The forward deployed guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) departed the Black Sea, April 24.
Donald Cook’s presence was an example of the U.S. Navy’s commitment to enhancing interoperability at sea, serving as a cornerstone of NATO’s military strength, while demonstrating the U.S. and allied forces’ capability to provide the right presence, in the right place, at the right time.
“While in the Black Sea, Donald Cook reassured our allies of the United States’ commitment to the region, conducting a port visit and exercises at sea with the Romanian navy and the Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Taylor (FFG 50)”, said the U.S. Navy in its release.
“We were able to conduct a variety of exercises with not only our Romanian partners, but also with USS Taylor, who will be operating in the area,” said Cmdr. Scott Jones, commanding officer of Donald Cook. “These exercises were invaluable to us, as well as our Romanian partners.”
Donald Cook arrived in Constanta, Romania, April 14. The crew welcomed aboard Romanian President Traian Bsescu, who toured the ship, including the Navigation Bridge, Combat Information Center and Engineering Control spaces.
During the visit, Jones stated that operating in the Black Sea had been an incredible opportunity to strengthen ties and improve interoperability with Romania.
“We feel that this is an important time to demonstrate our resolve and shared commitment with NATO; we also believe that this is the time to maintain the right presence where it matters to promote peace and stability,” said Jones.
The day before her scheduled departure from the Black Sea, Donald Cook conducted a surface exercise with Taylor and the Romanian navy ships ROS Regina Maria (F 222) and ROS Marasesti (F 111). The exercise consisted of a simulated attack by small, fast attack craft, requiring exercise participants to work in close communication with each other to repel the simulated attack.
“We were fortunate to have the opportunity to embark Romanian navy personnel to carefully plan and coordinate with during our operations in the Black Sea,” said Jones. “Their presence strengthened our personal and professional ties. We look forward to our continued partnership.”
The Romanian sailors embarked Donald Cook, and conducted a visit, board, search and seizure exercise aboard the ship. The sailors simulated boarding a ship and controlling it, while also ensuring the safety of its crew and any passengers.
The U.S. Navy, on a normal and routine basis, operates ships in the Black Sea consistent with the Montreux Convention and International Law.
Donald Cook is deployed in a multi-mission role in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations to contribute to regional maritime security, conduct bilateral and multilateral training missions, and to support NATO operations and deployments throughout the region.
Donald Cook, the first of four Arleigh Burke-class destroyers to be forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, is serving on a scheduled patrol in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations as part of the President’s Phased Adaptive Approach to European ballistic missile defense.
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 partners in order to advance security and stability in Europe and Africa.
Press Release, April 25, 2014; Image: US Navy