The U.S. Navy’s San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21), along with Marines and Sailors assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), departed Gaeta, Italy, April 25, 2018, following a scheduled port visit.
Approximately 1,100 Marines and Sailors spent four days enjoying Italian culture, touring local sites and enjoying time off the ship as part of a regularly scheduled deployment that began Feb. 7, 2018.
The port call focused on enhancing relations between the two nations by hosting events aboard the Mayport, Florida, based ship and giving back to the local community. This included a command visit with the Mayor of Gaeta, a tour given to the Italian Civil Servants aboard New York and a community service opportunity in which 20 Sailors and Marines volunteered at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial.
“I would like to sincerely thank the people of Gaeta and the rest of Latina for giving us the opportunity to visit this especially beautiful part of Italy. The hospitality felt by each and every Sailor and Marine was truly special. I, with the rest of the New York and 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit Team, will remember this port call for the rest of our lives. I would also like to thank our ally and partner, Italy, who with the United States, stands together to maintain a safe, secure and prosperous region and global security environment”, said Capt. Pete Kennedy, executive officer (XO) of USS New York.
“The time that the Marines and Sailors of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit got to spend in Gaeta, Italy, and the surrounding areas was a great opportunity to experience a new and rich culture. Many Marines and Sailors have not had the opportunity to travel around the world, and I speak for all of us when I say we will not soon forget our time in Gaeta. We are grateful to the community for providing such a warm welcome; their hospitality is first class. We look forward to future engagements with our Italian partners as we continue to seek opportunities to strengthen our maritime partnership” said Lt. Col. Christopher Timothy, XO of the 26th MEU.
On April 24, New York Commanding Officer (CO) Capt. Brent DeVore and Lt. Col. Christopher Timothy, executive officer of the 26th MEU, visited the Mayor of Gaeta, Cosimo Mitrano. The New York CO and MEU XO accepted a warm welcome and thanked the Mayor for his hospitality as the U.S. continues to form lasting relationships with its partners and allies around the globe.
During the visit, 20 Sailors and Marines volunteered at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial. The blue-green team helped to landscape the grounds in preparation for an American Memorial Day concert scheduled for next month. American Memorial Day is commemorated each year at the memorial to pay homage to those who gave their lives fighting for America and its allies.
New York’s deployment has focused on strengthening alliances and partnerships during port visits which demonstrates the shared commitment to promote safety and stability within the region, while seeking opportunities to enhance our interoperability with partners, such as Italy.
New York hosted a group of 15 Italian Civil Servants aboard for a tour during the ship’s visit to Gaeta.
New York is part of the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), which is also composed of the 26th MEU, the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) the Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51), Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 8 and FST-4, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28, Tactical Air Control Squadron (TACRON) 22, components of Naval Beach Group 2 and the embarked staff of Amphibious Squadron 4.
The 26th MEU is comprised of approximately 2,500 Marines and Sailors, and includes a command element, ground combat element, aviation combat element and logistics combat element.
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.
1st Lt. Sam Stephenson, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit