Friday, February 29, 2008

NASSAU ESG Enters 6th Fleet Area of Operations

The amphibious assault ship USS Nassau (LHA 4) leads a formation of ships during an Atlantic Ocean crossing of the Nassau Expeditionary Strike Group. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andrew King)

USS NASSAU, At Sea (NNS) -- Six ships from the Nassau Expeditionary Strike Group (NAS ESG) entered the 6th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) Feb. 25 as the strike group opens the first leg of its scheduled deployment.

Amphibious assault ship USS Nassau (LHA 4); amphibious transport dock USS Nashville (LPD 13); amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48); guided-missile destroyers USS Ross (DDG 71) and USS Bulkeley (DDG 84); and guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) entered the AOR. The seventh vessel of the strike group, USS Albany (SSN 753), is expected to deploy from its homeport in Norfolk at a later date.

While in the area, the NAS ESG will assist Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe (CNE) conduct the full range of maritime operations and theater security cooperation in concert with coalition, joint, interagency and other partners in order to advance security and stability in Europe and Africa. In doing so, the NAS ESG effectively becomes Commander, Task Force 62.

The NAS ESG will also support the 2008 CNE operational objectives to improve maritime safety and security in Europe and Africa; be prepared for any contingency; provide exceptional stewardship to the regional workforce and their families; advance the art and science of maritime operations; advance awareness of the harmony of partner and U.S. interests and activities; and support U.S. European Command, U.S. Africa Command and other Navy component commanders.

The strike group will further support the other tenets of the Navy's maritime strategy, which includes forward presence, deterrence, sea control, power projection, and humanitarian assistance and disaster response.

"Our Sailors and Marines are excited and ready to conduct a full range of maritime operations with our coalition and joint partners," said Capt. Robert G. Lineberry, commander, NAS ESG. "We look forward to supporting Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe, enhancing maritime security, and furthering our partnerships in Europe and Africa through participation in exercises such as Phoenix Express 2008."

Following its mission in 6th Fleet, the strike group will move on to the 5th Fleet AOR to support Maritime Security Operations (MSO) and Theater Security Cooperation efforts.

MSO helps set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment, as well as complement the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations. These operations seek to disrupt violent extremists' use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.