By Lt. j. g. John Tersoni
| May 21, 2019
Lt. Steven Gerard, the VP-9 officer in charge (OIC) for exercise Sea Shield 2019, stands in front of a P-8A with two Romanian ground crew personnel and a Romanian Air Force representative. Exercise Sea Shield takes place in the Black Sea and is designed to improve the interoperability and proficiency of allied partners. (Photo by Lt. j. g. John Tersoni)
Sailors assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 9 participated in exercise Sea Shield 2019 out of Constanta, Romania, during their first week of deployment under commander, Task Force (CTF) 67, April 5-14, 2019.
Exercise Sea Shield takes place in the Black Sea and is designed to improve the interoperability and proficiency of allied partners. Since 2015, this exercise has been held in Romania to provide the opportunity for multiple nations to enhance maritime relationships. This year, the multinational exercise involved forces from Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
“We operate in this area all the time,” mentioned Naval Aircrewman (Operator) 3rd Class Jacob Dunagan, an electronic warfare operator assigned to VP-9. “It is the one of ways we assist our allies and provide a presence in the region.”
In support of the exercise, VP-9 sent a crew to participate in two days of flights in the Western Black Sea. The flights focused on honing tactical skills and interoperability of both the
VP-9 aircrew and the participating nations’ maritime forces.
“It’s all about the team mentality,” said Lt. j. g. Christina Barwick, a pilot with the VP-9 “Golden Eagles.” “Working with our partner nations is a great way to showcase how quickly and efficiently we can respond should they call upon us to assist with emerging forces in the area.”
VP-9 helps maintain the United States’ forward presence in the Black Sea, and along with NATO and regional partners, ensures all parties have the right to operate freely, safely, and professionally therein, in accordance with the Montreux Convention and international law.
VP-9 operates the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft capable of conducting anti-submarine warfare, maritime domain awareness, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, anti-surface warfare, and search and rescue missions. The squadron is forward deployed to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility and is currently assigned to CTF 67, responsible for tactical control of deployed maritime patrol and reconnaissance squadrons throughout the European and African areas of responsibility.