Since leaving Villefranche, France in 1967, the US 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 US Navy’s commitment to forward presence. The Sixth Fleet Flag Ship Command, Control and Communications Ship USS LASALLE (AGF 3) is homeported in Gaeta. As homeport to its flagship, Gaeta hosts the staff of Sixth Fleet as
well as US Naval Support Activity, Gaeta.
Gaeta’s relationship with the US 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 LaSalle’s primary mission is
to provide command ship facilities and support to Commander,
Sixth Fleet (COMSIXTHFLT), and his embarked staff. The LaSalle
assumed the role of command ship for the US Sixth Fleet on
November 8, 1994, bringing expanded capabilities to the fleet.
With the ability and space available to embark a Joint Task Force
staff, when necessary, LaSalle greatly increases the flexibility of
the US Sixth Fleet commander and his staff. Additionally, LaSalle
has been outfitted with state-of-the-art communication,
command, and control 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 US Sixth Fleet’s capability to respond
to crisis or contingency operations.
The primary mission of Naval Support Activity Gaeta is to provide
and maintain facilities and services to support the Sixth Fleet
Staff and USS LaSalle 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
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 as an
independent command on site in Gaeta became official. Today,
base support facilities are located on a hill called Monte Orlando
overlooking the Gulf of Gaeta.
Sources and Methods
Maintained by Robert Sherman
Originally created by John Pike
Updated Sunday, December 06, 1998 5:59:17 AM