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Oak Hill/26th MEU En Route to Black Sea to Participate in Exercise Spring Storm

March 7, 2018 at 7:13 AM UTC
USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) Public Affairs

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 exercise serves to strengthen combined readiness and naval capability among regional allies and partners.


"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

Quick Facts: 
Exercise Spring Storm 2018 will take place March 8-15, and is designed to enhance U.S.-Romania combat proficiency and strengthen the interoperability of maritime forces. The exercise will take place in the vicinity of Constanta, Romania.
The U.S. Navy routinely operates in the Black Sea consistent with the Montreux Convention and international law.
This operation is in support of our NATO allies in Eastern Europe and falls under Operation Atlantic Resolve.
Oak Hill, homeported in Little Creek, Virginia, and part of the Iwo Jima ARG, along with embarked Marines from the 26th MEU, entered the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations on Feb. 26, 2018, and are conducting naval operations with allies and partners to advance security and stability in the European region.
Iwo Jima ARG is composed of Amphibious Squadron 4, the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21), and Oak Hill.
The 26th MEU, based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, is comprised of a Command Element, the Ground Combat Element, the Aviation Combat Element (ACE), and the Logistics Combat Element.
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.