TALLINN, Estonia (NNS) -- Amphibious command ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) arrived in Tallinn, Estonia June 2.
The flagship is in Estonia, along with seven more ships participating in BALTOPS 2016, to conduct a pre-sail conference in preparation for the exercise kickoff June 5.
Mount Whitney is designed to be a command and control ship and, as the U.S. 6th Fleet flagship, will serve as the operating platform for Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) during BALTOPS 2016.
"The crew of the USS Mount Whitney is very pleased to visit Tallinn, Estonia and to sail, train, and operate in the Baltic Sea with U.S., NATO allies, and partner nations to improve our interoperability and cooperation, ensuring peace and stability in the Baltic Region. The Sailors and civil service mariners have trained and performed very well in 2015 and 2016; we are very proud of what they stand for and what they do." - Capt. Carlos A. Sardiello, commanding officer, USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20)
BALTOPS is an annually recurring multinational exercise designed to enhance flexibility and interoperability, as well as demonstrate resolve of allied and partner forces to defend the Baltic region. This is the 44th year of the exercise.
Striking and Support Forces NATO's (STRIKFORNATO) mission is to integrate U.S. Navy and Marine Corps forces into combined NATO operations. This is the second year in a row they have led the exercise.
Mount Whitney, forward deployed to Gaeta, Italy, operates with a combined crew of U.S. Navy Sailors and Military Sealift Command civil service mariners. The civil service mariners perform navigation, deck, engineering and supply service operations, while military personnel support communications, weapons systems and security. It is one of only two seaborne Joint Command Platforms in the U.S. Navy, both of which are forward deployed.
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.navy.mil/local/naveur/.