VIDEO: USS Gerald R. Ford Makes Norwegian Port Call, Kremlin Calls Visit ‘Illogical, Harmful’

May 24, 2023 12:53 PM
USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) transits the Oslo fjord for its first port call in Oslo, Norway, May 24, 2023. US Navy Photo

Aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) pulled into Oslo, Norway on Wednesday for a port call to the Norwegian capital, according to U.S. 6th Fleet.

The port visit for Ford, the embarked Carrier Air Wing 8 and its escorts is the first one in the strike group’s first global deployment. Royal Norwegian Navy Fridtjof Nansen-class frigate HNoMS Roald Amundsen (F311) joined the strike group ahead of the port call.

“It is a clear expression of the security guarantees we have through NATO, not least the close cooperation and partnership we have with the United States,” Norwegian Defense Minister Bjørn Arild Gram said in a Tuesday statement.
“This is Norway’s security.”

The port call prompted comments from Russian officials who have called the carrier’s visit “illogical and harmful,” according to press reports.

“There are no issues in the North that require a military solution, nor issues that require outside intervention,” Russian Embassy in Norway spokesman Timur Chekanov told newswire AFP in a statement.

Norwegian press reported that the carrier will operate north of the Arctic Circle. Questions left by USNI News with 6th Fleet were not returned as of this posting.

“Norway is a strategic partner in the continued efforts to maintain a secure and stable Arctic and North Atlantic region that benefits global order,” CSG-12 commander Rear Adm. Erik Eslich said in a Wednesday statement.
“We are committed to our NATO ally and fostering our strong relationship built on a foundation of shared values, experiences, and vision.”

The last U.S. aircraft carrier to operate north of the Arctic Circle was USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) in 2018, according to USNI News’ carrier deployment database. Truman and its escorts were the first strike group to operate in the High North since the end of the Cold War, USNI News reported at the time.

Ford, the air wing and escorts left Naval Station Norfolk, Va., for the deployment on May 2nd and were widely expected to take up station in the Mediterranean Sea following the departure of aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) and its strike group, which were performing the presence mission that kicked off just ahead of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
Follow @samlagrone

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