After the ceremony, the group visited Paris in order to explore the city and increase awareness of French culture, a staunch ally of America for many centuries. In addition to Paris, the LREC visited much of the French countryside and the tourist attraction of Mont St. Michel before traveling across the Channel to England.
While staying in Plymouth at HMNB Devonport, the LREC took a day trip to Dartmouth where they visited the Britannia Royal Naval College and were granted the opportunity to meet with numerous midshipmen in order to gain an understanding of the training pipeline for British Royal Naval officers. In addition to the BRNC, in Plymouth, the midshipmen were invited on board a Portuguese frigate to observe an air defense training exercise at the Flag Officer Ship Training command (FOST). FOST (a Royal Navy training command) also serves as a training group for NATO ships before they are deployed to serve in the NATO standing maritime groups. This experience on board a foreign naval vessel, allowed the midshipmen to gain an understanding of both the commonalities and differences of U.S. Navy operational and allied nations procedures.
While traveling to London for the final NATO visit at Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) in Northwood, the LREC traveled to the ancient Roman city of Bath and took a quick peek at Stonehenge. At MARCOM, the midshipmen received briefs regarding the tactical level operational planning process there, and at other NATO commands. This visit proved vital as it served as an effective conclusion for the trip, which began at the top, NATO HQ, ending at the operational level. The ‘top-down’ structure to the trip allowed the midshipmen to gain a thorough understanding of NATO from all levels of the process.
At the trips conclusion, the LREC traveled to Brussels where their flight home awaited. During the transit, they were able to view the White Cliffs of Dover and make a quick stop in Bruges, Belgium. All in all, the trip was amazing and the midshipmen are forever grateful for the opportunity to grow as individuals while also increasing their military knowledge. Both which will serve them well in the fleet.