USS Mount Whitney makes final port call before BALTOPS 2016

U.S. Navy’s amphibious command ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) arrived in Lisbon, Portugal May 24.

The ship is in port to embark Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) staff members and to refuel before heading to the Baltic Sea to participate in BALTOPS 2016.

Mount Whitney is designed to be a command and control ship and, as the U.S. 6th Fleet flagship, will serve as the operating platform for STRIKFORNATO during BALTOPS 2016.

Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO’s (STRIKFORNATO) mission is to integrate U.S. Navy and Marine Corps forces into combined NATO operations. This is the second year in-a-row they have led the exercise.

BALTOPS is an annually recurring multinational exercise designed to enhance flexibility and interoperability, as well as demonstrate resolve of allied and partner forces to defend the Baltic region.

Capt. Carlos A. Sardiello, commanding officer, USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20), said: “The crew of Mount Whitney is thrilled to be visiting beautiful Lisbon, Portugal. We appreciate the fantastic support and the cooperation with the Portuguese Navy. We look forward to continued opportunities to increase our interoperability and cooperation in areas of mutual interest.”

Also, Mount Whitney recently made history as she became the first ship of her kind to have an MV-22B Osprey land on her flight deck. The aircraft successfully executed four starboard and three port landings, and hot refueling before returning to its base.