VALENCIA, Spain (NNS) -- The Whidbey Island-class amphibious dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) pulled in to Valencia, Spain for a scheduled port visit Dec. 29.
The visit will give Sailors the opportunity to build relations with the people of Spain while affording them a chance to enjoy the remainder of the holiday season in port.
"We're here to give our Sailors the chance to explore the countryside and learn about the Spanish culture. The local authorities here have been very supportive, and we're grateful that they've worked so hard to accommodate our visit over the holiday," said Cmdr. Thomas Ulmer, commanding officer, USS Fort McHenry. "It's a time to relax and enjoy the New Year celebrations before continuing our mission."
* This is the first in a series of scheduled port visits for Fort McHenry during a routine deployment.
* Interactions between the Sailors of Fort McHenry and Spain will help build understanding of maritime tactics, professionalism, cultural understanding and trust. Moreover, this visit helps strengthen the relationships between our two nations.
* Fort McHenry, part of the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group (ARG)/24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), is conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe.
* The ARG/MEU is also comprised of embarked Marines from the 24th MEU, the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) and the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21).
* 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.
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For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, visit www.c6f.navy.mil.