By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ford Williams, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/6th Fleet Public Affairs
DARDANELLES STRAIT (NNS) — The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) began its north-bound transit of the Dardanelles Strait, en route to the Black Sea Feb. 19 to conduct maritime security operations and enhance regional maritime stability, combined readiness, and naval capability with our NATO allies and partners in the region.
The ship last visited the Black Sea in January 2019, during which it visited Batumi, Georgia and conducted an exercise with two Georgian Coast Guard ships. During its time in port the ship’s crew was warmly received by their Georgian hosts and were greeted on the pier with an arrival ceremony that included a traditional Georgian dance.
“Each visit here affords us the unique opportunity to work with our regional maritime partners,” said Cmdr. Matthew Powel, commanding officer of Donald Cook. “The crew and I look forward to experiencing the rich history and culture in this region.”
The ship’s operations in the Black Sea will strengthen interoperability with NATO allies and partners and demonstrate collective resolve to Black Sea security under Operation Atlantic Resolve.
The U.S. Navy routinely operates in the Black Sea consistent with the Montreux Convention and international law.
Donald Cook, forward-deployed at Naval Station Rota, Spain, is conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe.
U.S. 6th 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.