Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) transferred its flagship as scheduled from U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98) to U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS James E Williams (DDG 95) at Naval Station Rota. USS Forrest Sherman assumed flagship duties for SNMG2 on July 1. While operating in the Euro-Atlantic area she provided continuous maritime capability by operating throughout the Mediterranean Sea, Ionian Sea, Adriatic Sea, Aegean Sea and Tyrrhenian Sea. Her vigilance activities stretched from the Straits of Gibraltar to the Syrian Channel and as far as the northern Adriatic Sea.
“I can’t express enough how proud I am of the Sailors on board USS Forrest Sherman. They served admirably, meeting and exceeding each and every operational commitment and challenge. Their persistent presence as the flagship for an international task group served as an active deterrent to our adversaries and ensured peace and respect for national sovereignty, territorial integrity, human rights and international law. To the Sailors of Forrest Sherman and their families whose sacrifices allow them to serve, thank you,” said U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Scott Sciretta, commander of SNMG2.
USS Forrest Sherman demonstrated a high level of interoperability by serving as the flagship for a task group of 21 different rotating ships from seven NATO nations. Additionally, she led the task group as it integrated with various other Allied maritime groups to include Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two (SNMCMG2), the U.S. Navy Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HSTCSG) and George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group (GHWBCSG), the French Navy Charles De Gaulle Carrier Strike Group, the Italian Navy Cavour Carrier Strike Group and the Royal Navy HMS Albion Littoral Readiness Group. Throughout her deployment she visited nine different ports in seven countries, proudly flying the NATO flag, and serving as a visible reminder of the Alliance’s solidarity and cohesion afloat.
USS Forrest Sherman is scheduled to complete her six-month deployment and return to her homeport in Norfolk, Virginia, in the United States. USS James E. Williams is scheduled to serve as SNMG2’s flagship throughout the remainder of her deployment. As a NATO task group, SNMG2 prioritizes its mandate to enhance the collective readiness, responsiveness, deployable readiness, integration and interoperability of its forces. Its focus is on deterrence and defense against all adversaries in the maritime domain, upholding freedom of navigation, securing maritime trade routes and protecting the main lines of communication. SNMG2 is one of four Standing Naval Forces that operate under NATO Allied Maritime Command, headquartered in Northwood, United Kingdom.