The United States Navy is proving to the world that it is not only an essential service but is also open for business even in the midst of a global pandemic.
The message comes as the naval force undertakes a mission putting warships in a place the vessels haven’t entered since the Cold War.
On Monday, Stars and Stripes reported the 6th Fleet spent the day in a frigid patch of ocean north of Russia.
In total, three U.S. destroyers and a combat supply ship navigated the Barents Sea. A United Kingdom warship also joined its American counterparts during the exercise.
The last time American surface ships were in the region was in the mid-1980s, when the Soviet Union was the preeminent threat to world peace.
Although world geopolitics have changed since then, the dedication of the United States Navy to meet and counter threats to our nation remains the same.
The exercise puts American forces in a position that is guaranteed to be uncomfortable for Russia, underscoring the Navy’s resolve to defend Europe from bad actors.
“In these challenging times, it is more important than ever that we maintain our steady drumbeat of operations across the European theater, while taking prudent measures to protect the health of our force,” 6th Fleet commander Vice Adm. Lisa Franchetti said in a statement.
“We remain committed to promoting regional security and stability, while building trust and reinforcing a foundation of Arctic readiness.”
In an apparent homage to lockdowns everywhere, the fleet put out a post with three words clearly summing up its position.
A tweet from the group warned bad guys with a hashtag that the Navy is still “open for business.”
??&?? are operating together in the #BarentsSea ⚓
Four #US6thFleet ships are sailing with #HMSKent, conducting #maritimesecurity operations above the #Arctic Circle. #Powerforpeace #openforbusiness #strongertogether #WeAreNATO
Read about it here: https://t.co/J8X7NbabA4.
— U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet (@USNavyEurope) May 5, 2020
While the cold water may seem like a useless span of ocean, the area is a gateway to the resource-rich area of the Arctic Circle.
Russia’s designs on the region have always been apparent, and last year the country declared it would be expanding ports and infrastructure to support a fleet of vessels tailored to the harsh conditions of the Arctic.
With the Western Pacific Ocean quickly becoming a naval flashpoint thanks to the rise of China, U.S. forces flexing muscle near Europe is a much-needed reminder to residents that America has not abandoned its allies.
It’s unclear if Russia will take advantage of a world in crisis to push forward with its own advantage in the unforgiving Arctic.
One thing is for certain, however: The United States Navy stands ready to check the ambition of any nation at a moment’s notice.
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