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Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS041220-05
Release Date: 12/20/2004 10:34:00 AM

From Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet Public Affairs

NORFOLK, VA (NNS) -- More than 300 Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Mahan (DDG 72) returned to their homeport of Norfolk, Va., Dec. 18, following a two-month surge deployment in support of Standing Naval Forces Mediterranean (STANAVFORMED).

Mahan deployed alongside the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (CSG) Oct. 13. The ship surged to join NATO forces in support of Operation Active Endeavor in the eastern Mediterranean. Under the Navy's Fleet Response Plan, the ship was ready and able to meet the important mission.

"It really demonstrates the ability of the ship to be ready to participate in the Fleet Response Plan," said Cmdr. Charles W. Wylder, Mahan's commanding officer. "We get ready, stay ready and if we're needed, we can go."

During STANAVFORMED operations in the eastern and central Mediterranean Sea, Mahan, along with Greek warship and STANAVFORMED flagship, HS Bouboulina (F 463), conducted an exercise with Russian Federation warships Smetlivy (SY 445) and Pytlivy (SY 820) in Taranto Bay, Italy. The four ships took part in a one-day exercise specifically requested by the Russian Federation in an effort to begin the long familiarization process of their navy with NATO naval procedures Nov. 26. The training that takes place while ships meet in passage, or PASSEX, consisted of basic communication and maneuvering exercises and marked the beginning of future joint operations with the Russian fleet.

"The United States has made a commitment to our NATO allies, in particular Standing Naval Forces, Mediterranean, that a U.S. ship will be present for that operation. I'm proud Mahan was able to provide that presence," Wylder said.

NATO's STANAVFORMED was activated April 30, 1992, in Naples, Italy. STANAVFORMED provides a continuous maritime presence and thus is a constant and visible reminder of the solidarity and cohesiveness of the Alliance. Standing Naval Force Mediterranean is currently operating in support of the global war on terrorism by providing maritime presence. More information can be found by visiting www.afsouth.nato.int/JFCN_Factsheets/STANAVFORMED.

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