Sea Shield 21 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.
"Our sailors continue executing at a high level to accomplish all tasking that is given to us, so it is great to reward them with well-deserved time off,” said Cmdr. Chuck Spivey, Laboon’s commanding officer. “Laboon’s visit further strengthens the strong relationship between the United States and NATO Allies and our continued operations together in support of security and stability in the 6th fleet AOR.”
Laboon is the fifth U.S. Navy ship to visit the Black Sea in 2021. In addition to U.S. Navy ship visits, U.S. Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) Hamilton (WMSL 753) departed the Black Sea May 14 following operations with Black Sea partner navies and coast guards in support of maritime security and law. Laboon’s time in the Black Sea is focused on enhancing regional maritime stability, combined readiness, and naval capability.
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.
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 Laboon 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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