By: Ensign Cody L. Keim
GDYNIA, Poland – The Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) and embarked Marines assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) arrived in Gdynia, Poland, June 22, 2018, for a scheduled port visit to enhance U.S.-Poland relations as the two NATO allies work together for a stable, secure and prosperous region.
The ship’s presence in the Baltic Sea is a demonstration of our continued commitment to the collective security of the European region.
“The Sailors of USS Oak Hill and the embarked Marines of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit are excited for the opportunity to visit Gdynia and participate in the Polish Navy’s 100th anniversary celebration. We exercise side-by-side with the Polish amphibious ship ORP Krakow during BALTOPS (exercise Baltic Operations) and developed great admiration for the Polish Navy’s positive spirit and sense of purpose. This port visit will provide even greater exposure to Polish culture and will highlight our commitment as NATO allies to regional security and a prosperous, peaceful future.” – Capt. Brian Finman, deputy commodore, Amphibious Squadron 4
Oak Hill will take part in the Polish Navy’s parade of ships celebration to commemorate Poland’s 100th year of naval service. Sailors and Marines from Oak Hill will also take part in a friendly soccer match against Polish naval forces and volunteers in the local community.
The previous U.S. Navy ship to visit Poland was the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Farragut (DDG 99) in April 2018.
Oak Hill recently participated in BALTOPS 2018. BALTOPS is the premier annual maritime-focused exercise in the Baltic region and is one of the largest exercises in Northern Europe, enhancing flexibility and interoperability among allied and partner nations.
Earlier this year, Oak Hill entered the Black Sea to demonstrate the U.S. commitment to the collective defense of our NATO allies and partners. This naval operation was in support of our NATO allies in Eastern Europe and falls under Operation Atlantic Resolve.
Oak Hill , homeported in Little Creek, Virginia, and part of the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), along with embarked Marines assigned to the 26th MEU based out of Camp Lejeuene, North Carolina, are conducting naval operations with allies and partners in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations to advance security and stability in Europe.
Iwo Jima ARG is composed of Commander Amphibious Squadron 4, the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21), and Oak Hill.
The 26th MEU, based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, is comprised of a Command Element, the Ground Combat Element, the Aviation Combat Element (ACE), and the Logistics Combat Element.
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.
From U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs