NATO and US Navy conclude Neptune Strike 2022

Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) and US Sixth Fleet (SIXTHFLT) concluded the NATO-led activity Neptune Strike 2022 on 4 February.

The vigilance activity marked the accomplishment of the long-planned transfer of authority of command and control of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (CSG) to the NATO Alliance.

The activity kicked off on 24 January from the Adriatic Sea, involving missions at sea and in the air across most of Europe, supporting both Allied Joint Force Command Naples and Brunssum. The nearly 2-week activity demonstrated NATO’s ability to integrate the high-end maritime warfare capabilities of a carrier strike group to support the defense of the Alliance.

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The Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe coordinated the activity, integrating NATO Allied Maritime Command and NATO Allied Air Command, while STRIKFORNATO executed command and control of Neptune Strike 22 from USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20), the SIXTHFLT and Commander STRIKFORNATO’s flagship.

“The … work accomplished by SIXTHFLT and STRIKFORNATO staffs highlights NATO’s ability to rapidly bring together high-end maritime combat power in support of the Alliance,” said Vice Adm. Gene Black, commander, SIXTHFLT and STRIKFORNATO.

STRIKFORNATO led a maritime force composed of two carriers, 15 ships and approximately 90 aircraft, including forces from the Harry S. Truman CSG, the Italian Navy CAVOUR CSG, Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 and Mine Counter Measure Group 2.

Overall, forces and personnel from 28 NATO countries participated in Neptune Strike.

“Neptune Strike 22 levered the combat power of a U.S. carrier strike group, promoted interoperability with Allies and allowed operators to train on NATO networks, train to NATO procedures and become familiar with operating in the European Theatre,” said Rear Adm. James Morley, STRIKFORNATO’s Deputy Commander.

Photo: NATO