Standing NATO Maritime Group TWO (SNMG2) and Standing NATO Mine-Countermeasures Group TWO (SNMCMG2) met on Wednesday, 30 October 2013, for a joint training opportunity at sea near Crete, Greece.
Both Groups have been operating in the Mediterranean in support of the counter-terrorism Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR (OAE), demonstrating NATO’s resolve to help deter, defend, disrupt and protect against terrorism.
COMSNMG2 Rear Admiral Eugenio Diaz del Rio welcomed aboard his flagship COMSNMCMG2 Commander Matthias Seipel for a brief meeting, discussing ongoing NATO operations and observing the combined twelve ships from eight different countries operating together.
SNMG2 presently consisting of the frigates ESPS ALVARO DE BAZAN (Spain), FGS SACHSEN (Germany), TCG SALIHREIS (Turkey), ITS GRECALE (Italy), ROS REGINA MARIA (Romania), BGS DRAZKI (Bulgaria) and URS TERNOPIL (Ukraine).
SNMCMG2 consisting of the mine hunters FGS MOSEL and FGS ROTTWEIL (Germany), TCG ERDEMLI (Turkey), ITS CROTONE (Italy) and HMS PENZANCE (United Kingdom).
For four hours, the two Groups steamed in close formation while conducting an air defence exercise (ADEX) and a series of tactical manoeuvring exercises (MISCEX).
“It was an exciting and spectacular sight to see and be a part of,” exclaimed Lieutenant Commander Ignacio Nieto, SNMG2 Plans Officer, echoing the sentiments of many of the participants.
The SNMG2 flagship helicopter (TORO) was airborne for most of the morning, and conducted the first two landings of the deployment aboard SNMCMG2 flagship FGS MOSEL, providing an excellent opportunity for training of MOSEL’s Flight Deck Officer and crew.
“It was impressive to see all these units sailing together,” said Seipel. “This was a powerful demonstration of mutual integration, as MOSEL and the mine counter-measures vessels operated professionally in close quarters with the Group of frigates.”
Upon completion of the meeting of the two NATO Group commanders, Seipel returned to his flagship, and the two Groups departed the area to resume their support to counter-terrorism operations.
Press Release, November 1, 2013; Image: NATO ACO