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By Humphrey Carter

THE flagship of the United States Sixth Fleet, the USS Mount Whitney put into the Port of Palma yesterday for a brief visit.
She was commissioned on January 16, 1971 and is considered by some to be the most sophisticated Command, Control, Communications, Computer, and Intelligence (C4I) ship ever commissioned.

Mount Whitney incorporates various elements of the most advanced C4I equipment and gives the embarked Joint Task Force Commander the capability to effectively command all units under her command.

Named after Mount Whitney, a mountain in the Sierra Nevada mountain range of California, the Blue Ridge class command ship was deployed in 1994 to Haiti with LTG Hugh Shelton, the commander of the XVIII Airborne Corps, in command of the Joint Task Force that conducted Operation Uphold Democracy.

But, more recently, she played a key role in the launch of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
On 12 November 2002, Mount Whitney deployed to the Central Command area of responsibility in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. She was acting as the initial command post for Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa. During the deployment, the ship embarked elements of the 2nd Marine Division and II Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF), based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, under the command of Maj. Gen. John F. Sattler and Captain Morton W. Kenyon.

In August 2008, Mount Whitney was deployed to the Black Sea in support of Operation Assured Delivery to deliver humanitarian aid to those affected by the Russian-Georgian war and became the first NATO ship to deliver aid to port of Poti, Georgia.

She has a complement of 170 officers and enlisted men and 155 Military Sealift Command civilian sailors.
Her armament includes two Phalanx CIWS, two 25 mm Bushmaster cannons, four .50 cal. machine guns and Mark 36 SRBOC chaff rockets.
The Mount Whitney also carries one helicopter, currently a SH-60 Knight Hawk