By Petty Officer 2nd Class Collin Turner
U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/Commander
THEOULE SUR MER, France – Sailors and Military Sealift Command civil service mariners aboard USS Mount Whitney, completed a four-day port visit to Theoule Sur Mer, Aug. 16.
During the port visit the crew commemorated the city’s liberation from the invasion of Nazi Germany. Sailors and civil service mariners also took part in many commemorative events held throughout the city including an evening reception aboard Mount Whitney; an at-sea wreath-laying ceremony aboard the World War II vessel FS Hallebarde (L 9062), and a luncheon hosted by the U.S. Navy League honoring Mount Whitney’s officers, crew, and other invited guests.
“It was a very pleasant social gathering and I met several very interesting people,” said Chief Yeomen Martha Shook, during the Navy League lunch. “Overall, I felt our presence was appreciated.”
Following the lunch, Navy League members and distinguished guests were given a tour of the ship.
“Seeing all the guests aboard our ship was pretty cool,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Rodvick Campbell. “It’s great that we get to extend this invitation to so many folks and show them what the U.S. Navy is all about.”
During a ceremony at Croix de Lorraine (Cross of Lorraine) monument Aug. 14, sailors and civil service mariners observed as French army veterans lined the monument, presented American and French national flags, rendered honors and escorted the official party. The ceremony honored the sacrifices of both American and French military members who fought and gave their lives during World War II.
Following the Croix de Lorraine ceremony, Rear Adm. Kenneth “K. J.” Norton, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa, deputy chief of staff for strategy, resources, and plans, hosted a reception aboard Mount Whitney for local and military officials.
“The evening was truly enjoyable for the crew hosting the reception, and it was also important to strengthen our nation’s ties with our French allies,” said Lt. Scott McCarthy, Mount Whitney’s supply officer. “Events such as this foster a sense of unity between our two countries as we strive to accomplish our collective regional objectives.”
Mount Whitney is the U.S. 6th Fleet flagship and operates with a hybrid crew of U.S. sailors and Military Sealift Command civil service mariners.