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US 2nd Fleet Forward Deploys for Enduring Defender 2024 > United States Navy > News

US 2nd Fleet Forward Deploys for Enduring Defender 2024 > United States Navy > News


Rear Admiral David Patchell, deputy commander of the US Second Fleet and Commander CTF North explained how major multinational exercises continue to strengthen NATO's interoperability and readiness.

“Steadfast Defender is a chance to practice, exercise, bond, build relationships and strengthen the readiness and unity that already exists,” Patchell said. “NATO is stronger than ever. This exercise represents another opportunity for more than 90,000 sailors, airmen and soldiers to work together across the alliance.”

Steadfast Defender 2024, NATO's largest exercise in decades, involves more than 90,000 troops from 31 allied countries and Sweden. The exercise will demonstrate NATO's ability to rapidly deploy forces from across the Alliance to bolster Europe's defenses. Within the CTF-N command center, there are currently eight allied countries that make up the task force, and the number of personnel will increase as the exercise progresses.

The Whidbey Island-class landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44), departed Norfolk, Va., Jan. 24, 2024 as the first tactical move of Steadfast Defender 24. Rear Admiral Benjamin Nicholson, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 2 and Vice CTF-N commander, said he is extremely proud of the work the ship has already done.

“The ship's crew have already completed several training events and represented the United States as ambassadors during a port visit to Portsmouth, England,” Nicholson said. “This exercise is about learning and teamwork. We will learn the tools and techniques to conduct future naval operations and further develop our tactics and training as a team with our allies and partners.”

CTF-North staff will conduct the full range of maritime operations in coordination with NATO allies and partners operating out of Bod Air Base.

“I am grateful to the Sailors of the US Second Fleet, ESG-2 and all of our partners who are joining us. The dedication is incredible, and you can see and you can feel the excitement, the readiness. This team is ready; ready to execute, ready to learn, ready to be creative and innovative as we go through this exercise.” Patchell said.

The US 2nd Fleet, realigned in 2018 in response to the changing global security environment, develops and employs combat-ready naval forces in multiple areas in the Atlantic and Arctic in order to provide access , deter aggression and protect the interests of the US, allies and partners.

US Navy photos and b-roll are available on DVIDS. For more information, contact [email protected].

Follow along with the exercise on social media using #steadfastdefender24




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