The US Navy’s Expeditionary Strike Group 2 (ESG2) has achieved a major milestone with the declaration of fully operationally capable (FOC) status of Echelon IV Maritime Command Element.

The declaration follows the recent completion of the maritime-focused exercise Baltic Operations Exercise 2021 (BALTOPS), the multi-domain two-week exercise in 6th Fleet.

With the achievement of the FOC status, ESG2 staff can now provide a Command Element to lead a series of operations to include amphibious warfare, traditional humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief.

ESG-2 rear admiral Robert Katz said: “ESG-2 realising its full operational capability as a Maritime Command Element afloat or ashore was the culmination of a two-year training effort.

“Participating in both live and synthetic exercises, ESG2 proved it can project USMC, joint, and coalition power to the shore.”

In February, ESG staff participated in USS Dwight D Eisenhower (CVN-69) Carrier Strike Group’s (CSG) Composite Unit Training Exercise (COMPTUEX) as part of the FOC criteria.

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In support of the exercise, ESG2 staff and the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade executed a synthetic Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO).

Katz added: “ESG2 and all assigned forces must be ready to answer a variety of missions. My watchwords are Initiate, Communicate and Educate.

“We must be working with these in mind in order to strengthen and build highly effective teams.”

The BALTOPS exercise involved participation of 16 NATO and two partner nations with over 40 ships, 60 aircraft, and more than 4,000 personnel.