The U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Gridley (DDG 101) returned to its homeport of Naval Station Everett, Washington, Jan. 21, following an independent deployment to the U.S. 2nd and 6th Fleet areas of operation.
Gridley served as the Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) flagship, a maritime task group composed of ships from various NATO member countries including Norway, Portugal, Netherlands and Belgium. SNMG1 provided presence, increased readiness and showed unity on the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, North Sea and Norwegian Sea. This was the first time Gridley served as a flagship for a NATO mission.
“USS Gridley performed superbly as Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 flagship from July to December 2019,” said U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Edward Cashman, commander of SNMG1 aboard Gridley. “The crew’s expertise, dedication, and professionalism ensured the readiness of SNMG1, strengthened relationships, and improved interoperability with our allies. It was an honor and a pleasure to serve with the fantastic young men and women onboard Gridley.”
Gridley conducted numerous multilateral operations, including participation in exercise Cutlass Fury 2019, Canada’s largest naval exercise, with personnel and assets from Canada, United Kingdom and Denmark, and exercise Dynamic Mariner/Flotex-19 with Albania, Bulgaria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Turkey and United Kingdom. Dynamic Mariner/Flotex-19 tested NATO’s Response Force Maritime Component and interoperability with NATO forces, enhancing flexibility and interoperability amongst allied nations.
“It was an honor to lead the Gridley crew through this unique deployment,” said Cmdr. Joel Uzarski, Gridley’s commanding officer. “U.S. alliances are critical to ensuring maritime security and stability, and the Gridley crew demonstrated their ability to work cohesively with other nations, and strengthened partnerships over the last seven months. We are excited and look forward to reconnecting with family and friends back home after a very successful deployment.”
Gridley covered approximately 39,000 nautical miles over the course of its deployment operating in support of NATO’s maritime commander’s high-readiness response force.
SNMG1 is one of four standing maritime task groups composed of ships from various allied countries. The task groups form the core maritime capabilities of NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF). They provide a continuous maritime capability to execute NATO missions across the spectrum of operations, demonstrate solidarity, and strengthen diplomatic and professional links among allied naval forces.
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