Friday, March 04, 2016

Mount Whitney Returns to Gaeta, Italy

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Michael Wright, USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) Public Affairs

GAETA, Italy (NNS) -- The U.S. 6th Fleet command and control ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) returned to its forward-deployed port of Gaeta, Italy, after completing a brief underway period, March 3, 2016.

 The underway included unit-level training, a port visit to Limassol, Cyprus, and hosting the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet (CNE-CNA/C6F) staff for a command post exercise.

 "Returning back to Gaeta is always a good feeling. The hard work and dedication from the crew of USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) has been exemplary, culminating in the successful execution of Juniper Cobra 2016" said Lt j.g. Jon Davis, USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) Admin officer

 This is the first extended operational period for the flagship since completing its shipyard availability period last September.

 As part of the command post exercise Juniper Cobra 2016, Mount Whitney provided communications systems support to allow the staff to execute a robust set of command and control networks.

 During the visit to Cyprus, Sailors hosted ship tours, participated in two community relations (COMREL) projects, and held a reception aboard the ship.

 Mount Whitney also participated in a joint search and rescue exercise, which tested coordination procedures with the Cypriot Coast Guard to locate and track missing persons at sea.

 Mount Whitney, forward-deployed to Gaeta, Italy, operates with a combined crew of U.S. Navy Sailors and Military Sealift Command civil service mariners. The civil service mariners perform navigation, deck, engineering and supply service operations, while military personnel support communications, weapons systems and security. It is one of only two seaborne Joint Command Platforms in the U.S. Navy, both of which are forward deployed.

 U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint, and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.