ODESSA, Ukraine (NNS) -- Vice Adm. Christopher W. Grady, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Ms. Marie Yovanovitch hosted a reception aboard the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Hue City (CG 66), July 15, during exercise Sea Breeze 2017.
Sea Breeze is an annual recurring exercise that focuses on a variety of warfare areas to include maritime interdiction operations, air defense, anti-submarine warfare, damage control tactics, search and rescue, and amphibious warfare.
The reception provided the opportunity for Grady and other distinguished guests to celebrate the successes from the 17th iteration of exercise Sea Breeze. The participating nations of Sea Breeze have completed the first phase of the exercise, consisting of regimented training evolutions. Phase two is set to commence later this week, and will consist of more open-ended, free-play exercises.
"We are truly stronger together," said Grady. "Annual, multinational maritime exercises like Sea Breeze help us 'keep our cutlass sharp' and strengthen our combined teams across all domains of the battle space."
During the reception, Grady and Yovanovitch hosted more than 400 distinguished guests, to include Her Majesty's Ambassador to Ukraine Judith Gough, Greek Ambassador to Ukraine Georgios Poukamissas, Republic of India Ambassador to Ukraine Manoj Kumar Bharti, and Commander of the Ukrainian Navy Vice Adm. Ihor Voronchenko, along with other distinguished guests and commanding officers of participating ships.
"Sea Breeze has already been a huge success," said Capt. Dan Gillen, commanding officer, USS Hue City. "This opportunity to train and operate with our allies and regional partners has been imperative to maintaining the progress developed over the past 17 iterations of Sea Breeze. This year has been the largest and most complex exercise to date and all nations have performed flawlessly."
Following the exercise, Hue City will continue to conduct maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations as part of the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group (GHWBCSG).
GHWBCSG is comprised of the staff of Carrier Strike Group 2, Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), the nine squadrons and staff of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8, Destroyer Squadron 22 staff, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Laboon (DDG 58) and USS Truxtun (DDG 103), and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) and Hue City.
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For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/naveur/.