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November 3, 2019
By STRIKFORNATO Public Affairs

GAETA, Italy (NNS) – Vice Adm. Lisa M. Franchetti, commander, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) embarked the Blue Ridge-class USS Mount Whitney (LCC20) in Gaeta, Italy, Nov. 3, 2019.

Franchetti and the staff of STRIKFORNATO embarked Mount Whitney to certify as a NATO Expanded Task Force Commander during exercise TRIDENT JUPITER. The exercise will serve to train and evaluate the staff’s ability to command and control high-end joint warfare operations.

"STRIKFORNATO’s ability to embark Mount Whitney as its Command ship in a NATO exercise demonstrates our readiness to seamlessly integrate U.S. and NATO forces,” said Franchetti. "The knowledge, professionalism, and operational effectiveness of my STRIKFORNATO staff is representative of the collective capabilities of the Alliance. I look forward to testing my team in a demanding exercise environment.”

TRIDENT JUPITER brings Allied Nations together to demonstrate and assess their ability to conduct high-end NATO-level mission planning and execution.

"STRIKFORNATO and U.S. 6th Fleet serve as an integrated staff,” said British Rear Adm. Guy Robinson, deputy commander, STRIKFORNATO. "This exercise prepares NATO for a high-end fight.”

TRIDENT JUPITER 2019 is based upon a NATO Article 5 scenario developed by the NATO Joint Warfare Center.

"The crew of Mount Whitney is eager to show that we can once again play a key role in such an important NATO event,” said Capt. Cassidy Norman, commanding officer of Mount Whitney.

STRIKFORNATO, headquartered in Lisbon, Portugal, is a rapidly deployable headquarters that provides scalable command and control across the full spectrum of the Alliance’s fundamental security tasks. As part of that mission, STRIKFORNATO is responsible for integrating U.S. naval, carrier, and amphibious forces into NATO operations.

Franchetti also serves as commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, which conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and inter agency partners, to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.

Mount Whitney, commissioned on Jan. 16, 1971, is the U.S. 6th Fleet flagship. Homeported in Gaeta, Italy, the ship operates with a combined crew of U.S. Sailors and Military Sealift Command civil service mariners.

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