USS Mount Whitney (LCC-20)
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The USS Mount Whitney (LCC/JCC 20) is a Blue Ridge class command ship of the US Navy; it is the flagship of the Sixth Fleet. She is also the command and control ship for the Commander Joint Command Lisbon and the Commander Striking Force NATO. She had previously served for years as the COMSTRIKFLTLANT(NATO Designation) / Second Fleet's command ship.
The ship is named for Mount Whitney, a peak in the Sierra Nevada mountain range of California. Mount Whitney is the highest summit in the contiguous United States with an elevation of 14,505 feet (4,421 m).
Alleged to be the most sophisticated Command, Control, Communications, Computer, and Intelligence (C4I) ship ever commissioned, Mount Whitney incorporates various elements of the most advanced C4I equipment and gives the embarked Joint Task Force Commander the capability to effectively command all units under his or her command.
The Mount Whitney can transmit and receive large amounts of secure data to and from any point on earth through HF, UHF, VHF, and SHF (satellite communications) communications channels. This electronic technology enables the Joint Intelligence Center and Joint Operations Center to provide the most timely intelligence and operational support available in the Navy.
From 1981 to 2005, Mount Whitney served as Flagship for Commander Second Fleet/Commander Striking Fleet Atlantic.
On 12 November 2002, Mount Whitney deployed to the Central Command area of responsibility in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. She was acting as the initial command post for Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa. During the deployment, the ship embarked elements of the 2nd Marine Division and II Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF), based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, under the command of Maj. Gen. John F. Sattler and Captain Morton W. Kenyon.
In 2004, Military Sealift Command civilian sailors were integrated into her crew. She remains a commissioned warship in the United States Navy, but the size of her crew was reduced from about 600 sailors to about 170 Navy officers and enlisted men and 155 civilians.
In February 2005, Mount Whitney left Norfolk for Gaeta, Italy where she was redesignated as the (LCC/JCC 20) and assumed duties as the 6th Fleet flagship, officially relieving La Salle. She also assumed duties as the command ship for the Commander Joint Command Lisbon and the Commander Striking Force NATO.
In August 2008, Mount Whitney was deployed to the Black Sea in support of Operation Assured Delivery to deliver humanitarian aid to those affected by the Russian-Georgian war and became the first NATO ship to deliver aid to port of Poti, Georgia.
On 6 November 2008, Mount Whitney was unable to enter the port at Sevastopol. City authorities and representatives of the Ukrainian Navy refused to comment on the event. Individuals working for the city administration reported that the failure was due to issues with the Mount Whitney's border crossing documents - others suggested anti-NATO protests were the cause.
From 19 March 2011, Mount Whitney served in the Mediterranean as the main command vessel for the enforcement of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 against Libya, flagship for Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, who had tactical command of the Operation Odyssey Dawn joint taskforce. Command was expected to be transferred to a coalition commander in time though confusion within the coalition was evidenced in early days. The vessel was serving as a command-and-control vessel for the United States' involvement in the coalition campaign aimed to enforce a Libya no-fly zone and to stop Muammar Gaddafi's forces from destroying the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.
In February 2013, Mount Whitney transferred to the San Giorgio del Porto Shipyard in Genoa, Italy for a major 60-day overhaul and repair project. The ship returned to active duty in April 2013, at the end of the maintenance window.
On 31 January 2014, Mount Whitney left its homeport of Gaeta, Italy. Mount Whitney is the first of two U.S. Navy ships (deployed with USS Taylor (FFG-50)) that operated in the Black Sea during the Sochi Olympics.
- "NGS data sheet. U.S. National Geodetic Survey. http://www.ngs.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/ds_mark.prl?PidBox=GT1811. Retrieved 2011-02-28"
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- Arvidas, Shemetas (6 November 2008). "USS Mount Whitney fails to enter Sevastopol Port". Ukrinform. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
- MacAskill, Ewen and Nick Hopkins, “Libyan operation hampered by confusion and dispute: Lack of resolution over who will take control of military operation tests patience of US”, The Guardian 21 March 2011 18.59 GMT. Retrieved 2011-03-21.
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