While in Taranto, the ship will conduct a change of command ceremony, in which Cmdr. Lawrence Heyworth IV will relieve Cmdr. Greg Page as commanding officer. The ship will also assume duties as the Standing NATO Maritime Group (SNMG) 2 flagship, under command of U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Scott Sciretta.
In assuming the duties as SNMG 2 flagship, Forrest Sherman will relieve the Italian Navy Carlo Bergamini-class frigate ITS Margottini (F 592) and Rear Adm. Sciretta will relieveNavy Rear Admiral Mauro Panebianco.
“This deployment presents an opportunity to strengthen our relationships not only with the Italian Navy, but with NATO as a whole,” said Cmdr. Greg Page, commanding officer of USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98). “As the flagship for SNMG 2, the Forrest Sherman team is excited to show the world her relentless fighting spirit.”
Forrest Sherman and her crew are no strangers to the European theater. The ship deployed to the U.S. Naval Forces Europe (NAVEUR) area of operations earlier this year in support of U.S., allied and partner interests, sailing through the Eastern Atlantic Ocean, North Sea and Baltic Sea on an approximately three month deployment. The crew conducted over 200 hours of flight operations, 11 drills with NATO allies and partners, six strait transits and six replenishments-at-sea. The interoperability exercises required close coordination to conduct maneuvering operations, cross-deck flight operations, and flashing light and flag-hoist drills with navies from Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland and Sweden.
Additionally, Forrest Sherman also conducted port visits to Stockholm, Sweden, and Gdansk, Poland, underscoring the United States’ commitment to security in the Baltic Sea region. While in port Stockholm, the crew hosted Ambassador Erik Ramanathan, the U.S. Ambassador to Sweden; Rear Adm. Ewa Skoog Haslum, chief of the Swedish Navy and commander maritime component command (MCC); and several Swedish flag officers.
This deployment and the ship’s time as flagship of SNMG 2, affords the crew another opportunity to strengthen relations and interoperability with allied and partner navies in theater.
“The crew is ready to operate in the European theater and looks forward to participating in a range of maritime activities in support of NATO allies and European partners,” said Page.
In addition to preparing the ship to serve as flagship, Sailors will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of tours and embrace the culture in southern Italy, indulging in local foods, art, history and outdoor activities in Taranto. The port visit also provides the opportunity for increased interoperability among forces, while building cultural understanding and trust.
USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98) is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe area of operations, employed by U.S. Sixth Fleet, to defend U.S., allied and partner interests.
For over 80 years, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with allies and partners, leveraging a foundation of shared values to preserve security and stability.
Headquartered in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) areas of responsibility. U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF, and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.