Guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) hosted a reception in Odessa, Ukraine, during Exercise Sea Breeze 2012, July 9.
The reception was an opportunity for the ship to host military and civilian guests and celebrate the start of Exercise Sea Breeze 2012, the largest multinational maritime exercise in the Black Sea.
While speaking to assembled guests during the reception, Vice Adm. Frank C. Pandolfe, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, and commander, Striking and Support Forces NATO, said Sea Breeze was an exciting opportunity for all participating nations.
“Sea Breeze brings our great nations together to build upon our maritime capabilities and enhance our interoperability,” said Pandolfe. “We’ll do that by working side-by-side, on land, in the air, and at sea, becoming familiar with each other’s military operating procedures and practices. We’ll build common understanding and common tactics for tackling the most difficult security challenges. We’ll build upon partnerships that lead to increased understanding and interoperability…and all that leads to enhanced security in this vital region of the world.”
Head of the Ukrainian navy, Vice Adm. Yuri Ilyin said Ukraine considered Sea Breeze to be very important.
“The challenges that face the world are the same in all countries,” said Ilyin. “For regional maritime safety, we can’t underestimate the importance of these exercises.”
The event was held on the flight deck and the ship’s supply department set up, served and catered the entire event.
“We have a lot of young guys working in our department, but they have a lot of talent and desire to always do their best,” said Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Paul Brown. “Every time we host a reception, it’s different, but our guys are extremely flexible and always step up to do what has to be done. I’m very proud of what they accomplished tonight.”
During Jason Dunham’s visit to Odessa, crew members will have opportunities to participate in tours coordinated through the ship’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation committee and community relations project.
Sea Breeze 2012, co-hosted by the Ukrainian and U.S. navies, aims to improve maritime safety, security and stability engagements in the Black Sea by enhancing the capabilities of Partnership for Peace and Black Sea regional maritime security forces.
Jason Dunham is on a regularly scheduled deployment in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility.
Naval Today Staff, July 12, 2012; Image: U.S.Navy