By U.S. Sixth Fleet Public Affairs
The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) transited from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, concluding its recent Black Sea operations and its participation in the Romanian-led exercise Sea Shield 2021, March 24, 2021.
Monterey entered the Black Sea on March 19, 2021 to conduct presence operations in the and participate in a multinational naval exercise hosted by Romania, Sea Shield 21, which included ships for nine different nations conducting operations across the entire spectrum of naval warfare.
“Our operations in the Black Sea demonstrate our commitment to NATO partners and supported the provision of stability in the maritime environment through reassuring presence of an active naval force to deter destabilizing activity,” said Capt. Joseph A. Baggett, commanding officer, USS Monterey (CG 61). “Our operations in this strategic waterway were professional, timely and critical to enabling global operations that serve to counter malign influence. It was an absolute honor and a pleasure for us to be a part of these important operations and I could not be prouder of how my Sailors performed. The men and women of Monterey are truly the best in the Navy and I am humbled every single day by their determination and commitment to excellence.”
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.
Monterey operated alongside USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116) during Sea Shield 21 and also had a brief stop in Constanta, Romania to receive fuel.
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.
USS Monterey 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.
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