By MC2 Kaila Peters, U.S. Sixth Fleet Public Affairs
U.S. Sixth Fleet (SIXTHFLT) command and control ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) and staff arrived in Istanbul, Turkey for a scheduled port visit, Nov. 1.
While in Istanbul, the ship’s crew and embarked staff will have the opportunity to participate in Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) events and experience the many sights that Istanbul offers.
"Our crew looks forward to this port visit and enhancing our relationships with our Turkish allies," said Capt. Dan Prochazka, Commanding Officer of Mount Whitney. "The visit to Istanbul allows us to experience the famous hospitality of the Turkish people and gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of their culture and history."
The ship’s presence in the Eastern Mediterranean demonstrates the U.S. Navy and NATO’s continued commitment to collective defense of the European region and reinforces the strength of the NATO alliance.
SIXTHFLT and NATO forces routinely work with their Turkish counterparts through operations and exercises in the Mediterranean and Black Seas. Working together, especially with Black Sea allies and partners, ensures security and stability in the region. This teamwork also demonstrates the U.S. and NATO’s commitment to maintaining freedom of navigation in international waters for all nations in the Black Sea.
SIXTHFLT and Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) staffs embarked the ship on Oct. 29 to increase interoperability by sharing processes and procedures. This teamwork enhances the staffs’ collective capacity to command and control high-end maritime forces.
Following this port visit, Mount Whitney will join USS Porter (DDG 78) in the Black Sea to further enhance collaboration between U.S. and NATO forces at sea. NATO allies and partners stand together to ensure a safe, stable and secure Black Sea region, building partner capacity to improve effectiveness and interoperability.
Mount Whitney, forward deployed to Gaeta, Italy operates with a combined crew of Sailors and Military Sealift Command civil service mariners in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa.
STRIKFORNATO, headquartered on Oeiras, Portugal, is Supreme Allied Commander Europe's (SACEUR) premier, rapidly deployable and flexible, maritime power projection Headquarters, capable of planning and executing full spectrum joint maritime operations, primarily through the integration of U.S. naval and amphibious forces, in order to provide assurance, deterrence, and collective defence for the Alliance.
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.