military Sealift Command (MSC). These ships provide underway replenishment of fuel to U.S. Navy and NATO ally ships at sea and jet fuel for aircraft assigned to aircraft carriers.

Replenishments-at-sea are complex evolutions which require precision ship handling of highly skilled professional mariners from both of the providing and receiving ships. The ability to replenish U.S. and allied forces allows for increased on-station time to successfully accomplish maritime missions.

Italian Aircraft Carrier Cavour and Landing Helicopter Aircraft Garibaldi, as well as Landing Platform Dock San Giorgio, Auxiliary ships Vulcano and Stromboli, Destroyer Doria, Fregate Fasan, Carabiniere and Rizzo participated in the exercise, alongside many other vessels.

Vessels comprising Standing NATO Maritime Group 2, flagship ITS Fasan, the Turkish Navy frigate TCG Gokçeada (F 494) and German tanker FGS Spessart also participated in the exercise.

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, security and stability in Europe and Africa.