AEGEAN SEA (NNS) -- The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Cole (DDG 67) departed the Black Sea Feb. 22 after a series of engagements that promoted peace and stability in the region.
Cole's presence in the Black Sea served to reaffirm U.S. commitment towards strengthening partnerships and joint operational capabilities amongst U.S., NATO and regional Black Sea partners.
"Cole's patrol was a success for us and our allies. We were able to hold four successful underway engagements with our allies and that always goes a long way in helping maintain the situational awareness we've been able to establish in the area. All the relationships we've managed to build with our allies in the area are bolstered by the closeness with which we work with them and helps prove that the U.S. is committed to peace and security of the Black Sea." - Cmdr. James Quaresimo, USS Cole (DDG 67) commanding officer
Cole entered the Black Sea in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, Feb. 8. During its time in the Black sea, Cole conducted several engagements and operations:
Cole arrived in Constanta, Romania for a scheduled port visit, Feb. 9. Cole's visit to Romania reaffirmed to NATO allies that the U.S. Navy shares a commitment to strengthening ties, while working toward mutual goals of promoting peace and stability in the Black Sea region. Scheduled engagements included official calls, a goodwill basketball game and four Romanian navy personnel embarked on the ship during follow-on operations.
Cole conducted an underway engagement with Romanian navy ships ROS Marasesti (F 111) on Feb. 13, 2015, and ROS Regina Maria (F 222) on Feb. 19, 2015.
While in the Black Sea, Cole participated in an underway engagement with Turkish naval forces TCG Yildirim (F 243) and TCG Yildiray (S 350) on Feb. 21, 2015.
Underway engagements are often referred to as passing exercises and consist of a series of at-sea scenarios designed to enhance maritime capabilities among participating nations. They typically include tactical maneuvering exercises, passenger transfers, bridge-to-bridge communication drills, and simulated threat defenses with aircraft.
Cole arrived in Varna, Bulgaria, for a scheduled refueling, Feb. 20.
Cole conducted a previous Black Sea Transit in October of 2014.
The U.S. remains committed to maintaining a persistent presence in Eastern Europe. It looks forward to further commitments with its allies to ensure a coordinated and continuous land, air and sea presence in the region as part of the commitments made at the NATO Summit.
The U.S. Navy routinely operates ships in the Black Sea consistent with the Montreux Convention and International Law.
Cole, homeported in Norfolk, is conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe. The ship deployed from Naval Station Norfolk, Aug. 22, 2014.
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint, and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.
Join the conversation on Twitter at USNavyEurope and USNavyAfrica or follow us on Facebook. While you're at it check us out on Google+
For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. 6th
Fleet, visit http://cne-cna-c6f.dodlive.mil/>.