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SNMG1 Changes Flag Ship

SNMG1 Changes Flag Ship

COPENHAGEN (Denmark), – Friday, May 27, 2016, ESPS MENDEZ NUÑEZ (F-104), one of Spain´s F-100 Class Frigates, took over as flag ship of Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 from ESPS ALVARO DE BAZAN.

ESPS ALVARO DE BAZAN’s service as flagship of SNMG1 began December the 18, 2015 in Cartagena, Spain, when Rear Admiral Jose E. Delgado (ESP N) took command of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1. After more than five months deployed, more than 100 days at sea and 22.145 miles sailed, ESPS ALVARO DE BAZAN will return to her home port in Ferrol, Spain on June 2, 2016.

This deployment to the North and Baltic Seas demonstrated the readiness of ESPS ALVARO DE BAZAN and her crew to fulfil the NATO mission, many times under challenging conditions. As the flagship, the ship and her crew provided an immediate maritime capability to the NATO Alliance, enhancing maritime situational awareness, exhibiting forward presence and contributing to operational interoperability to support greater regional security and stability.

During these past months, SNMG1 visited 20 ports in 11 countries, proudly flying the NATO flag and reaffirming NATO's commitment and determination to Allies from the Northern part of NATO.

CDR. Ignacio Paz (ESP N), ESPS ALVARO DE BAZAN Commanding Officer, expressed how this deployment has been a unique learning experience for him and his crew. "We return home with a mix of feelings, on one side our legitimate desire to see our families , on the other, an emptiness feeling for leaving this group and our NATO comrades,” said Commander Paz. "It`s been a superb deployment, full of challenges, and an extraordinary learning opportunity for my crew and myself.”

The SNMG1 commander and embarked staff thanked the crew of ESPS ALVARO DE BAZAN for their dedicated service and noted that they look forward to working with the crew of ESPS MENDEZ NUÑEZ over the next few months as they continue to serve as the ready NATO maritime group.

SNMG1 is one of four multinational, integrated maritime forces composed of vessels from various allied countries. These vessels are permanently available to NATO to perform different tasks ranging from participation in exercises to operational missions. These groups provide NATO with a continuous maritime capability and help to establish Alliance presence, demonstrate solidarity, conduct routine diplomatic visits and enhance interoperability among Allied naval forces. They also serve as a consistently ready maritime force to support the NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF).

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