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By Mass Commnunication Specialist Third Class T. Logan Keown
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) arrived in Constanta, Romania, Aug. 12, 2019, for a scheduled port visit as part of our continued Black Sea presence and support to our region partners.
Since arriving in the Black Sea the ship has continued participation in the Service Academy Exchange Program (SAEP), where midshipmen from allied and partner countries the opportunity to travel to international locations and visit counterpart naval academies. This year there will be 31 semester exchange students from 12 countries to participate in the SAEP, the most since the program began in 2006. These operations enhance regional maritime stability, combined readiness and naval capability with our NATO allies and Black Sea partners.
While in port, the ship will participate in a U.S. Army vs. U.S. Navy basketball game as part of a charity event for disadvantaged families in Constanta.
This is the sixth time a U.S. Navy vessel has conducted operations in the Black Sea in 2019. The ship entered the Black Sea on Aug. 8 to strengthen interoperability with NATO allies and partners and demonstrate the collective resolve to Black Sea security.
In July, USS Carney (DDG 64) participated in exercise Sea Breeze 2019 and conducted maritime interoperability training with Standing NATO Maritime Group Two in the Black Sea. In April, USS Ross (DDG 71) conducted maritime training with Bulgaria and Georgia and a replenishment-at-sea with Turkey. In February, USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) conducted maritime interoperability training with the Turkish Yavuz-class frigate TS Fatih (F 242) and conducted a port visit to Odesa, Ukraine. In January, Donald Cook and USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) conducted port visits to Georgia and Romania, respectively.
“The crew is excited to experience the Romanian culture and everything Constanta has to offer,” said Weba Roberts, command master chief of the Porter. “One of the events we are most proud to participate in is the Army vs. Navy charity basketball game, which we will win. Go Navy beat Army!”
The U.S. Navy routinely operates in the Black Sea consistent with international law, including the Montreux Convention.
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.