KIEL, Germany (NNS) -- Military Chaplains from NATO gathered aboard the Blue Ridge-class amphibious command ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) for a Chaplain conference hosted by U.S. 2nd Fleet, June 7.
Chaplains representing five different NATO countries, including Denmark, Germany, Poland, United Kingdom and the United States collaborated on the event. At the conference, they discussed their military chaplaincies and topics which included collaboration and communication in their respective militaries and to how to practice interoperability for mission success. This event follows a similar symposium held during last year’s exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2018 pre-sail conference in Klaipeda, Lithuania.
“Chaplains are an integral part of our command’s readiness, particularly personal resilience and spiritual strength, especially when deployed,” said Capt. Cassidy Norman, Mount Whitney’s commanding officer. “We are thrilled to have 2nd Fleet host their senior chaplains onboard the USS Mount Whitney to discuss the latest strategies for care and greater collaboration.”
Chaplain Armin Wenzel, Senior Chaplain in the German Armed Forces said, “It is an honor to be on the USS Mount Whitney and to discuss how Chaplains collaborate with each other and compare the different responses from chaplains representing 5 NATO countries.”
Vice Adm. Andrew Lewis, commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet, and overall commander of the combined task forces for BALTOPS 2019 welcomed the chaplains, emphasizing the critical role spiritual strength plays in force readiness and sustainment.
USS Mount Whitney is forward deployed to Gaeta, Italy and operates with a combined crew of U.S. Navy Sailors and Military Sealift Command civil service mariners in the Naval Forces Europe area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa.