EVERETT, Wash. – Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Gridley (DDG 101) returned to its homeport of Naval Station Everett Jan. 21 following an independent deployment to the U.S. 2nd and 6th Fleet areas of operations. Gridley served as the flagship for maritime task group Standing NATO. Maritime Group One (SNMG1). The group composed of ships from various NATO member countries including Norway, Portugal, Netherlands and Belgium. SNMG1 is one of four standing maritime task groups that provide continuous maritime capability to execute NATO missions, demonstrate solidarity, and strengthen diplomatic and professional links among Allied naval forces.

SNMG1 provided presence, increased readiness, and showed unity on the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, North Sea, and Norwegian Sea. This was the first time Gridley served as a flagship for a NATO mission. “USS Gridley performed superbly as Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 Flagship from July to December 2019,” said U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Edward Cashman, commander, SNMG1 aboard Gridley. “The crew’s expertise, dedication, and professionalism ensured the readiness of SNMG1, strengthened relationships, and improved interoperability with our Allies.It was an honor and a pleasure to serve with the fantastic young men and women onboard Gridley” Gridley’s deployment included participation in exercise Cutlass Fury 2019, Canada’s largest naval exercise. The exercise included personnel and assets from Canada, United Kingdom, and Denmark. The ship also participated in multi-lateral exercise Dynamic Mariner/Flotex-19 with nations including Albania, Bulgaria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Turkey, and United Kingdom. Their operations tested and enhanced interoperability with NATO forces. “It was an honor to lead the Gridley crew through this unique deployment,” said Cmdr. Joel Uzarski, Gridley’s commanding officer. “U.S. alliances are critical to ensuring maritime security and stability, and the Gridley crew demonstrated their ability to work cohesively with other nations, and strengthened partnerships over the last seven months. We are excited and look forward to reconnecting with family and friends back home after a very successful deployment.”

Gridley covered approximately 39,000 nautical miles over the course of its deployment, operating in support of the NATO Maritime Commander’s high-readiness response force. U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Indo-Pacific and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy. U.S. 3rd Fleet works in close coordination with U.S. 7th Fleet to provide commanders with capable, ready assets across the spectrum of military operations in the Indo-Pacific.