By U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) arrived in Varna, Bulgaria for exercise Breeze 2021, July 11, 2021.
Ross and one P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance aircraft assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 40 will participate in Breeze along with partners and Allies from 13 other nations from July 11-19, 2021.
The Bulgarian-led, multinational exercise includes participants from Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 2 (SNMCMG 2) and Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG 2). The exercise will focus on operational and tactical interoperability, increasing interagency coordination, and refining cooperation with government and non-governmental organizations (NGO).
"BREEZE is critical to our alliance," said Capt. Joseph Gagliano, Commander, Destroyer Squadron 60 and Task Force 65. "Our commitment to maritime security and freedom of navigation depends on working with our allies in the Black Sea."
This is the 25th iteration of the annual exercise, which routinely focuses on assessing multi-national partners’ interoperability and ability to conduct regional maritime security operations in the Black Sea.
The U.S. and Bulgaria have participated in several events and exercises in the last year, including the Ukrainian and U.S. Sixth Fleet-led exercise Sea Breeze 2021 and the Romanian-led exercise Sea Shield 2021. In June 2021, the U.S. Naval Forces Europe Maritime Partnership Program also co-hosted the 3rd annual Eurasia Partnership Shiphandling Event with the Nikola Vaptsarov Naval Academy, a collaborative maritime-focused training designed to share best practices in the conduct of surface warfare operations and foster professional relationships amongst NATO Allies and partner nations.
The U.S. has entered the Black Sea six times in the last year, including a visit from the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) Hamilton. Most recently, Ross entered the Black Sea, June 26, to participate in the 21st iteration of exercise Sea Breeze. The Black Sea is a critical waterway for maritime commerce and stability throughout Europe and the U.S. Navy routinely operates in the Black Sea to work with our NATO Allies and partners, including Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Turkey, and Ukraine.
Ross, 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.