The U.S. 6th Fleet Blue Ridge-class command and control ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) departed Haifa, Israel, March 8, 2018, after a scheduled port visit in support of exercise Juniper Cobra 2018 (JC-18).
JC 18 is a joint U.S.-Israel ballistic missile defense exercise designed to enhance interoperability between U.S. and Israeli military forces.
The port visit further enhances U.S.-Israel relations as the two nations work together for a stable, secure and prosperous region.
During the port visit, Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, commander, U.S. European Command, and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, visited the ship and held a meeting with Vice Adm. Lisa Franchetti, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, and Lt. Gen. Richard Clark, commander, 3rd Air Force, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, to discuss JC 18.
Sailors and Military Sealift Command civil mariners also participated in a community relations basketball game and visited historic sights and local areas.
“I had a great time,” said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Shaquelle Moses. “I enjoyed some of the amazing sites Israel had to offer and an even better time getting to compete with some of Israel’s top basketball clubs.” Mount Whitney team played three games against the Hapoel Haifa Basket Ball Club at Leo Baeck Community Center.
Other U.S. Navy participants in exercise JC 18 include the U.S. 6th Fleet staff, Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), embarked marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64).
Recent U.S. Navy visits to Israel include Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) in November 2017, America-class amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA-6) in October 2017, Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Oscar Austin (DD 79) in August 2017, Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush in July 2017, Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) in May 2017 and San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19) in March 2017.
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.
MC3 Krystina Coffey