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NEWS | Dec. 8, 2022

USS Paul Ignatius (DDG 117) arrives in Kiel, Germany

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Aaron Lau

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Ignatius (DDG 117) arrived in Kiel, Germany for a scheduled port visit, Dec. 8, 2022.

During the port visit, Paul Ignatius and her crew will refuel the ship, explore the city, connect with locals, and conduct exchanges between key leaders. This port visit allows for Paul Ignatius’ crew to strengthen interpersonal bonds with the local German population in a strategically significant Baltic Sea port city.

“We are truly excited to visit Kiel, the home of the German Navy’s Baltic Fleet. The rich tradition and skill of the German Navy’s operations here are well known and highly respected,” said Cmdr. Aaron Arky, commanding officer of Paul Ignatius. “Last week we were able to host the commanding officer of German Minesweeper FGS Dillingen as well as his Sailors onboard to begin developing personal ties that we will continue to develop in port. The resolve of the German Navy is vital in keeping the NATO Alliance stronger than ever. Our partnership has proven that we are absolutely stronger together.”

Paul Ignatius is currently in her fifth month on patrol in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations as a member of the Forward Deployed Naval Forces-Europe (FDNF-E) force. The ship began patrol on Aug. 1, 2022 and has sailed throughout the North Atlantic, Baltic Sea, and English Channel, making port stops along the way in Estonia, Latvia, Poland, the United Kingdom, and Finland.

While operating in the Baltic Sea, the ship participated in the Finnish Navy Command-led exercise Freezing Winds 22 alongside NATO Allies and partners, including the ships and personnel of Standing NATO Maritime Group (SNMG) 1. Once complete with Freezing Winds 22, the ship pulled into Helsinki, Finland for a port visit before returning to the Baltic Sea to continue conducting routine operations in the region. The ship’s presence in the Baltic has enhanced interoperability with NATO Allies and partners, promoting stability and prosperity in the region.

Four U.S. Navy destroyers, including Paul Ignatius, 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.