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NEWS | Jan. 5, 2024

USS Normandy transits through the Strait of Gibraltar

The Ticonderoga-class guided missile destroyer USS Normandy, a part of the Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group (CSG) transited the Strait of Gibraltar and entered the Atlantic Ocean on Jan. 5, 2024.

Normandy entered the 6th Fleet area of operations in June 2023 to support the Ford CSG on its inaugural deployment.

Normandy and the Ford CSG worked extensively with regional allies and partners over the course of deployment to demonstrate the U.S. and NATO commitment to maritime security in Europe and Africa. In addition to conducting air defense exercises to increase interoperability with allies, Normandy and the Ford CSG provided a persistent stabilizing force in the Eastern Mediterranean following the Oct. 7, 2023 attacks on Israel by Hamas.

"Transiting the Strait of Gibraltar is a time-honored rite of passage for military and civilian mariners alike,” said Lt. Donald Luchau, ship’s navigator. “The Strait guards access to the Mediterranean Sea, one of the most significant operating areas for the U.S. Navy. With its close proximity to land, and high traffic density, bridge watch standers are tasked with the highest levels of bridge resource management, ship-handling, and navigation to undertake this important milestone."

The strait is 7.7 nautical miles wide at its narrowest point with heavy traffic consisting of ferries, merchants and fishing boats from both continents.

“I have served onboard Normandy for seven years and this will be my tenth time crossing through the Strait,” said Fire Controlman (AEGIS) 1st Class Calvin Espich. “Even though I have done it so many times, I always come up topside to watch the view.”

The Ford CSG is currently on an 8-month deployment to support maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts.

The Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group is comprised of its flagship and namesake, the Ford-class aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), Carrier Air Wing Eight (CVW-8), Destroyer Squadron Two (DESRON-2), the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG-60), and 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.