NATO group heads for US, Canadian coasts

Ships from NATO’s Standing Maritime Group One (SNMG1) are en route to the United States and Canada after assembling in Brest, France on August 4 to begin SNMG1’s second semester.

The group is transiting the Atlantic Ocean to start SNMG1’s Maritime Express initiative, a new construct designed to open up more opportunities for NATO partners and allies to train together.

SNMG1 includes the flagship guided-missile destroyer USS Gridley (DDG 101), the Royal Norwegian Navy Fridjof Nansen-class frigate HNoMS Thor Heyerdahl (F-314), the Belgian Navy Karel Doorman-class frigate Leopold I (F930), and the Portuguese Navy frigate NRP Francisco de Almeida (F334).

“The Atlantic, where we will be operating, is heavily important for NATO and SNMG1,” said Commander Senior Grade Alrid Skoge, commanding officer of HNoMS Thor Heyerdahl. “Our time here as SNMG1 ships is an opportunity to enhance transatlantic unity, upon which we will rely if a crisis occurs.”

“By coming together as SNMG1, we will deepen ties with allies and partners while building readiness to respond to any crisis if we are called upon as the maritime element of NATO´s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force,” said Rear Adm. Edward Cashman, commander of SNMG1.

SNMG1 is one of four standing maritime task groups composed of ships from various Allied countries. These task groups form the core maritime capabilities of NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF). They provide a continuous maritime capability to execute NATO missions across the spectrum of operations, demonstrate solidarity, and strengthen diplomatic and professional links among Allied naval forces.