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NEWS | Jan. 5, 2024

USS Gerald R. Ford Transits the Strait of Gibraltar

By U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

The U.S. Navy’s largest and most advanced aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), and embarked staff from Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 12, transited the Strait of Gibraltar and exited the Mediterranean Sea after conducting operations in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations, Jan. 5, 2024.

Since June, Ford has conducted training, exercises, and operations in the U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command areas of responsibility in support of maritime stability and security in defense of U.S., Allied, and partner interests.

“Throughout our time in the Mediterranean, the ship and crew both performed remarkably.  Our sailors breathed life into the ship’s advanced technologies to demonstrate the extraordinary capabilities Ford-class carriers will provide to future generations,” said Capt. Rick Burgess, commanding officer of Ford.  “At the height of our readiness and proficiency, we were called to the Eastern Med, and proved to be the right ship at the right time to answer our nation’s calling.  The Gerald R. Ford is everything our nation hoped it would be, and more.”

The Strait of Gibraltar connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean and is one of the busiest waterways in the world, with approximately 300 ships crossing the Strait every day. Completing this transit and entering the Atlantic Ocean is a major milestone and one of the last scheduled operations of Gerald R. Ford’s 8-month deployment.

Gerald R. Ford is the U.S. Navy’s newest and most advanced aircraft carrier. As the first-in-class ship of Ford-class aircraft carriers, CVN 78 represents a generational leap in the U.S. Navy’s capacity to project power on a global scale. Ford-class aircraft carriers introduce 23 new technologies, including Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System, Advanced Arresting Gear and Advanced Weapons Elevators. The new systems incorporated onto Ford-class ships are designed to deliver greater lethality, survivability and joint interoperability with a 20% smaller crew than a Nimitz-class carrier, paving the way forward for naval aviation.

The Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group (GRFCSG) is conducting a scheduled deployment in U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations, demonstrating the commitment and power projection capability of the Navy’s globally deployed force. The GRFCSG provides an inherently flexible naval force capable of deploying across combatant commands to meet emerging missions, deter potential adversaries, reassure allies and partners, enhance security and guarantee the free flow of global commerce. In total, the GRFCSG is deployed with more than 5,000 Sailors across all platforms ready to respond globally to combatant commander tasking.

The Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group consists of Carrier Strike Group 12, Carrier Air Wing 8, Destroyer Squadron 2, USS Normandy (CG 60), USS Ramage (DDG 61), USS McFaul (DDG 74), and USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116).

Headquartered in Naples, Italy, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. Sixth Fleet operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) 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. Our persistent presence in Europe is in accordance with our international commitments and agreements and is necessary to reassure our Allies and Partners of our commitment to collective defense.