Adm. Mark Ferguson, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, visited the U.S. 6th Fleet command and control ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) in Gaeta, July 25, for the first since taking command.
During an all-hands call with Sailors, Ferguson expressed his appreciation and gratitude for the hard work they do on a daily basis. He also said he plans to spend more time with the crew in the near future.
“The missions that Mount Whitney conducts are important,” said Ferguson. “I am proud of each and every one of you.”
While onboard, Ferguson toured department spaces, had a brief lunch with the ship’s Commanding Officer, Capt. Mark Colombo, and pinned two Sailors with their Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist pin.
“It really made me feel good to have a four star admiral pin my Enlisted Surface Warfare qualification,” said Electronic Technician 3rd Class Rachel Stewart. “I will remember that moment for the rest of my life. It definitely gives me another story to talk with friends and family about.”
Ferguson recently relieved Adm. Bruce Clingan as Commander, Allied Joint Force Command, Naples/Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa.
Mount Whitney, forward deployed to Gaeta, Italy, operates with a combined crew of U.S. Navy Sailors and Military Sealift Command civil service mariners. The civil service mariners perform navigation, deck, engineering and supply service operations, while military personnel support communications, weapons systems and security. It is one of only two seaborne joint command platforms in the U.S. Navy, both of which are forward deployed.
Press Release, July 28, 2014; Image: US Navy