On December 22nd, the frigate “Hessen” arrived in its home port of Wilhelmshaven for the Christmas holiday. The naval ship is part and at the same time the lead ship of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1).

SNMG1 has now been converted into the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force ( Maritime) – VJTF for Very High Readiness Joint Task Force(M) – NATO. A group of several international combat and support ships. This association represents the spearhead of NATO along the northern flank of the alliance’s territory and can be understood as a kind of riot police or rapid reaction force in the North Sea, Baltic Sea and North Atlantic areas. “It is without question something special and formative to be part of the front line of defense of our alliance in these turbulent times in global politics and to regularly operate very close to Russian forces,” said the commander, Frigate Captain Volker Kübsch.

The frigate has taken part in three major maritime exercises in the last five months. In addition, the crew of the naval ship took part in further exercises in all dimensions of naval warfare in a warship formation, in cooperation with air and land forces. These exercises increased the combat effectiveness of this association. But it also demonstrates NATO’s capabilities and determination to the outside world.

Visits to a total of 13 different foreign ports highlighted diplomatic and military cooperation with the host nations and gave the crew the opportunity to recharge and get to know these cities better.

The deployment of the “Hesse” is not yet over. After a short Christmas break in the home port, the frigate will return to the operational area after the turn of the year. The ship will remain in the VJTF operational group until January 12, 202 when ESPS Almirante Juan de Borbon becomes flagship.

The German warship has traveled almost 35,000 nautical miles. This also makes it a record year for the ship, in which, together with the first half of 2023, she can look back on just over two round-the-world trips.

We wish the crew a merry and merry Christmas with their families.