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This port visit is the capital ship’s first stop while deployed to the U.S. Naval Forces Europe (NAVEUR) area of operations and provides an opportunity to enhance U.S.-Norway partnership, marking the first time a U.S. aircraft carrier has visited Norway in 65 years.
During his visit to the ship Monday, Defense Minister Bjørn Arild Gram said, “This is Norway’s security. It is a clear expression of the security guarantees we have through NATO, not least the close cooperation and partnership we have with the United States.”
Prior to arriving, the Gerald R. Ford Strike Group (GRFCSG) integrated His Norwegian Majesty’s Ship (HNoMS) Roald Amundsen (F311) as the GRFCSG Surface Warfare Commander, building collective operational experience at-sea and showcasing a powerful display of the U.S. Navy and Royal Norwegian Navy’s interoperability.
The Royal Norwegian Navy routinely integrates with U.S. Carrier Strike Groups. In late 2021-2022, the HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen (F310) conducted a cooperative deployment with the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group to the NAVEUR area of operations in support of maritime security and stability in international waters.
“Norway is a strategic partner in the continued efforts to maintain a secure and stable Arctic and North Atlantic region that benefits global order,” said Rear Adm. Erik J. Eslich, Commander, Carrier Strike Group 12. “We are committed to our NATO Ally and fostering our strong relationship built on a foundation of shared values, experiences, and vision.”
During the visit to Oslo, the ship will host local officials and key leaders for a reception to honor the U.S.-Norway relationship. Additionally, Sailors will experience the rich heritage of Oslo through community relations events and have the opportunity to visit popular cultural and historical landmarks around the city.
“It is an honor, joy, and thrill to visit Oslo and show our cherished partner the Navy’s newest class of aircraft carriers,” said Capt. Rick Burgess, Gerald R. Ford’s commanding officer. “The crew is beyond excited for this opportunity to serve on the first U.S. aircraft carrier to make this historic visit to Norway in 65 years.”
Gerald R. Ford deployed from Norfolk, Virginia on May 2 and has been conducting joint and combined training, exercises, and operations to help reduce maritime security risks associated with increased activity in the high north. The Gerald R. Ford CSG sailed along-side NATO’s Standing NATO Maritime Group One for several days since NATO allies and partners take every opportunity to train together to refine tactics, techniques, and procedures to increase interoperability.
Gerald R. Ford is the U.S. Navy’s newest and most advanced aircraft carrier. As the first-in-class ship of Ford-class aircraft carriers, CVN 78 represents a generational leap in the U.S. Navy’s capacity to project power on a global scale. Ford-class aircraft carriers introduce 23 new technologies, including Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System, Advanced Arresting Gear and Advanced Weapons Elevators. The new systems incorporated onto Ford-class ships are designed to deliver greater lethality, survivability and joint interoperability with a 20% smaller crew than a Nimitz-class carrier, paving the way forward for naval aviation.
The Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group (GRFCSG) is conducting a scheduled deployment in U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations, demonstrating the commitment and power projection capability of the Navy’s globally deployed force. The GRFCSG provides an inherently flexible naval force capable of deploying across combatant commands to meet emerging missions, deter potential adversaries, reassure allies and partners, enhance security and guarantee the free flow of global commerce. In total, the GRFCSG is deployed with more than 6,000 Sailors across all platforms ready to respond globally to combatant commander tasking.
The Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group consists of Carrier Strike Group 12, Carrier Air Wing 8, Destroyer Squadron 2, USS Normandy (CG 60), USS McFaul (DDG 74), USS Ramage (DDG 61) and USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116).
Headquartered in Naples, Italy, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. Sixth Fleet operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) 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. Our persistent presence in Europe is in accordance with our international commitments and agreements and is necessary to reassure our Allies and Partners of our commitment to collective defense.
For more information about the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), visit https://www.airlant.usff.navy.mil/cvn78/ and follow along on Facebook: @USSGeraldRFord, Instagram: @cvn78_grford, Twitter: @Warship_78, DVIDS www.dvids.net/CVN78 and LinkedIn at USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78).