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Oak Hill/26th MEU En Route to Black Sea to Participate in Exercise Spring Storm
The Harpers Ferry-class amphibious dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) and embarked Marines assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) transited the Dardanelles Strait March 7, 2018, en route to the Black Sea to participate in Romanian-led amphibious exercise Spring Storm 2018.
"The Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the 26th MEU have been planning to have Oak Hill enter the Black Sea for a series of bilateral and multilateral exchanges with our regional partners as part of our deployment to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations. Oak Hill's mission in the region is to help sustain our Marines conducting bilateral exercises ashore, while also conducting maritime events that promote cooperation and interoperability ashore and at sea with partner nations. We feel privileged to execute this task and to operate in such a beautiful and important corner of the maritime commons."
- Capt. Brian Finman
deputy commodore of Iwo Jima ARG
"The 26th MEU and Oak Hill are looking forward to this opportunity to train alongside our critical NATO allies in the Black Sea. As a naval amphibious force, we represent a truly unique capability to operate at sea, from the sea and ashore spanning the littoral space that connects blue water with land. The chance to exchange tactics, techniques, and procedures with our allies and bolster our crisis response and combat readiness is vital for us in achieving the U.S. 6th Fleet commander's vision of success within the [U.S. European Command] theater. We are keenly aware that the continued presence of Navy and Marine Corps forces in the Black Sea demonstrates U.S. 6th Fleet's enduring commitment to regional stability, maritime security, and the collective defense of our NATO allies."
- Col. Farrell J. Sullivan
commanding officer of 26th MEU