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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Elexia Morelos
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) arrived in Klaipėda, Lithuania, for a scheduled port visit, July 20, 2023.
Prior to arriving in Klaipėda, Roosevelt patrolled the Baltic Sea, sailing alongside NATO’s Standing NATO Maritime Group (SNMG) 1 flagship FGS Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (F218) and HNLMS De Zeven Provincien (F 802), underscoring the strength and interoperability of the NATO Alliance.
Roosevelt joined the enhanced vigilance activity Neptune Strike 2023-2 in mid-July, supporting the integration of U.S. and NATO Allied and partner forces to provide assurance, deterrence, and collective defense operating under control of NATO and Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO). In addition, Roosevelt also participated in a Naval Surface Fire Support exercise in partnership with the Latvian military and conducted a scheduled port visit in Helsinki, Finland, July 15-18.
While in Helsinki, the ship onloaded fuel, mail, and stores, and Sailors were able to experience the rich culture of Finland while on liberty in the local area. Roosevelt’s visit to Helsinki came on the heels of President Biden’s visit to Finland to welcome the country as the newest member to the NATO Alliance.
The current port visit to Klaipėda also comes shortly after NATO’s Vilnius Summit, hosted by Lithuania. Roosevelt’s presence in the Baltic Sea and port visits to Baltic Sea Allies demonstrates demonstrate the U.S. Navy’s commitment to working with Allies and regional partners to ensure security and stability in the region.
“Over the past nine months, Roosevelt has operated in the Baltic Sea on three separate occasions- we love it up here. The ability to operate, train, and communicate with our NATO allies in the Baltic has been extremely rewarding. We recently conducted a gunnery exercise where we shot our 5" gun onto the Skede range in Latvia using NATO spotters on the beach,” said Cmdr. J Chewning, Roosevelt’s Commanding Officer. “In addition, we just completed a port visit in Helsinki where USS Roosevelt was honored to be the first U.S. warship to visit Finland since joining NATO."
While in Klaipėda, Roosevelt will participate in the 63rd Annual Sea Festival, a festival promoting Lithuania as a maritime state and Klaipėda as a friendly and safe port city. Roosevelt will welcome locals and members of the Lithuanian military onboard for tours and a luncheon and participate in a local parade and other community events.
“We're especially excited to be back in Lithuania for Navy Day celebrations,” said Chewning. “We pulled into Klaipėda in January, and it's a real treat for the crew to visit the port twice in one year.”
Roosevelt and her crew are operating in the Baltic Sea on a scheduled deployment in the Baltic region, employed by the U.S, Sixth Fleet to defend U.S., allied and partner interests.
Roosevelt, forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, began its fifth Forward Deployed Naval Forces-Europe (FDNF-E) patrol June 27 in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe area of operations, employed by U.S. Sixth Fleet to defend U.S., allied and partner interests.
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.