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This combined effort enhanced Allies’ abilities to maintain agile, capable and flexible forces in the region.
Operating under the command of Standing NATO Maritime Group 2, Méndez Núñez conducted a replenishment-at-sea with the Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ship USNS Medgar Evers (T-AKE-13), an air defense exercise with the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), a key leader engagement aboard the world's largest aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) and multiple crew familiarization “cross-deck” visits.
“Training with our Spanish ally enhances our interoperability and capabilities to ensure rapid and seamless integration now and in the future,” said Rear Adm. Erik Eslich, commander of Carrier Strike Group Twelve and the Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group. “The dynamic security environment demands that we remain ready and postured to collectively deter threats and defend the alliance.”
The GRFCSG and Spanish Navy routinely operate together. In 2022, ESPS Álvaro de Bazán (F101) sailed with the strike group during its trans-Atlantic employment and Exercise Silent Wolverine. In June 2023, Gerald R. Ford hosted Spanish distinguished visitors with Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO staff to observe flight operations and daily life while deployed.
“It is always a great opportunity for a Spanish Navy ship to train with a carrier strike group to demonstrate our high level of interoperability and common procedures, reinforcing our commitment with NATO, creating deterrence effects and therefore, contributing to have a more secure environment,” said Commander David Diaz-Caneja, commanding officer of Méndez Núñez.
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 5,000 Sailors ready to respond globally to combatant commander tasking.
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, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allies and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability throughout Europe and Africa.
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, Twitter: @Warship_78, DVIDS: www.dvids.net/CVN78 and LinkedIn at USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78).