MAYPORT, Fla. — The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68), departed Mayport, Florida, April 19, for deployment to participate in HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) Strike Group, the U.S. 2nd Fleet said in a release.
The inclusion of U.S. forces in the strike group will improve expeditionary capabilities and interoperability between NATO allies, demonstrating the United States’ commitment to the NATO alliance.
“It is an honor to sail in this elite multi-national strike group on the frontline demonstrating a fully integrated force that showcases the special relationship that our countries have,” said Cmdr. David Burkett, commanding officer of The Sullivans. “USS The Sullivans’ namesakes would be extremely proud of us as we boldly show that, we stick together!”
The ship is named after the five Sullivan brothers who died when their ship, the USS Juneau, was sunk by a Japanese submarine during the battle of Guadalcanal in World War II. It is the second Navy ship to be named after the brothers.
The Sullivans recently participated in a successful Composite Unit Training Exercise alongside the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group and the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit that included a NATO vignette and training with SEALS from an East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare Group.
The vignette, developed by Carrier Strike Group Four and Combined Joint Operations from the Sea Centre of Excellence (CJOS COE), consisted of familiarity training designed to facilitate allied maritime interoperability and integration, in practical terms using NATO procedures, messaging formats and chat capabilities.
The vignette developed and refined a clear list of interoperability requirements for future Navy force generation, and improved allied maritime command-and-control linkages.
“To ensure truly effective deterrence and defense in the North Atlantic, we need to make sure that the navies of NATO can work as one team, and that means interoperability is vital,” said Commodore Tom Guy, Royal Navy, deputy director CJOS COE. “This NATO vignette has been a great step forward in pursuing allied interoperability. CJOS COE looks forward to continuing to develop this for future deploying strike groups.”
In Oct. 2020, USS The Sullivans participated in U.K.-led exercise Joint Warrior 20-2 as part of HMS Queen Elizabeth Strike Group. The exercise provided pre-deployment opportunities for the international strike group.