By U.S. Sixth Fleet Public Affairs
BLACK SEA – The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116) transited from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, concluding its recent Black Sea operations in support of NATO Allies and partners in the region, March 23, 2021.
Thomas Hudner entered the Black Sea on March 20, 2021 to conduct presence operations and participate in a multinational naval exercise hosted by Romania, Sea Shield 21, which included ships from nine different nations conducting operations across the entire spectrum of naval warfare.
"Our trip to the Black Sea was very productive,” said Cmdr. Bo Mancuso, commanding officer, USS Thomas Hudner. “We are excited to have been part of a continual integration of air and maritime units operating across the U.S. European Command area of responsibility for establishing air and maritime superiority and to continue enabling freedom of navigation in all international waters and airspace.”
Thomas Hudner also operated alongside USS Monterey (CG 61) during Sea Shield 21.
The Black Sea is a critical waterway for maritime commerce and stability in Europe. Combined operations in the Black Sea will strengthen interoperability between NATO 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.
The U.S. Navy routinely operates ships in the Black Sea consistent with the Montreux Convention and International Law.
Sea Shield 2021 is an annual Romanian-led multinational naval exercise in the Black Sea focused on enhancing interoperability between U.S. and participating nations, emphasizing anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, anti-air warfare, and mine countermeasures mission sets.
Maritime forces from Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Standing NATO Maritime Group TWO, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and Ukraine are scheduled to participate in Sea Shield 2021.
USS Thomas Hudner is deployed as part of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (IKECSG), 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.