For the first time, the U.S. assumed command of Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One (SNMCMG1) during a change of command ceremony held onboard USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) and via video teleconference on June 19, 2021.
U.S. Sixth Fleet Public Affairs press release
U.S. Navy Capt. Sam Brasfield relieved Dutch Cmdr. Jan Wijchers of the Royal Netherlands Navy as the commander of SNMCMG1. Brasfield will command SNMCMG1 from the flagship FGS Elbe of the German Navy.
“It is a huge honor and privilege to stand before you today taking command of this Group.”
“SNMCMG1 is a multi-national integrated force that demonstrates a constant and visible reminder of the Alliance’s solidarity and cohesion. This is the first time the U.S. will lead a SNMCMG, demonstrating our resolve and commitment in supporting NATO.”
U.S. Navy Capt. Sam Brasfield
During the almost six months deployment under Dutch command, SNMCMG1 covered almost 12,000 nautical miles, flying the NATO flag and contributing to constant situational awareness in the waters and ports of Northern Europe. They executed five mine countermeasure operations, found 89 historical ordnances, reducing the risk for maritime activities in the Baltic and North Sea; participated in two different naval exercises including BALTOPS 50. During the deployment SNMCMG1 visited 18 ports, delivering the message of NATO unity and active presence in the region. During the deployment the force maintained a continuous pandemic-free bubble, ensuring the availability of the NATO Force.
After nearly 6 months, the Dutch Commander Jan Wijchers from the Royal Netherlands Navy 🇳🇱 handed over his command to the new COMSNMCMG1 from the United States Navy Sixth Fleet🇺🇸aboard USS Mount Whitney. "Leading SNMCMG1 has been a dream come true!"#StrongerTogether #WeAreNATO pic.twitter.com/2HF27mflUS
— COM SNMCMG1 (@COM_SNMCMG1) June 20, 2021