By Mass Communication Specialist Kyle Stecler
Exercise Sea Breeze 2019 kicked off following opening ceremonies in Odesa, Ukraine, July 1.
Sea Breeze, now in its 19th iteration, will run through July 12 and is designed to enhance interoperability among participating nations and strengthen regional security by focusing on a variety of security and stability scenarios in the areas of land, sea and air.
“The United States Navy, along with 18 of our closest friends, allies, and partners, are here to continue the Sea Breeze exercise series,” said Capt. Matthew Lehman, commodore of Task Force 65 and U.S. exercise director. “Exercises like this show the world that the U.S. stands with our NATO allies and partners here in Europe. The goal is quite simple: to train and work together, side by side, and to ensure a Europe that is whole, free, prosperous, and at peace.”
Ukrainian Rear Adm. Alexey Neizhpapa, the exercise director for Ukraine, echoed Lehman’s comments, highlighting how effort put in by all participants brought them closer together.
“Thanks to long-term engagement and mutual cooperation, we have a great family called ‘Sea Breeze,’” said Neizhpapa.
Ukraine and U.S. are cohosting the exercise in the Black Sea with participation and support coming from 17 other countries to include: Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.
“If you look around, you will see Ukrainian, Georgian, Turkish, Moldovan, Romanian, and Bulgarian sailors who represent almost every Black Sea nation,” said Lehman. “That is a lot of friends to have in one place, especially in the Black Sea where maritime security, the rule of law, and the international order are critical to economic prosperity and regional peace. One day, like years before, I hope that every Black Sea country will see the benefit of working with one’s neighbors toward regional peace.”
Some of the training areas include maritime interdiction operations, air defense, special forces training, anti-submarine warfare, damage control tactics, search and rescue, amphibious warfare, and a noncommissioned officer leadership course to include training in operational planning.
U.S. participation includes the Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64), the expeditionary fast-transport ship USNS Yuma (T-EPF 8), a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, U.S. Marines from Marine Rotational Force-Europe, Navy Underwater Construction Team UCT-1B, and members of the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and U.S. 6th Fleet staff.
U.S. 6th Fleet conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, to advance U.S. national interests, security and stability in Europe and Africa.