The Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry, with embarked elements of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, began its north-bound transit of the Dardanelles Strait, en route to the Black Sea on January 6, the US Navy said.
“USS Fort McHenry’s transit into the Black Sea reaffirms our collective resolve to Black Sea security and enhances our strong relationships with our NATO allies and partners in the region,” US Sixth Fleet commander Vice Admiral Lisa Franchetti said.
“Our routine operations in the Black Sea also demonstrate the inherent flexibility and capability of US 6th Fleet naval forces.”
The US Navy statement said that it routinely operates in the Black Sea consistent with international law, including the Montreux Convention.
During 2018, The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Ross, USS Carney and USS Porter, the Blue Ridge-class command and control ship USS Mount Whitney, the Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship USS Oak Hill with embarked elements of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, and Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport USNS Carson City, all conducted operations in the Black Sea.
Homeported at Naval Station Mayport in Florida, Fort McHenry is on a regularly scheduled deployment in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations with the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge, the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Arlington, and US Marines assigned to the 22nd MEU, headquartered in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, the Navy statement said.
“While in US 6th Fleet, the ship will conduct operations with allies and partners to advance security and stability in Europe,” the statement said.
(Photo: US Navy)