NORTH SEA –
Vice Adm. Thomas E. Ishee, commander, U.S. Sixth Fleet and Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) embarked the first-in-class aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), May 22.
Ishee visited the flagship and the supporting staffs of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 12, while the strike group is underway in the North Sea with the U.S. Ambassador to Norway Marc Nathanson, Norwegian Chief of Defense Gen. Eirik Kristoffersen, the Chief of the Royal Norwegian Navy Rear Adm. Rune Andersen, and members of the Kingdom of Norway's government and military.
"What a great day to be aboard the Gerald R. Ford with our Norwegian Allies, enhancing U.S.-Norway relations," said Ishee. "I look forward to our joint operations on NATO's northern flank, which improve interoperability, maintain freedom of navigation in international waters, deter aggression, and prepare us to defend our nations and the Alliance."
The visit occurs as U.S. Sixth Fleet and STRIKFORNATO execute exercise Formidable Shield 2023 from the High North and North Atlantic Ocean, May 8-26.
Formidable Shield demonstrates allied interoperability in a live-fire joint and combined Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) environment, using NATO command and control structures. The exercise involves 13 NATO Allied and partner nations, more than 20 ships and 35 aircraft, eight ground units consisting of radars, National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS), and High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), and approximately 4,000 personnel from across the Alliance.
For over 80 years, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with our 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.