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NEWS | Jan. 28, 2021

Second U.S. Destroyer enters Black Sea, Operates alongside NATO AIRCOM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Damon Grosvenor

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) entered the Black Sea on a routine patrol, January 28, 2021, while conducting multi-domain operations with a U.S. Navy P-8A aircraft from Patrol Squadron VP-46 and NATO Air Command aircraft E-3A Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS).

Porter joins USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) and the Henry J. Kaiser-class underway replenishment oiler, USNS Laramie (T-AO-203) in the Black Sea to maintain maritime security alongside other NATO Allies and partners. The ships’ combined operations further strengthen interoperability and demonstrate resolve to Black Sea peace and security.

“Porter is excited to be back in the Black Sea demonstrating our continued commitment to security and stability in the region with our NATO Allies and partners,” said Cmdr. Thomas Ralston, commanding officer of Porter. “The crew and I look forward to enhancing our combined readiness and naval capability.”

Porter’s multi-domain operations with AIRCOM build upon Donald Cook’s similar operations during its entry into the Black Sea earlier this month, part of a continual integration of air and maritime units operating across the U.S. European Command area of responsibility. The ultimate goal of these operations is to refine joint air defense procedures to better defend U.S. Navy ships. Participants conducted scenarios to establish air and maritime superiority, which enable freedom of navigation in all international waters and airspace.

“Every time our adversary changes how they operate, we stay one step ahead of them,” said Capt. Joseph Gagliano, Commander, Task Force 65. “We maintain control of the sea by drawing from the best capabilities of the NATO alliance, and together we are guaranteeing stability in the Black Sea.”

Porter, forward-deployed at Naval Station Rota, Spain, is conducting naval operations in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe. The U.S. Navy routinely operates in the Black Sea consistent with international law, including the Montreux Convention.

Porter is one of four U.S. Navy destroyers based in Rota, Spain, and assigned to Commander, Task Force 65 in support of NATO’s Integrated Air Missile Defense architecture. These Forward-Deployed Naval Forces-Europe ships have the flexibility to operate throughout the waters of Europe and Africa, from the Cape of Good Hope to the Arctic Circle, demonstrating their mastery of the maritime domain.

Patrol Squadron (VP) 46 belongs to Task Force 67 which is composed of land-based maritime patrol aircraft that operate over the waters of the Mediterranean in anti-submarine, reconnaissance, surveillance, and mining roles. Task Force 67′s official mission is to provide responsive, interoperable, and expeditionary combat ready maritime patrol aircraft and supporting forces to U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa and U.S. Sixth Fleet.

U.S. Sixth 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.