Wednesday, June 22, 2016

US Navy's Great Green Fleet in the Med

Five ships from the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (Ike CSG) conducted port visits across Italy as part of the Great Green Fleet partnership between the U.S.-Italian navies, June 17-22.

Aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69)(Ike) and guided-missile cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56) visited Naples, while guided-missile destroyers USS Mason (DDG 87) moored in Genoa, USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) in Civitavecchia and USS Nitze (DDG 94) in Trieste.

Prior to the port visits, the ships participated in a multi-day passing exercise (PASSEX), involving units of the Italian Navy's Flotta Verde. The PASSEX highlighted energy conservation operations including short-cycle mission and recovery tanking (SMART), configuration management, trail shaft operations, steady-state transit, autopilot and minimized bleed air. It also involved a replenishment-at-sea event during which the Italian oiler ITS Etna (A5326) gave more than 15,000 gallons of advanced fuel (F76 equivalent) to Mason.

"The recent Great Green Fleet operations in the Mediterranean, along with the strike group port visits throughout Italy further highlight energy conservation technologies for both navies and emphasizes our enduring partnership with Italy," said Rear Adm. Jesse Wilson, commander, Carrier Strike Group 10.

Port visits provide a mutual and increased understanding of culture and ideology, strengthen cooperation and enhance relationships between nations.

During the port visits, each ship hosted local civilian and military officials for a reception, conducted tours and community relations events.

Sailors also took the opportunity to enjoy the rich culture of Italy.

"The moment I stepped off the ship I realized all my hard work had paid off," said Machinist's Mate Fireman Hannaniah Williams, assigned to Ike's engineering department. "I've never been outside the country before, and I was absolutely amazed by the culture. The food, the people and the city were all like something out of a magazine."

Sailors assigned to Ike and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3, embarked aboard Ike, participated in a community relations (COMREL) event at Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Hearts Preschool where Sailors cut trees, cleaned up the garden and chapel, and played with the children.

"I love working with kids," said Master-at-Arms Seaman Recruit Maria Fragale-Miller, assigned to Ike's security department. "When I heard about the COMREL, I volunteered because I could not think of a better way to spend my last day in port."

The Ike CSG is conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe.

"The Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group looks forward to continuing to foster our partnership with our counterparts in the Italian navy," said Wilson. "To further demonstrate our mutual commitment to increase energy efficiency, enabling our forces to go farther, stay longer and deliver more combat capability."