By U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa / U.S. Sixth Fleet Public Affairs
The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) entered the Black Sea on March 19, 2021 and was joined today by the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116) on a routine patrol to maintain maritime security alongside other NATO Allies and partners.
Upon entering the Black Sea, Monterey conducted multi-domain air and surface warfare integration operations with F/A-18 Super Hornets from the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group’s Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3, Turkish and U.S. Air Forces Europe and Africa KC-135s, a Navy P-8A from Commander, Task Force 67, and NATO aircraft. These operations are part of a continual integration of air and maritime units operating across the U.S. European Command area of responsibility.
“Monterey’s presence in the Black Sea reinforces our continued commitment to operate with our NATO Allies,” said Capt. Joseph A. Baggett, Commanding Officer, USS Monterey (CG 61). “Together, we enhance security and stability in the region through cooperation, understanding and collaboration. These efforts and our cooperative relationships are key in safeguarding the region’s vital links to the global economy.”
The surface ships entered the Black Sea to participate in the Romania-led exercise Sea Shield.
“This is a great opportunity for our ship to operate with our NATO Allies and partners in the Black Sea region,” said Cmdr. Bo Mancuso, commanding officer, USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116). “We are committed to security and stability in the region and are excited to enhance our combined readiness and naval capabilities.”
The ultimate goal of these operations is to refine joint air defense procedures to better defend U.S. Navy ships and establish air and maritime superiority to enable freedom of navigation in all international waters and airspace.
USS Monterey and USS Thomas Hudner are deployed as part of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (IKE CSG), supporting national security interests in Europe and increasing theater cooperation and forward naval presence in the U.S. Sixth Fleet (SIXTHFLT) area of operations.
Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group is a multiplatform team of ships, aircraft and more than 5,000 Sailors, capable of carrying out a wide variety of missions around the globe. The Navy provides a ready, flexible force capable of responding to a broad range of contingencies.
Deploying ships and aircraft of the strike group, commanded by Rear Adm. Scott Robertson, include flagship USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69); the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61); Destroyer Squadron 22 ships include Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Mitscher (DDG 57), USS Laboon (DDG 58), USS Mahan (DDG 72), and USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116).
Squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3, embarked on Eisenhower include the "Fighting Swordsmen" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 32, "Gunslingers" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 105, "Wildcats" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 131, "Rampagers" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 83; "Dusty Dogs" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 7; "Swamp Foxes" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 74; "Screwtops" of Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW) 123; "Zappers" of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 130, and a detachment from Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40 "Rawhides."
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.