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Germany Takes Command of Standing NATO Maritime Group TWO

KIEL, Germany – This morning, U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Brad Williamson relinquished command of Standing NATO Maritime Group TWO (SNMG2) to German Navy Rear Admiral Jörg Klein during a brief ceremony conducted by NATO Allied Maritime Command’s Deputy Commander, Vice Admiral Bruno Paulmier, in Kiel Harbour where the former and current flagships are berthed.

SNMG2 has been commanded by Williamson since July 2014.  Key facts regarding SNMG2 during the U.S. year in command:

  • 25 ships from 13 nations (including five different flagships)
  • 15 U.S. officers and enlisted personnel and seven non-U.S. staff officers and representing nine Allied nations.
  • As many as 11 ships and submarines under SNMG2 command at one time, demonstrating NATO’s ability to integrate and respond to contingencies under a single operational commander
  • 76 days at sea in direct support of NATO’s counter-terrorism Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR
  • 50,000+ nautical miles sailed
  • 1,200+ helicopter flight hours by 15 helicopters
  • Over 80 underway replenishments, allowing the Group more operating days at sea, and better support to operational commanders
  • 10 passing exercises with NATO and partner nations
  • More than 30 port visits to 18 countries (17 NATO nations and Mediterranean Dialogue partner Morocco)
  • Operating areas:
       o   Atlantic Ocean; North America to Africa
       o   Mediterranean Sea
       o   Black Sea
       o   North Sea
       o   Baltic Sea
       o   Adriatic Sea
       o   Aegean Sea
       o   Irish Sea

"It has been a great year for Standing NATO Maritime Group Two; we’ve accomplished so much, and I truly feel that the maritime capability of the Alliance is fully ready to execute any mission,” said Rear Admiral Williamson.  "For me and the American staff who leave here today, we’ve learned a lot in the last year, and we’ve forged personal and professional relationships with personnel from Allied and Partner nations across NATO’s area of operations. For most of us, this has been a once in a lifetime opportunity to participate in such a rewarding and diverse deployment. We are all extremely thankful and proud to have represented the maritime forces of the Alliance.”

Upon completion of the change of command ceremony, the new flagship of SNMG2 is FGS HAMBURG, a SACHSEN-class frigate.  HMCS FREDERICTON remains with the Group, and will soon be replaced by HMCS WINNEPEG.

"SNMG2 has fulfilled a broad spectrum of missions across a vast area during the past year,” said Vice Admiral Paulmier. With the new flag raised on board FGS Hamburg, the SNMG2 is seamlessly carrying on these tasks, establishing a visible Alliance presence across the seas, participating in exercises and training across the Alliance and Partner Nations, and providing a high readiness capability for rapid intervention where it is needed.”

Now under German command, the Group will continue to play an integral role in support of sustained assurance measures, operational support and exercise participation.   

"In the upcoming months Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 is going to fly the colors in the Mediterranean Sea again.” said Rear Admiral Klein.  "The challenge we are going to face is to build mutual understanding between the crews - to integrate excellent warships from different nations into a team and to shape a formidable coherent NATO force at sea. A naval force which is capable to accomplish the full spectrum of its mission. That is what I consider to be my personal mission as a Commander.”

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