SNMG2 Units Arrive in Latvia Following Exercises With Lithuanian Navy
RIGA, Latvia - Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) ships arrived in Riga on Friday for a port visit, having recently completed exercises in the Baltic Sea with the Lithuanian Navy.
SNMG2 is in the Baltic Sea to reassure allies in the region of the Alliance's collective defense and to enhance NATO's maritime force interoperability. Led by Rear Adm. Brad Williamson (USA N), SNMG2 is currently comprised of the flagship USS VICKSBURG (CG 69), HMCS FREDERICTON (FFH 337), TCG GOKSU (F 497), and HNLMS TROMP (F 803). SNMG2 units were joined underway by LNS AUKSTAITIS (F 12) to practice ship-handling operations such as close-quarters maneuvering and replenishment at sea approaches.
"This exercise was a great opportunity to work alongside our Lithuanian Allies to ensure a ready maritime force for NATO and to improve interoperability among our nations' navies," said Williamson. "Exercises like this allow our Sailors to know their Lithuanian counterparts and to improve our ability to quickly integrate should the Alliance require us to do so".
SNMG2's deployment to the Baltic Sea will also include training exercises with the Estonian Navy and participation in the multinational exercise BALTOPS 15. After a year as the commander for SNMG2, Williamson and his U.S. staff will turn over the reins of SNMG2 to Germany in late June.
"It's been a truly remarkable deployment thus far. We've done a lot to enhance NATO's maritime capabilities and most importantly we've forged lasting bonds with our Alliance navies and worked to forge deeper bonds with our partners," said Williamson. "We are pleased to have the opportunity to visit Latvia, and to engage on a personal and professional level with the Latvian Navy and the great people of Riga."
During the port visit, SNMG2 leadership will meet with Latvian civic and military authorities to discuss matters of shared importance. The crews of SNMG2's ships will have the opportunity to explore the city and enjoy the culture and history of the region.