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MAYPORT, Fla. – Standing NATO Maritime Group TWO (SNMG2) arrived today in Mayport, Fla. for a scheduled port visit in advance of Fleet Exercises (FLEETEX). FLEETEX are multi-warfare naval exercises designed to promote force integration and test multiple war fighting skill sets. Ships from the U.S., Canadian, German and Turkish navies will participate in the exercises.

This port visit and FLEETEX are part of a series of training exercises in which SNMG2 will participate during its deployment to the Western Atlantic. This is the first time in several years that a NATO task force has conducted transatlantic operations in North America. These events offer multiple opportunities for training at the highest levels of maritime operations.

FLEETEX will feature anti-air, anti-submarine, live fire and ship handling scenarios designed to provide high-end warfare training and valuable experience through integrated task group training. SNMG2, CSG8 and Canadian forces will train together as a force to learn how to work as a cohesive unit in response to a variety of threat scenarios.

SNMG2 ships currently deployed to North America include the U.S. flagship, USS LEYTE GULF (CG 55), the German ship FGS NIEDERSACHSEN (F 208), and the Turkish ship TCG KEMALREIS (F 247). KEMALREIS is the first Turkish warship to visit the U.S. in 15 years, and this will be the first trip to the U.S. for the majority of their crew.

During the port visit, SNMG2 will coordinate with representatives from the Canadian navy and Carrier Strike Group 8 (CSG8) to prepare for the exercises. Sailors from all three ships will also have some free time to explore the local area.

"Any opportunity we have to train with multiple NATO navies simultaneously is extremely valuable," said Rear Adm. Brad Williamson, Commander SNMG2. "This period will allow us to build integration and teamwork, and I'm excited to train with and share experiences between Allied shipmates."

SNMG2 is permanently available to NATO to perform a wide range of tasks, from real world operations to exercise participation. Composition of the force varies as allied nations contribute assets on a rotational basis. SNMG2 will be led by a U.S. Navy admiral and flagship until June 2015.

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