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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Aaron Lau
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Ignatius (DDG 117) arrived in Riga, Latvia for a scheduled port visit, Sept. 15, 2022.
While in port, the ship and her crew will host civilian and military leaders from throughout Latvia, providing an excellent opportunity to continue building on the strong and enduring relationship between the United States, Latvia, and other Baltic states.
Additionally, Sailors will be able to explore the city of Riga and participate in Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) tours to experience the rich culture and connect with the people of Latvia.
“Our presence in Riga serves as a physical reminder to the Latvians that we fully support the NATO alliance and the Baltic States,” said Cmdr. Aaron Arky, Paul Ignatius’ commanding officer. “I am pleased to visit a Baltic State that has shown such leadership and resolve in the region, highlighted by President Levits' visit to Ukraine this week. My crew and I look forward to our time in Latvia."
Since departing Tallinn Estonia in late August, Paul Ignatius has operated in the Baltic Sea with the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) as well as the Swedish Navy and Dutch, Portuguese, and Norwegian navies attached to NATO Allied Maritime Command’s (MARCOM) Standing NATO Maritime Group (SNMG) 1.
Paul Ignatius is the latest U.S. Navy ship to conduct a port visit in Riga, following the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) just last week and fellow destroyer USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) in July of this year.
Paul Ignatius is currently on patrol in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe (NAVEUR) area of operations as a member of the Forward Deployed Naval Forces-Europe (FDNF-E) force. She began her patrol on Aug. 1, 2022 and joined up with the Kearsarge ARG in the Baltic Sea, Aug. 30, 2022.
Four U.S. Navy destroyers are based in Rota, Spain and are assigned to Commander, Task Force 65 in support of NATO’s Integrated Air Missile Defense architecture. These FDNF-E 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.
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.