Blue Ridge Class Command Ship Commemorates Liberation of France


Sailors and Military Sealift Command (MSC) civil service mariners aboard USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20), completed a four-day port visit to Theoule Sur Mer, France, Aug. 16.

During the port visit, the crew helped commemorate the city’s liberation from Nazi occupiers during World War II. They participated in several commemorative events including an evening reception aboard Mount Whitney and an at-sea wreath-laying ceremony aboard the World War II vessel FS Hallebarde (L 9062).

During a ceremony at Croix de Lorraine (Cross of Lorraine) monument Aug. 14, Sailors and civil service mariners observed as French army veterans lined the monument, presented American and French national flags, rendered honors and escorted the official party. The ceremony honored the sacrifices of both American and French military members who fought and gave their lives during World War II.

Following the ceremony, Rear Adm. Kenneth “K. J.” Norton, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa, deputy chief of staff for strategy, resources, and plans, hosted a reception aboard Mount Whitney for local and military officials.

“The evening was truly enjoyable for the crew hosting the reception, and it was also important to strengthen our nation’s ties with our French allies,” said Lt. Scott McCarthy, Mount Whitney’s supply officer. “Events such as this foster a sense of unity between our two countries as we strive to accomplish our collective regional objectives.”

Mount Whitney is the U.S. 6th Fleet flagship and operates with a hybrid crew of U.S. Sailors and Military Sealift Command civil service mariners.

Source: navy, August 18, 2011