Exercise Sea Breeze 2018 Kicks Off in Ukraine

The 18th iteration of exercise Sea Breeze kicked off following opening ceremonies in Odessa and Shiroky Lan training range, Ukraine, July 9.

Sea Breeze is designed to enhance interoperability among participating nations and strengthen regional security by focusing on a variety of warfare areas, officials said.

“This annual multinational maritime exercise has enhanced our interoperability and capabilities among participating forces,” said Navy Capt. Matthew Lehman, commodore of Task Force 65. “The exercise seeks to build combined capability and capacity to ensure regional security and foster trust among participating nations.”

Some of the training areas include maritime interdiction operations, air defense, antisubmarine warfare, damage control tactics, search and rescue, and amphibious warfare.

6th Fleet Flagship

“This year’s Sea Breeze is the first time we will take the staff to sea and embark the U.S. 6th Fleet flagship, USS Mount Whitney,” Lehman said. “We will be operating our flagship alongside our NATO allies and partner nations in the Black Sea. The maritime portion will incorporate all warfare areas to continue to build on last year’s successes while pushing the exercise to become more advanced to adhere to the ever-changing operational environment.”

U.S. participation includes the command and control ship USS Mount Whitney; the guided missile destroyer USS Porter; a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft from Patrol Squadron 10; Marines from Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment; Navy Underwater Construction Team 1 divers; and members of the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and U.S. 6th Fleet staff.

U.S. 6th Fleet conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, to advance U.S. national interests, security and stability in Europe and Africa.