VLORË, Albania —The USS John L. Hall (FFG 32) pulled into Vlorë, Albania, Mar. 22 to continue U.S. 6th Fleet efforts to build global maritime partnerships with European nations and improve maritime safety and security.
John L. Hall crew members started the visit with a reception for several members of the local community.
“The purpose of this event was to formally kick off this opportunity to strengthen the friendship between our countries,” said Cmdr. Herman Praeffle, John L. Hall’s commanding officer. “In a social environment like this, people have the chance to meet each other and get to know one another.”
While in port, John L. Hall plans on doing many projects with the local communities in Albania.
“While here, we plan on participating in many events for the community,” said Praeffle. “These events range from the band playing music for needy children, to the chaplain and a group of sailors conducting community relations at a school to help improve the overall condition of the facility.”
Rear Adm. Gerard P. Hueber, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategy, Resources and Plans, also traveled to Albania to partake in the events.
“Albania is a strong ally to the United States and I felt it important to visit my friends and counterparts,” said Hueber. “As this was my first visit to Albania, it was an opportunity to experience and share the priorities of both our countries.”
Hueber also met with many officials from the Albanian government and military, including the commander of the Albanian naval forces and the United States ambassador to Albania. During his visit, Hueber commented on the importance of engagements such as these:
“Visiting Albania was important because of the tremendous partnership between our nations,” said Hueber. “Visits such as these strengthen the bonds between allies as we work toward the mutual goals of maintaining safety and security of the world’s oceans and sea lanes. Sharing information transparently is critical to our success. Information sharing will help combat challenges such as trafficking, and will promote maritime security. Crisis prevention starts with security building activities to thwart the many challenges that originate or transit through our region.”
John L. Hall, homeported in Mayport, Fla., is currently on a scheduled deployment in the 6th Fleet area of responsibility.