By U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs
The three P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft and Combat Aircrew Two (CAC) 2 assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 9 concluded their participation in the Bulgarian Navy-led exercise Breeze 2019, July 21, 2019.
The annual Black Sea naval exercise involved units from Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Poland, Romania, Turkey, United States, and NATO’s Allied Maritime Command.
“Exercise Breeze 19 was an excellent opportunity for the Patrol Squadron (VP) 9 crew to strengthen relationships with the Bulgarian Navy and partnering nations,” said Lt. Kevin Wunderly, officer in charge of the detachment. “We were happy with the outcome of the exercise and the outstanding training it provided, knowing that as we move forward this will enhance our interoperability and improve maritime security in the Black Sea.”
This is the 23rd iteration of the annual exercise, which routinely focuses on assessing multi-national partners’ interoperability and ability to conduct regional maritime security operations in the Black Sea as well as providing a platform for evaluation of Bulgarian Navy units.
The crew participated in multiple events during their time in Varna, including a day devoted to mission planning where participating nations met to discuss the exercise and two missions. The first flight mission was an Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) event conducted in coordination with multiple naval vessels, which provided an avenue to work efficiently in a dynamic ASW environment. The second was a surface exercise event that showcase partnering nations' cooperation and mission readiness in the Black Sea region.
"It was a historic moment for the P-8 to operate out of Varna, and the crew was excited to be a part of it," said Wunderly. "We look forward to future opportunities to work alongside our Bulgarian counterparts."
VP 9 operates the P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft, capable of conducting ASW, 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 (C6F) area of responsibility and is assigned to commander, Task Force 67, responsible for tactical control of deployed maritime patrol and reconnaissance forces throughout the European and African areas of responsibility.
C6F, 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.