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USS Donald Cook departs Batumi, Georgia
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) departed Batumi, Georgia, Jan. 25, 2019, following a scheduled port visit.
Upon the ship’s arrival, city and military officials greeted the crew and held an arrival ceremony featuring a traditional Georgian dance on the pier. Following the performance Cmdr. Matthew Powel, commanding officer of Donald Cook, gave remarks to the local media.
The official party from the ship then made office calls with Tornike Rijvadaze, Chairman of the Adjara Government, visited the Batumi Coast Guard base, and participated in a traditional Georgian ‘supra’ luncheon.
“I want to thank the city of Batumi for the outstanding hospitality, we were well received from the moment we arrived,” said Cmdr. Kelly Jones, executive officer of Donald Cook.
During the port visit, Sailors participated in a sports day, playing basketball and soccer, against their Georgian coast guard counterparts. Afterward, over 20 Donald Cook Sailors volunteered alongside the local community in a tree-planting community relations project.
Donald Cook also provided guided tours for National Defense Academy students, Georgian coast guard senior leaders, and Ross Wilson, U.S. Ambassador to Georgia. Following the tours, the ship hosted a reception featuring the ambassador.
“The past few days we had an incredible time taking in the traditions, culture, cuisine, and building lasting friendships with our Georgian counterparts,” said Jones. “We look forward to continue to increasing that partnership on the waterfront over the next few days as we begin to conduct exercises.”
Donald Cook entered the Black Sea on Jan. 19, 2019, to strengthen interoperability with NATO allies and partners and demonstrate the collective resolve to Black Sea security under Operation Atlantic Resolve.
The U.S. Navy routinely operates in the Black Sea consistent with the Montreux Convention and international law.
This is Donald Cook’s eighth forward-deployed naval forces patrol since arriving at Naval Station Rota, Spain, in February 2014. While on patrol, Donald Cook is scheduled to continue naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa.
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, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.