USS Porter, 6th Fleet test skills in Italian-led exercise
NAPLES, Italy — U.S. forces wrapped up participation Friday in the Italian navy’s largest multilateral maritime exercise, which Navy officials said focused on sharpening skills while building on decades of NATO partnership.
The destroyer USS Porter, P-8A Poseidon aircraft from Commander, Task Force 67, and the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Kanawha took part in Italy’s Mare Aperto, U.S. 6th Fleet said in a statement Friday.
The biannual exercise, also joined by France, Germany and Turkey this year, included close proximity ship handling, airborne patrols and at-sea replenishments, 6th Fleet said.
"Each multi-national exercise the crew of Porter has the ability to participate in is a chance to not only maintain security and stability in the region, but also hone our skills as mariners and warfighters," Cmdr. Christopher Petro, USS Porter commanding officer, said in a statement.
The Italian aircraft carrier Cavour and landing helicopter aircraft Garibaldi, as well as landing platform dock San Giorgio and other Italian ships joined in the exercise, 6th Fleet said. Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 flagship ITS Fasan, the Turkish navy frigate TCG Gokceada and the German tanker FGS Spessart also participated.
The biannual exercise, delayed more than 1 ½ years due to the coronavirus pandemic, took place over 24 days in the Adriatic, Ionian and Tyrrhenian seas, and the Strait of Sicily, the Italian navy said in a statement.
It included more than 4,000 personnel and two combat units of the Italian army, the statement said.