Members from the Italian Coast Guard and USCGC Hamilton (WMSL 753) pose for a photo in front of a U.S. Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aboard Hamilton, April 23, 2021. U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton is on a routine deployment in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national interests and security in Europe and Africa. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

U.S. Coast Guard Strengthens Trans-Atlantic Ties with Italy

The Legend-class national security cutter USCGC Hamilton (WMSL 753) conducted operations in the Mediterranean Sea with the Italian coast guard and Italian navy Friday.

The operations were designed to increase interoperability as part of a regional effort to bolster maritime partnerships with NATO allies.

“Working with the Italian coast guard and Italian navy strengthens our maritime partnership and reinforces our shared values,” said Capt. Timothy Cronin, commanding officer of USCGC Hamilton. “Our engagements with Italy this week bring unity of effort in the maritime domain through interoperable capabilities and combined operations.”

More than half of regional economic activity relies on the safe and lawful use of maritime space, making maritime security essential to economic development and sustainment. To further this objective, Hamilton participated in search and rescue exercises with the Italian coast guard in the Tyrrhenian Sea.

“Today, this meeting has represented an important and useful opportunity to improve our already strong relationship between the Italian and U.S. coast guards,” said Vice Adm. Antonio Basile, vice commandant of the Italian coast guard.

Afterward, Hamilton transitioned to the Ionian Sea, conducting cross deck flight operations with the Italian navy to practice daylight landing at sea. Exercises like these strengthen alliance interoperability, combined operations, theater security cooperation, and capacity-building efforts.

These operations follow a logistics visit to Naples, Italy, where the crew met with Italian coast guard leadership to enhance the U.S. and Italian military relationship further.

“It was a pleasure to work alongside one of our strongest allies and share best practices to improve safety at sea,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Thomas Hatfield. “We all learned a lot from each other, and we welcome the opportunity to do it again in the future.”

The U.S. Coast Guard brings unique capabilities thanks to a wide suite of specialized maritime capabilities, competencies, and authorities. Their mission set capabilities to include search and rescue operations, counter-drug enforcement, living marine preservation and ports, waterway, and coastal security. As a law enforcement agency, regulatory agency, and a branch of the military, the service’s multi-mission mandate gives the Coast Guard a unique and unparalleled opportunity.

“Our organizations share several competencies in the strategic environment that are important in both the national and international realm. These include: search and rescue operations, marine environmental protection, and control of the sea.” Basile said. “Soon we will usher in a new basis for our strong maritime bond, a “memorandum of understanding” that will highlight the mutual willingness to cooperate and to improve our expertise, through the development of combined operations and interoperable capabilities.”

The U.S. Coast Guard is conducting a routine deployment in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations, working alongside allies, building maritime domain awareness, and sharing best practices with partner nation navies and coast guards.

Hamilton is the fourth Legend-class national security cutter and is the fifth named for the father of the U.S. Coast Guard – Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury and advocate for the creation of the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service.

The U.S. Coast Guard remains operational during COVID-19, following all COVID-19 safety precautions and regulations.

U.S. Sixth 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.

Read more at USCG

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