USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- Twenty-two guests from 10 countries sponsored by the U.S. European Command (EUCOM) embarked USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) at sea for a brief tour Dec. 9.
For many of the distinguished military and civilian leaders, which included the chief of defense for Norway, the tour was their first time observing U.S. carrier operations at sea.
"The most impressive part for me was watching the orchestration that goes into making flight deck operations successful," said Lt. Gen. Van Loon, commander, 1st German/Netherland Corps, who experienced his first arrested landing in a C-2 Greyhound. "It's like a ballet, and the flight deck really gives you a good idea of how well everyone works together as a team. This can only be done if everyone is doing their part."
The tour included time on the flight deck to observe aircraft launches and recoveries, as well as tours of the bridge, primary flight control, flight deck control and the ship's hangar bay.
"Improving strategic partnerships is the No. 1 job at EUCOM - it's the core of what we do," said Rear Adm. John G. Messerschmidt, EUCOM director of Assessments and Analysis. "What better way to demonstrate our commitment to this region than to let these distinguished guests see firsthand what a Navy strike group can bring to bear?"
While in the hangar bay, the visitors had the opportunity to see Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3 aircraft up close and get a sense of the logistics, maintenance and teamwork that go into keeping each aircraft operational.
Although the visitors were impressed by the vastness of the four-acre flight deck and the technology of the aircraft that fly on and off it, the most memorable impression was that of the 4,400 crew members on board who make it all possible.
"I am impressed by the sense of power you feel on the flight deck," said Ilir Gjoni, vice chairman of the Albanian Parliament and member of the National Security Committee. "Even more impressive than the flight deck is the genuine respect you see in the way people treat each other. Throughout the ship you see people of different ranks speaking to each other with a friendliness and care that transcend ranks. I like that the captain talks to the young Sailors, and that he knows their names."
EUCOM is one of the United States' two forward-deployed geographical combatant commands, whose area of focus covers Europe, large portions of Asia, parts of the Middle East and the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans. The command is responsible for U.S. military relations with NATO and 51 countries on two continents.
From its state-of-the-art plans and operations center in Stuttgart, Germany, the command directs the operation of more than 100 thousand military and civilian personnel operations across 13 million square miles of ocean.
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.