The Royal Danish Navy (RDN) frigate HDMS Peter Willemoes (F 362) on May 5 concluded her stint with the U.S. Navy’s George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group (GHWBCSG) which operated in the Middle East.
The Danish ship assisted the aircraft carrier group by providing air defense commander capabilities and contributed to maritime security operations in the region while operating with the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) and the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea (CG 58).
Initial liaison with Willemoes began in early 2016 with Danish Navy staff members and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 22 mapping out the path to integration.
Willemoes physically joined forces during the GHWBCSG’s composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX) in December 2016.
“Looking back at the start of the deployment in the Mediterranean Sea and now in the Arabian Gulf, I am able to conclude that a huge amount of observations has been made, observations that will turn into lessons identified and lessons learned whilst being incorporated into relevant Danish operating procedures,” said Cmdr. Bo Overgaard, commanding officer of Willemoes. “What we, the Royal Danish Navy, have learned and gained from being part of [the George H.W. Bush] carrier strike group most likely could not have been achieved anywhere else.”
This deployment marked the first time an RDN ship has participated in a cooperative deployment.
“Willemoes integrated seamlessly, executed mission tasking, and provided lethal combat capability to the GHWB Strike Group. She was expertly led, fully manned and trained, and flawlessly executed all tasking just as I expected from a capable and trusted United States ally,” said Rear Adm. Kenneth R. Whitesell, commander, Carrier Strike Group Two. “Without hesitation, I would invite Willemoes to be part of any carrier strike group team. They made our force stronger.”
Willemoes’ successful integration in the strike group was facilitated by having a full-time Danish liaison officer embarked aboard GHWB and an officer from one of the DESRON 22 ships embarked aboard Willemoes.