The U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), embarked staff from Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 12, and Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Ramage (DDG 61), arrived in Trieste, Italy for a scheduled port visit, Sept. 17, 2023.
This port visit is Gerald R. Ford’s fifth stop while deployed to the U.S. Naval Forces Europe (NAVEUR) area of operations, and provides an opportunity to enhance the strong partnership between the U.S. and Italy.
In the past four months the Gerald R. Ford Strike Group has executed numerous bilateral exercises and training events with the Italian Navy to enhance and demonstrate the U.S. commitment to security in the Mediterranean. In addition, both navies conducted personnel transfers to learn from one another and increase operational interoperability and understanding.
“The Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group has operated with our Italian partners throughout our time in the Mediterranean,” said Rear Adm. Erik J. Eslich, Commander, Carrier Strike Group 12. “The interoperability between our forces continues to improve our understanding of our collective capabilities and fosters stability and security in the region.”
Before arriving in Trieste, Gerald R. Ford hosted key military leaders aboard to observe the first-in-class aircraft carrier’s operations at sea. Guests experienced firsthand the Gerald R. Ford’s capabilities, witnessing the launch and recovery of embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8 aircraft from the flight deck, touring the ship’s aircraft maintenance repair facilities, and meeting with GRFCSG Sailors and leadership.
“This visit is a great opportunity for the Sailors of USS Gerald R. Ford, Carrier Strike Group 12, Carrier Air Wing 8, and Destroyer Squadron 2 to engage with a key ally on a personal level and experience Italian culture,” said Gerald R. Ford Commanding Officer Capt. Rick Burgess. “Our crew is excited to engage with the local community and give back to the city hosting us by participating in a city clean-up event.”
Gerald R. Ford is anchored off the coast of Trieste and will host local officials and military leaders for a lunch and tour to celebrate the strong, extensive alliance between the U.S. and Italy. The port call also provides Gerald R. Ford Sailors the opportunity to experience Italy’s and the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region’s rich history and culture.
“The Carrier Strike Group remains the cornerstone of the US Navy’s forward presence through sea control and power projection,” said Cmdr. Tim Yuhas, commanding officer of Ramage. “It’s a privilege for us, as one of the Gerald R. Ford’s escorts, to be a part of this visit which recognizes the important role of our alliance with Italy and NATO.”
The Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group (GRFCSG) is conducting a scheduled deployment in U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations, demonstrating the commitment and power projection capability of the Navy’s globally deployed force. The GRFCSG provides an inherently flexible naval force capable of deploying across combatant commands to meet emerging missions, deter potential adversaries, reassure allies and partners, enhance security and guarantee the free flow of global commerce. In total, the GRFCSG is deployed with more than 5,000 Sailors across all platforms ready to respond globally to combatant commander tasking.
The Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group consists of Carrier Strike Group 12, Carrier Air Wing 8, Destroyer Squadron 2, USS Normandy (CG 60), USS Ramage (DDG 61), USS McFaul (DDG 74), and USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116).