The Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) and embarked Marines with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) arrived in Copenhagen, Denmark, July 8, 2022, to complete a scheduled maintenance availability and to strengthen relations with a key NATO ally. The maintenance period, termed a mid-deployment voyage repair (MDVR), allows the ship to complete corrective and preventative maintenance that cannot be accomplished while at sea, and conducting the MDVR in Denmark provides a wealth of benefits to the ship and crew. Gunston Hall arrived in Copenhagen after three-and-a-half months of deployment in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe (NAVEUR) area of operations where they have participated in Northern Viking 22, Neptune Shield, Hedgehog, BALTOPS 22 and multiple interoperability exercises with allies and partners. Mid-deployment voyage repairs are used to complete repairs and maintenance to ensure the ship remains mechanically ready throughout the remainder of their time on deployment.
Sailors and Marines aboard Gunston Hall also have the opportunity to participate in recreational activities in Copenhagen, including visiting the Tivoli Gardens, Little Mermaid Statue, Rosenborg Castle, National Museum, and local botanical and zoological gardens, all while building friendships with the local population. The Kearsarge ARG and embarked 22nd MEU are under the command and control of Task Force 61/2. The ARG consists of Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3); San-Antonio class amphibious transport dock ship USS Arlington (LPD 24); and Gunston Hall. Embarked commands with the Kearsarge ARG include Amphibious Squadron SIX, 22nd MEU, Fleet Surgical Team 2, Fleet Surgical Team 4, Tactical Air Control Squadron 22, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 22, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 28, Assault Craft Unit 2, Assault Craft Unit 4, Naval Beach Group 2, and Beach Master Unit 2.
USS Gunston Hall (LSD-44) is a Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship of the United States Navy. She was the second Navy ship to be named for Gunston Hall, the Mason Neck, Virginia estate of George Mason, one of Virginia’s Revolutionary figures, and “Father of the Bill of Rights”. Gunston Hall was laid down on 26 May 1986, at the Avondale Shipyards, New Orleans, Louisiana. The ship was launched on 27 June 1987, commissioned on 22 April 1989 and assigned to Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek. Gunston Hall is currently homeported at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Virginia, and assigned to Amphibious Group 2 of the Atlantic Fleet. On 13 May 2022, Gunston Hall took part in a PASSEX training with the Finnish and Swedish navies in the northern Baltic Sea, and in June she took part in the BALTOPS 2022 exercise.
Amphibious ready groups and larger amphibious task forces provide military commanders a wide range of flexible capabilities including maritime security operations, expeditionary power projection, strike operations, forward naval presence, crisis response, sea control, deterrence, counter-terrorism, information operations, security cooperation and counter-proliferation, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. For over 80 years, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with our 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.