By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Collin Turner, USS Mount Whitney Public Affairs
BLACK SEA (NNS) -- The U.S. 6th Fleet flagship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) departed Batumi, Georgia, following a three-day port visit, Nov. 13.
"Traveling to the Black Sea is a unique opportunity, and a port visit to Georgia may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for some of our crew," said Capt. Craig Clapperton, Mount Whitney's commanding officer.
While in Batumi, Sailors had the opportunity to participate in community engagement projects, give tours of Mount Whitney, participate in numerous sporting events and engage with Georgian coast guard members during joint training evolutions.
"Having the opportunity to meet coast guardsmen from Georgia and share what we know was very exciting," said Yeoman 1st Class Chad White. "I hope that they are able to take some of this knowledge back to their unit and train others."
As part of the training, Mount Whitney Sailors and Military Sealift Command civil service mariners conducted basic hands-on demonstrations of firefighting, maneuvering, signaling and emergency action procedures. Additionally, the Georgian coast guard members participated in a leadership and ethics discussion.
"During port visits like this one, we strengthen our relationship with partner nations in many ways including military-to-military training, facilitating meetings and events between senior level diplomats, learning about one another's culture, and social and sporting events between the crew and our hosts," said Clapperton.
Wrapping up the port visit was a reception hosted by the crew of Mount Whitney as a special thank you and a sign of appreciation for the hospitality the city of Batumi had shown. The guests of honor included Richard Norland, U.S. ambassador to Georgia and the Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia, David Usupashvili.
Mount Whitney, homeported in Gaeta, Italy, is currently underway in the Black Sea in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.