Amphibious Dock-Landing Ship USS Fort McHenry Departs Albania

The amphibious dock-landing ship USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) departed Durres, Albania, following a five-day port visit, Nov. 1.

While in port, the ship hosted government and military officials from the United States and Albania, and also conducted joint training and operations with personnel from Albania’s boarding team.

“We have been able to conduct tours of scenic countryside, host senior military and civilian authorities aboard, participate in theater security cooperation events with the Albanian coast guard, navy, border patrol and customs organizations, and our Marines participated in training exercises in Zall-Herr with the Albanian commandos,” said Cmdr. Eric Kellum, Fort McHenry executive officer.

During the visit, the ship conducted a simulated boarding utilizing Fort McHenry’s small boat and one of the embarked landing craft.

“It was a great learning experience to share with another country what we do as a boarding team,” said Chief Boatswain’s Mate Louis Peters. “Being able to share our training and knowledge with the Albanians was very exciting for our team.”

Fort McHenry also built ties with foreign nations through tours conducted aboard the ship. Officials from the U.S. Embassy and Albania came aboard and learned a little about the ship’s mission and capabilities, and those of the embarked Security Cooperation Task Force.

“It has been truly an honor and privilege to visit Albania,” said Kellum. “To be here a month before their 100th year celebration of their independence, makes the experience all the more exciting. Albania has an incredibly rich culture and extremely warm and friendly people.”

Fort McHenry, homeported out of Little Creek, Va., is on a scheduled deployment in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet Area of Responsibility.

Naval Today Staff,November 4, 2012