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Adm. Mark Fitzgerald, commander, Naval Forces Europe, addresses the crew of USS San Jacinto on Wednesday.The Norfolk-based guided missile cruiser was in Naples, Italy, during a routine port visit.

Adm. Mark Fitzgerald, commander, Naval Forces Europe, addresses the crew of USS San Jacinto on Wednesday.The Norfolk-based guided missile cruiser was in Naples, Italy, during a routine port visit. (Courtesy photo by David Holmes / U.S. Navy)

Adm. Mark Fitzgerald, commander, Naval Forces Europe, addresses the crew of USS San Jacinto on Wednesday.The Norfolk-based guided missile cruiser was in Naples, Italy, during a routine port visit.

Adm. Mark Fitzgerald, commander, Naval Forces Europe, addresses the crew of USS San Jacinto on Wednesday.The Norfolk-based guided missile cruiser was in Naples, Italy, during a routine port visit. (Courtesy photo by David Holmes / U.S. Navy)

Capt. Matthew Sharpe, left, commanding oficer of the USS San Jacinto, explains upgrades made to San Jacinto to Adm. Mark Fitzgerald, commander, Naval Forces Europe while touring the guided missile cruiser on Wednesday.

Capt. Matthew Sharpe, left, commanding oficer of the USS San Jacinto, explains upgrades made to San Jacinto to Adm. Mark Fitzgerald, commander, Naval Forces Europe while touring the guided missile cruiser on Wednesday. (Courtesy photo by David Holmes / U.S. Navy)

NAPLES, Italy — The new commander for Naval Forces Europe, Adm. Mark Fitzgerald, stopped by a visiting guided missile cruiser and talked about his strategic vision for the coming year.

The USS San Jacinto was in Naples on Wednesday for a port visit. The ship deployed with the USS Harry S. Truman Battle Group in November, and has since served as one of the platforms for the Navy’s Africa Partnership Station.

During an address to the crew, Fitzgerald spoke of the importance of maintaining well-established relationships in Europe, while also building new alliances.

“We’re focused south. We’re focused east,” Fitzgerald said. “We have to make sure we maintain our enduring partnerships in Europe, but we’ve got to be able to reach out and be able to prevent that next war.

“By doing this engagement that we’re doing in Africa, the Black Sea and eastern Mediterranean, we start to develop the partnerships necessary for the future.”

The goal of the African partnership is to work with West African nations to enhance their regional and maritime security. It assists with training in areas such as maritime interdiction, search and rescue, and counterterrorism, according to the Commander, Naval Forces Europe Web site.

During this deployment, the San Jacinto crew worked with the Senegalese navy on several tasks, including engineering repairs to patrol craft, and training on preventive maintenance and search and seizure exercises.

San Jacinto is now en route to the Black Sea, where it will participate in similar engagements with navies in that region.


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