Warship 78 & Friends

As we’ve covered in past posts, the Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group (GRFCSG) is in the Atlantic Ocean on its inaugural (albeit short) deployment, “conducting training and operations alongside NATO Allies and partners to enhance integration for future operations and demonstrate the U.S. Navy’s commitment to a peaceful, stable and conflict-free Atlantic region.”

In other words, showing that NATO muscle to Putin and associates as the Old World heads into the grips of what all signs point to being a very rough winter.

With most of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8 aboard, Ford looks great.

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Nov. 7, 2022) An MH-60S Knighthawk, attached to the “Tridents” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 9, prepares to land on the flight deck of the first-in-class aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), Nov. 7, 2022. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jackson Adkins). VIRIN: 221107-N-TL968-2645

Alongside, Ford is cruising with the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116) and USS McFaul (DDG 74) with the aging-but-still-beautiful Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) as her main consort.

As part of Exercise Silent Wolverine “a U.S.-led, combined training exercise that tests Ford-class aircraft carrier capabilities through integrated high-end naval warfare scenarios alongside participating allies in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean,” the GRFCSG has been steaming with an Allied six-pack of escorts including the Danish frigate HDMS Peter Willemoes (FFH 362), the Canadian frigate HMCS Montreal (FFH 336), the Spanish frigate Álvaro de Bazán (F 101), the Dutch frigates HNLMS De Zeven Povincien (F 802) and HNLMS Van Amstel (F 831), as well as the French frigate FS Chevalier Paul (D 621).

Besides pass-exs and drills, GRFCSG is executing a Sailor-exchange program with Sailors of all ranks across the strike group, spending a day aboard Allied ships to build interoperability and maximize their time with the six Allied ships steaming with GRFCSG.

Heck, Ford even has a Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm aviator on exchange, pushing F-18s off her deck.

221112-N-DN657-1160 ATLANTIC OCEAN (Nov. 12, 2022) Lt. Cmdr. Thomas Sharp, a British exchange officer assigned to the “Golden Warriors” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 87, conducts his final carrier landing on the first-in-class aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN 78) flight deck, Nov. 12, 2022. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Zack Guth) VIRIN: 221112-N-DN657-1160

Either way, though, it is refreshing to see arguably the world’s most advanced supercarrier flanked by nine escorts including a half-dozen supplied by long-time allies.

Of special interest is the use of extra large ensigns in the photo-ex to include the battle flags of Hudner and Normandy as well as “Warship 78’s” own blue and yellow ship’s pennant.

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 25, 2022) The first-in-class aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) flies its battle flag while steaming in formation with German frigate FGS Hessen (F 221), Dutch frigate HNLMS Van Amstel (F 831), and Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), Oct. 25, 2022. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Zack Guth). VIRIN: 221025-N-DN657-1130

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Nov. 7, 2022) The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), the Danish frigate HDMS Peter Willemoes (FFH 362), the Canadian frigate HMCS Montreal (FFH 336) and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116) steam in the Atlantic Ocean in formation, Nov. 7, 2022. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Zack Guth). VIRIN: 221107-N-DN657-1114

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Nov. 7, 2022) The first-in-class aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) steams in the Atlantic Ocean in formation with the Spanish Armada frigate Álvaro de Bazán (F 101), the German frigate FGS Hessen (F 221), the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), the Danish frigate HDMS Peter Willemoes (FFH 362), the Canadian frigate HMCS Montreal (FFH 337), and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116), Nov. 7, 2022. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jackson Adkins). VIRIN: 221107-N-TL968-2188

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Nov. 7, 2022) The first-in-class aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) steams in the Atlantic Ocean in formation with the German frigate FGS Hessen (F 221), Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), Danish frigate HDMS Peter Willemoes (FFH 362), Canadian frigate HMCS Montreal (FFH 336), Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116), Spanish Armada frigate Álvaro de Bazán (F 101), Dutch frigate HNLMS De Zeven Provincien (F 802), French frigate FS Chevalier Paul (D 621), Dutch frigate HNLMS Van Amstel (F 831) and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS McFaul (DDG 74), Nov. 7, 2022. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jacob Mattingly) VIRIN: 221107-N-HJ055-2447

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