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By U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa / U.S. Sixth Fleet Public Affairs
The Blue Ridge-class command and control ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20), flagship of U.S. Sixth Fleet (SIXTHFLT), and the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) arrived in Constanta, Romania for a scheduled port visit, Nov. 12, 2021.
The ships’ presence in the Black Sea 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. As a valued NATO ally, Romania supports the Black Sea region and NATO allies and partners in ensuring security and stability in the region.
“Romania has long been a close friend of the U.S. Navy and Sixth Fleet,” said Rear Adm. Anthony Carullo, U.S. Sixth Fleet Director of Maritime Operations. “We look forward to this port visit and to building upon the strong relationship we share with our Romanian allies.”
This is the third port visit Mount Whitney has conducted since getting underway from Gaeta, Italy, Oct. 29. A combined staff of SIXTHFLT leadership, including commanders of multiple Task Forces, and Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) are embarked to operate as an integrated team. Previous port calls include Istanbul, Turkey, and Batumi, Georgia.
This is the second port visit for Porter in the region, following their port visit to Batumi.
While conducting routine operations the Black Sea, Mount Whitney and Porter have trained and operated in a variety of joint and multilateral environments. Earlier this month, they participated in Operation Castle Forge, a U.S. Air Forces Europe-Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA) led multinational training event that demonstrated Agile Combat Employment. Castle Forge highlighted the joint force’s combined ability to respond with a flexible, reassuring presence when called upon.
The ships also sailed in formation with allies and partners on multiple occasions, demonstrating NATO’s commitment to maintaining freedom of navigation in international waters for all nations.
“Taking the U.S. Sixth Fleet flagship into the Black Sea and showing the power of partnership with our friends here has been a rewarding and fulfilling experience,” said Capt. Dan “Prozac” Prochazka, commanding officer of Mount Whitney. “My crew and the embarked combined staff have received the opportunity to hone their skills as individuals and as a team while building relationships with our allies and partners in the region.”
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.
Porter is one of four U.S. Navy destroyers based in Rota, Spain, and assigned to Commander, Task Force 65 in support of NATO’s Integrated Air Missile Defense architecture. These Forward-Deployed Naval Forces-Europe ships have the flexibility to operate throughout the waters of Europe and Africa, from the Cape of Good Hope to the Arctic Circle, demonstrating their mastery of the maritime domain.
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.