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By USS Normandy Public Affairs
The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), a part of the Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group, ported at Aksaz Naval Base in Marmaris, Türkiye for a regularly scheduled port visit, August 26, 2023. Porting at Aksaz Naval Base demonstrates the United States’ commitment to its NATO ally Türkiye, and offers the chance to further strengthen the U.S.-Türkiye partnership.
The port visit follows nearly a month of interoperability training with the Turkish navy, wherein vessels assigned to the Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group completed training exercises across warfare domains, to include air defense and anti-submarine warfare.
During the interoperability training, Normandy also completed a “cross pollination” or crew swap exercise with the Turkish navy frigate TCG Gökçeada (F 494). Sailors from both ships were able to interact with each other and receive first-hand experience of their counterpart’s role at sea. “After a month of rigorous training with our fellow NATO ally, Türkiye, we are happy to port at the Aksaz Naval Base in Marmaris,” said Capt. Errol A. Robinson, commanding officer, USS Normandy. “While aboard Normandy, the Turkish frigate’s sailors comported themselves well, and it was a valuable learning experience for both navies. My officers and crew are greatly looking forward to enjoying the country’s rich cultural heritage.” Normandy’s Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Committee has organized tours for the ship’s crew of several historically and culturally important sites in the region, including a tour of the Roman ruins at Ephesus, and a visit to a hamam, or traditional Turkish bathhouse. Normandy’s Sailors will also be able to participate in a community relations project while in-country, organized by the ship’s Religious Ministry Team, comprised of Lt. Brandy Brown and Religious Program Specialist 2nd Class Carrie Caton.
Normandy’s visit comes a day after USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) arrived in Antalya, Türkiye, and a week after the Blue Ridge-class command and control ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20), the flagship of U.S. Sixth Fleet, conducted a port call in Istanbul. While in Istanbul, Mount Whitney hosted the U.S. ambassador to Türkiye, Jeff Flake, and members of the Turkish media. CSG-12, Gerald R. Ford CSG, is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa area of operations, employed by U.S. Sixth Fleet to defend U.S., allied and partner interests.
Normandy is a part of the Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group (GRFCSG). The GRFCSG is comprised of Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 2, the Information Warfare Commander, and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60). The ships of DESRON-2 within the GRFCSG are the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Ramage (DDG 61), USS McFaul (DDG 74), and USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116). The squadrons of CVW-8 embarked aboard Gerald R. Ford are the “Tridents” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 9, the “Spartans” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 70, the “Bear Aces” of Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW 124), the “Ragin’ Bulls” of Strike
Fighter Squadron (VFA) 37, the “Blacklions” of (VFA-213), the “Golden Warriors” of (VFA-87), the “Tomcatters” of (VFA-31), the “Gray Wolves” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 142, and the “Rawhides” of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40. 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.