USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS) -- The commander of Standing NATO Maritime Group 1, of the Royal Netherlands navy, visited the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) March 24 as the ship began its participation in a passing exercise (PASSEX) conducted March 24-25.
The purpose of the PASSEX was to demonstrate that the assets of the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group could effectively work with the SNMGs in the 6th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) to accomplish the shared goal of maintaining the safety and security of the region's sea lanes.
The SNMG 1 ships participating in the PASSEX were the Dutch frigate HNLMS De Ruyter - Commodore Ben Bekkering's flagship, the Spanish frigate ESPS Alvaro de Bazan, the German frigate FGS Rheinland-Pfalz and the Canadian frigate HMCS Charlottetown.
The Standing NATO Maritime Groups, of which there are two, are a multinational, integrated maritime force made up of vessels from various allied countries. These vessels are permanently available to NATO to perform different tasks ranging from participating in exercises to actually intervening in operational missions.
These groups provide NATO with a continuous maritime capability for NATO Response Force (NRF) operations, non-NRF operations and other activities in peacetime and in periods of crisis and conflict. They also help to establish Alliance presence, demonstrate solidarity, conduct routine diplomatic visits to different countries, support transformation and provide a variety of maritime military capabilities to ongoing missions.
While aboard Enterprise, Bekkering met with Rear Adm. Walter E. Carter, commander, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group, and briefly toured the United States' first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, currently on its 22nd and final deployment.
Enterprise and the rest of the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group are deployed to support maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility.
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