The Blue Ridge-class command and control ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) and Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) arrived in Batumi, Georgia for a scheduled port visit earlier today.
“The port visit highlights an important relationship between NATO allies and vital Black Sea partner Georgia. Georgia has been a consistent and steadfast partner in promoting peace and stability in the region,” the US Embassy to Georgia says.
Previously, USS Donald Cook conducted a port visit in Batumi in February 2021.
Legend-class Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton similarly stopped in Batumi in May 2021, after completing interoperability exercises with the Georgian Coast Guard.
“Georgia plays a critical role in maintaining security and stability in the Black Sea and is a valuable NATO partner,” said Rear Adm. James Morley, Deputy Commander, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO). “We look forward to further enhancing the relationship between NATO and our Georgian counterparts here in Batumi.”
While in Batumi, the ships’ crews will experience Georgian culture and traditions, while taking in the country’s rich history and interacting with local citizens, said the embassy.
While steaming to Batumi, Mount Whitney and Porter showed the power of joint operations by participating in the US Air Forces Europe-Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA) led Operation Castle Forge.
Castle Forge provides a dynamic, partnership-focused training opportunity in the Black Sea and demonstrates the joint force’s combined ability to respond in times of crisis with a flexible, reassuring presence.
Both ships also partook in bilateral ship maneuvering drills, communication testing, and simulated exercises with ships from the Bulgarian Navy and Turkish Navies and were escorted into Batumi by the Georgian Coast Guard.
“These maneuvers, executed in accordance with international law, highlight the professionalism and skillful seamanship of all nations involved,” said the US embassy.