Since leaving Ville Franche, France in 1967, the U.S. Sixth Fleet flagship has resided in Gaeta, Italy. The Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea encompasses task forces, battle groups, amphibious forces, support ships, land-based surveillance aircraft, and submarines. Its role has been important since the early 19th century to the U.S. Navy's commitment to forward presence.
As homeport to its flagship, Gaeta hosts the staff of USS MOUNT WHITNEY (LCC/JCC20) as well as U.S. Naval Support Activity, Gaeta. However, Gaeta's relationship with the U.S. Navy did not start in 1967. Long before the USS Little Rock sailed into Gaeta's harbor, Pope Pius IX and Ferdinand II, King of the two Kingdoms of Sicily, paid visit to the USS Constitution in 1849. Eight flagships later, the ties between the Italian and American communities have strengthened as Americans come to Gaeta eager to experience a new culture and make new friends.
As a forward-deployed unit, the USS MOUNT WHITNEY's primary mission is to provide command ship facilities and support to Commandar, Naval Forces Europe (CNE)/Commander, Sixth Fleet (COMSIXTHFLT), and his embarked staff. The MOUNT WHITNEY assumed the role of command ship for the U.S. Sixth Fleet on February 25, 2005, bringing expanded capabilities to the fleet. With the ability and space available to embark a Joint Task Force staff, when necessary, USS MOUNT WHITNEY greatly increases the flexibility of the U.S. Sixth Fleet commander and his staff. Additionally, MOUNT WHITNEY has been outfitted with state-of-the-art command, control, and communications electronic equipment. Any operation or exercise involving sea, air, land, and amphibious forces can be controlled and directed from the flagship while at sea or in port. This further increases the U.S. Sixth Fleet's capability to respond to crisis or contingency operations.
Commander, Destroyer Squadron Six Zero (COMDESRON SIX ZERO)is the Navy's newest Destroyer Squadron established on the 19th of February, 2003 and also homeported in Gaeta, Italy. As a forward deployed unit the primary mission of COMDESRON SIX ZERO is to conduct prompt, precise, sustained combat or non-combat operations as Commander Task Force SIX ZERO, Sea Combat Commander, and when directed Maritime Interception Operations Commander. To accomplish these various missions, COMDESRON SIX ZERO employs surface combatants, submarines, aircraft, SEALs, Marines, Joint, and NATO forces assigned to the SIXTH FLEET area of operations to ensure sea lines of communications within the EUCOM AOR remain open. The establishment of COMDESROM SIX ZERO provides CNE/COMSIXTHFLT with a permanently assigned DESRON Commander, increasing the Warfare Commanders options when undertaking national and theater level tasking.
The primary mission of Naval Support Activity Naples Detachment (NSAND) Gaeta Italy is to provide and maintain facilities and services to support the CNE/COMSIXTHFLT, COMDESRON SIX ZERO, and USS MOUNT WHITNEY personnel, along with their families stationed in the Gaeta area. In addition, Naval Support Activity Gaeta also supports a NATO telecommunications school (NCISS) located approximately 50 miles north of Gaeta in the province of Latina. The Naval Support Activity is located in the town of Gaeta, which is situated between Rome and Naples. Formerly a detachment of Naval Support Activity Naples, Naval Support Activity Detachment Gaeta began operations on January 13, 1967. On January 28, 1994, the establishment of Naval Support Activity Gaeta (NSA GAETA) as an independent command on site in Gaeta became official. On 10 February 2006 NSA GAETA has reverted to a Detachment of NSA Naples. Although officially the command doesn't exist anymore, its main mission as homeport of the 6th Fleet flagship USS Mount Whitney continues unchanged.
Currently, U. S. Naval Support Activity Naples Detachment (NSAND) Gaeta - Italy is undergoing transformation on a daily basis. Please contact your sponsor for the most up to date information.