The U.S. Navy Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), flagship of the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, arrived in Klaipeda, Lithuania for a scheduled port visit, Aug. 20, 2022. The ship’s presence in Lithuania builds on the strong and enduring relationship the United States shares with the Baltic country. Kearsarge’s visit to Klaip?da follows a previous visit to the port city by Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Gravely (DDG 107) in May 2022. While in port, ARG-MEU leadership will participate in a pier side media engagement featuring Lithuanian military and civilian leaders. Kearsarge will also host a key leader engagement aboard the ship with Lithuanian and U.S. government, civilian and military officials to express gratitude to Lithuania for the hospitality and welcome to the country.
“The Kearsarge ARG/MEU team is privileged to have the opportunity to visit the historic and beautiful city of Klaipeda, strengthening the bonds between the U.S. and the countries that call the Baltic Sea home,” said Capt. Tom Foster, commanding officer of USS Kearsarge (LHD 3). “We are extremely grateful to our Lithuanian hosts for their part in preserving the readiness and responsiveness of our units and personnel.”
During their port visit, Sailors and Marines assigned to Kearsarge will explore the rich culture Lithuania has to offer. They will have the opportunity visit the SOS Children’s Village in Klaip?da, a non-profit organization that aims to strengthen local families by offering access to essential education, nutritional and health services. Sailors and Marines will also have the opportunity to participate in a basketball tournament with the Lithuanian Navy basketball team. The Kearsarge ARG and embarked 22nd MEU, under the command and control of Task Force 61/2, consists of Kearsarge, San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Arlington (LPD 24), and Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44). Arlington and Gunston Hall are scheduled to conduct a simultaneous port visit in Riga, Latvia, Aug. 20.
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 28, Naval Beach Group 2, Assault Craft Unit 2, Assault Craft Unit 4, and Beach Master Unit 2. 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.