Guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun (DDG 103) partnered with regional NATO allies Romania and Bulgaria for a passing exercise (PASSEX) in the Black Sea, March 19, to enhance maritime capabilities between these countries.
The exercise allowed Truxtun and the Romanian navy the opportunity to conduct a series of communication drills and data-sharing exercises to improve the interoperability of allied units.
“Truxtun is operating in the Black Sea in order to improve interoperability, increase readiness and develop professional and personal relationships with our allies,” said Cmdr. Andrew Biehn, Truxtun’s commanding officer. “This PASSEX demonstrates that we share a commitment to promote a peaceful and stable Europe.”
The highlight of the PASSEX involved Romanian special operations personnel and Truxtun’s visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) team exchanging their respective tactics, techniques and procedures. Cooperative training events such as these are meant to enhance the participants’ abilities to conduct multilateral maritime interdiction operations (MIO).
“Multilateral exercises are truly where the rubber meets the road for us and our allies,” said Biehn. “Improving how we train together will improve how we fight together as an alliance.”
During the PASSEX, Truxtun embarked Bulgarian naval cadets who observed and participated in a series of training events meant to enhance what the midshipmen are learning in the classroom. The future officers also enjoyed tours around the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer as well as time with Truxtun’s junior officers.
“It’s not enough for us to talk about partnerships. We need to show our commitment; demonstrate to our allies why partnerships matter,” said Lt. Catherine Reppert, Truxtun’s operations officer. “These types of exercises afford all the opportunity to learn from each other and develop lasting friendships.”
Truxtun is currently on a scheduled deployment to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations as a component of Carrier Strike Group 2, centered on the USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77).
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts a full range of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation missions in concert with coalition, joint, interagency, and other parties in order to advance security and stability in Europe and Africa.
Press Release, March 20, 2014; Image: US Navy