The Whidbey Island-class amphibious dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44), assigned to the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), arrived in Narvik, Norway for a scheduled port visit to enhance U.S.-Norway relations and build NATO Alliance cohesion, April 19, 2022.
The ship’s presence in Norway is a demonstration of the U.S. Navy’s continued commitment to the collective defense of the European region and reinforces the strong bond between the United States and Norway. It also builds upon other recent engagements between the U.S. and Norway, including USS Kearsarge’s (LHD 3) recent port visit to Tromsø, Norway, as well as training opportunities between the two nations during exercises Cold Response 22 and Northern Viking 22.
“We are thankful to the Kingdom of Norway for their hospitality and the chance to train with our Norwegian counterparts,” said Cmdr. Beth Nelson, commanding officer of USS Gunston Hall. “As part of the Kearsarge ARG/MEU team, we look forward to seeking more opportunities that strengthen U.S., Norway, and NATO Ally and Partner relationships.”
While in port in Narvik, USS Gunston Hall will off-load U.S. Marine Corps equipment and vehicles in support of a bilateral Norway training exercise strengthening the long-standing relationship between the U.S. and Norway.
In addition to the equipment offload, the crew will partake in several local tours and experience the rich culture of Norway and its citizens through visits to historical sites.
The ARG/MEU team recently departed the East Coast of the United States for a scheduled deployment in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations. The team is conducting global maritime operations and security in support of Allied and partner interests in Europe and Africa.
The Kearsarge ARG and embarked 22nd MEU are under the command and control of Task Force 61/2. The ARG consists of USS Kearsarge; the San-Antonio class amphibious transport dock ship USS Arlington (LPD 24); and the Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44).
Embarked commands with the Kearsarge ARG include Amphibious Squadron SIX, Fleet Surgical Team 2, Tactical Air Control Squadron 22, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 28, Assault Craft Unit 2, Assault Craft Unit 4, Naval Beach Group 2, Beach Master Unit 2 and the 22nd MEU.
Amphibious ready groups and larger amphibious task forces provide military commanders a wide range of flexible capabilities including maritime security operations, expeditionary power projection, strike operations, forward naval presence, crisis response, sea control, deterrence, counter-terrorism, information operations, security cooperation and counter-proliferation, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
U.S. Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests, security, and stability in Europe and Africa.