HALIFAX, Nova Scotia
U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Gridley (DDG 101) joined allies from Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) in a scheduled port visit to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Sept. 5-6, before exercise Cutlass Fury 2019, hosted by the Royal Canadian Navy.
SNMG1 also includes Royal Norwegian Navy frigate HNoMS Thor Heyerdahl (F-314), Belgian Navy frigate Leopold I (F930), Portuguese Navy frigate NRP D. Francisco de Almeida (F334) and Royal Netherlands Navy frigate HNLMS Van Speijk (F 828).
“It was a pleasure for SNMG1 to visit Halifax as we prepared to participate in the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN)-hosted exercise Cutlass Fury 2019,” said Rear Adm. Edward Cashman, commander of SNMG1.
“SNMG1’s primary mission is to deter conflict and preserve security by serving as the core maritime contribution to NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF)," Cashman said. "The group provides NATO with maritime capability to quickly respond to crisis or contingency where needed.
"Our participation in Cutlass Fury supports that mission by enabling us to build and maintain readiness across the spectrum of operations and giving us the opportunity to integrate with the RCN, so that we could quickly respond and operate together if needed," Cashman continued. "We appreciate the warm welcome we received from the people of Halifax; we only wish that our visit could have been longer.”
To avoid potential rough weather in Halifax Harbor resulting from Hurricane Dorian, most ships participating in Cutlass Fury 2019 departed port two days earlier than planned. Going to sea and maneuvering to avoid bad weather generally reduces the risk of damage to ships and equipment.
SNMG1 participated in several events during the group’s short time in Halifax, including a reception hosted by the Royal Canadian Navy aboard the Royal Canadian Navy frigate HMCS Ville De Quebec (FFH 332) on Thursday, Sept. 5, and planning meetings for the exercise held prior to the ships’ departures on Friday, Sept. 6.
“It was exciting to see the Halifax regional municipality and the Canadian navy on the east coast essentially ‘show off’ to quite a number of sailors and ships who are all part of a close alliance,” said RCN Lt. Cmdr. Allan Wilson, the staff above-water warfare officer for SNMG1. “This visit was an opportunity for the city, people and our forces to appreciate the value of having us here.
"The east coast is known for its tremendous hospitality, and it was on full display during our time here," Wilson said. "As a Canadian, I’m really proud of the work they put in to creating a great port visit.”
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.
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