The guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea (CG 58), with the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group (CSG2), transited safely through the Straits of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean Sea in the early morning of Feb. 27.
For many Sailors aboard this was their first time crossing the Atlantic Ocean and seeing another continent. Two continents actually, The Straits of Gibraltar is a narrow transit which separates Europe and Africa by seven miles at its most narrow point.
“It’s pretty exciting, I’ve never seen Europe before,” said Naval Aircrewman (Tacitical Helicopter) 2nd Class Gage Hoogveldt a search and rescue swimmer for the Spartans of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 70, which is attached to the ship. “I can’t wait for all the port visits we get to make on this deployment, and hopefully earning my 3rd warfare pin.”
Fire Controlmen 3rd Class Brittany Mehlberg, a ship’s computer technician has only been in a handful of states up to this point in her life.
“To wake up, go outside, and see Spain to my left and Morocco on my right was a surreal experience,” said Muhlberg. “I’m looking forward to taking my time to appreciate other cultures while I have the chance. I’m not somebody who wants to just fast forward to the end of the deployment.”
The Philippine Sea is underway as part of the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group (GHWBCSG). The GHWBCSG is on a scheduled deployment en route to support maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibly. With CVN 77 as the flag ship, strike group assets include the embarked squadrons of Carrier Air Wing 8, Destroyer Squadron 22 and ships USS Truxtun (DDG 103), USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) and USS Philippine Sea (CG 58).
Press Release, March 3, 2014, 2014; Image: Wikimedia