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By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Will Hardy
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) conducted an underway replenishment (UNREP) with the Henry J. Kaiser-class fleet replenishment oiler USNS Laramie (T-AO 203) in the Black Sea, Jan. 29.
The underway replenishment demonstrates the U.S. Navy’s operational logistics capability to remain on station to ensure maritime security. Donald Cook is one of three U.S. Navy ships operating concurrently in the Black Sea in 2021, alongside Laramie and USS Porter (DDG 78).
“Taking fuel at sea is the most concrete way for us to sustain independent operations,” said Cmdr. Matt Curnen, commanding officer of Donald Cook. “While the execution of this underway replenishment was business as usual for the crew, the greater implications for U. S. Navy operations in the Black Sea were anything but usual. It’s a new operational model in a new year.”
Both Donald Cook and Porter entered the Black Sea 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).
The three ships will continue 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.
The Black Sea is a critical waterway for maritime commerce and stability in Europe and combined operations in the Black Sea will strengthen interoperability between NATO partners and allies, including Turkey, Ukraine, Georgia, Bulgaria and Romania. Black Sea operations also demonstrate the U. S. Navy’s commitment to peace and security in the U.S. Sixth Fleet Area of Responsibility.
Donald Cook, forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, is on her 11th patrol in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations in support of regional allies and partners and U.S. national security in Europe and Africa.
Four U.S. Navy destroyers, including Donald Cook, are 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.
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.