By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Elexia Morelos, USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Public Affairs
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Bainbridge (DDG 96) arrived in Aksaz, Turkey for a scheduled port visit, July 18, 2022.
The ship’s visit comes after several weeks of training and interoperability with the French and Italian navies, as the allied ships showcased firepower and maneuvering capabilities. The opportunity to work as a cohesive team is the latest in a steady stream of integration opportunities among the U.S. Navy’s allies and partners in the region.
“The U.S. Navy routinely operates with our NATO allies and partners to preserve peace, prosperity and stability in the region,” said Cmdr. Desmond Walker, Bainbridge’s executive officer. “USS Bainbridge’s port visit to Aksaz provides another signal that the cohesion of the alliance is as strong as ever while giving our Sailors an opportunity to experience a different culture, some of them for the very first time.”
Bainbridge’s leadership emphasized that, in addition to multi-national operations, routine port visits like these strengthen the bonds between the United States, allies, and partners. The relationship between the United States and Turkey is based on a foundation of shared values, experiences, beliefs and common interests.
“The entire crew is looking forward to visiting Turkey, a valuable NATO ally,” said Cmdr. James Hagerty, Bainbridge’s commanding officer. “This is primarily a liberty port, but we also look forward to visiting Aksaz, a Turkish Naval Base, and interacting with our Turkish counterparts.”
While strengthening diplomatic relations is a key objective of port visits, the visits also provide an opportunity for Sailors to learn about different cultures. The ship’s Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) organization ensures that Sailors get the chance to experience all that each port has to offer.
“We offer a variety of tours for the sailors ranging from ancient architectural sites, Turkish bath spa days, and diving opportunities to allow Sailors to get the most out of their time in port,” said Lt. j.g. Erin Kincade, Bainbridge’s MWR coordinator. “We want Sailors to be able to experience the cultural side of these countries while also being able to relax and enjoy some time off. Our Sailors work extremely hard while underway and they deserve every opportunity we can offer them while on land.”
Bainbridge is attached to the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HSTCSG) and is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe area of operations, employed by U.S. Sixth Fleet to defend U.S., allied and partner interests.
Additional elements of the carrier strike group include USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) commanded by Capt. Gavin Duff; the nine squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1, commanded by Capt. Patrick Hourigan; the staff and guided-missile destroyers of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 28 commanded by Capt. Todd Zenner, which have included: USS Cole (DDG 67), USS Gonzalez (DDG 66), USS Gravely (DDG 107) and USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109); and the Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56), commanded by Capt. Christopher Marvin.
For over 80 years, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with allies and partners, leveraging a foundation of shared values to preserve security and stability.
Headquartered in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) areas of responsibility. U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF, and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.
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