By Bataan Amphibious Ready Group/26th Marine Expeditionary Unit Public Affairs
The Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) began its southbound transit from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, June 25, after conducting maritime security operations alongside the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78).
While in the Black Sea, the Oak Hill and Porter conducted maneuvering operations at sea with the Bulgarian corvette BGS Reshitelni (13), Romanian frigate ROS Regina Maria (F222), Turkish corvette TCG Kinaliada (F-514), before conducting additional operations alongside multiple cutters from the Georgia Coast Guard.
Oak Hill is part of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), which also includes the flagship Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) and the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21), which are operating in the Mediterranean Sea.
“The maneuvering operations conducted by USS Oak Hill and USS Porter with our valued partners in the Black Sea exercises close coordination between partner militaries, building and maintaining the familiar relationships necessary for seamless integration in the future as we pursue shared goals of peace and stability in this region,” said Capt. Lance Lesher, commander of the Bataan ARG. “Our operations alongside NATO allies and partners in the Black Sea highlight the inherent flexibility and capability of our naval forces to maintain the right presence where we need it, whenever we need it.”
Oak Hill entered the Black Sea on June 18, where it joined Porter to strengthen interoperability with NATO allies and partners and demonstrate the collective resolve to Black Sea security.
Oak Hill’s entrance represented the fourth time a U.S. Navy ship has entered the Black Sea in 2020.
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.