The U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) and embarked staff from Carrier Strike Group 12 arrived in Split, Croatia, for a scheduled port visit, June 26.

This port visit is the capital ship’s second stop while deployed to the U.S. Naval Forces Europe area of operations and provides an opportunity to enhance the strong partnership between U.S. and Croatia.

“U.S. Navy units frequently visit Croatia for maintenance, mutual security training opportunities, and liberty, and the Sailors of the Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group are excited to continue the tradition,” said Rear Adm. Erik J. Eslich, Commander, Carrier Strike Group 12. “It is a welcome opportunity for our crews to enjoy a beautiful country and experience the Croatian culture, but also for us to engage with a crucial ally and build upon the strong U.S.-Croatia relationship that is founded on our shared values.”

Gerald R. Ford is anchored off the coast of Split and will host local officials and key leaders for a reception to celebrate the strong, extensive alliance between the U.S. and Croatia. The port call will provide Gerald R. Ford Sailors the opportunity to experience the rich culture of Croatia.

“The Sailors of USS Gerald R. Ford, Carrier Strike Group 12, Carrier Air Wing 8, and Destroyer Squadron 2 have been looking forward to visiting Split since we deployed nearly two months ago,” said Capt. Richard Burgess, Gerald R. Ford’s Commanding Officer. “Many of our Sailors joined the Navy with aspirations to see the world, and this port visit provides a cherished opportunity for them to experience the rich history and culture of Croatia.”

Gerald R. Ford deployed from Norfolk, Virginia on May 2 and has been conducting joint and combined training, exercises, and operations to support maritime stability and security, and defense of U.S., Allied and Partner interests. The Gerald R. Ford CSG sailed along-side NATO’s Standing NATO Maritime Group One for several days since NATO allies and partners take every opportunity to train together to refine tactics, techniques, and procedures to increase interoperability.

Gerald R. Ford is the U.S. Navy’s newest and most advanced aircraft carrier. As the first-in-class ship of Ford-class aircraft carriers, CVN 78 represents a generational leap in the U.S. Navy’s capacity to project power on a global scale. Ford-class aircraft carriers introduce 23 new technologies, including Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System, Advanced Arresting Gear and Advanced Weapons Elevators. The new systems incorporated onto Ford-class ships are designed to deliver greater lethality, survivability and joint interoperability with a 20% smaller crew than a Nimitz-class carrier, paving the way forward for naval aviation.

The Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group (GRFCSG) is conducting a scheduled deployment in U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations, demonstrating the commitment and power projection capability of the Navy’s globally deployed force. The GRFCSG provides an inherently flexible naval force capable of deploying across combatant commands to meet emerging missions, deter potential adversaries, reassure allies and partners, enhance security and guarantee the free flow of global commerce. In total, the GRFCSG is deployed with more than 6,000 Sailors across all platforms ready to respond globally to combatant commander tasking.

The Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group consists of Carrier Strike Group 12, Carrier Air Wing 8, Destroyer Squadron 2, USS Normandy (CG 60), USS Ramage (DDG 61), and USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116).

Headquartered in Naples, Italy, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. Sixth Fleet operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) areas of responsibility. U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF, and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations. Our persistent presence in Europe is in accordance with our international commitments and agreements and is necessary to reassure our Allies and Partners of our commitment to collective defense.