The guided missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG-78) left the Black Sea after a series of exercises as part of the U.S. and NATO’s ongoing presence mission in the region while forward deployed destroyer USS Ross (DDG-71) has completed a four-month European patrol.
Porter passed through the Bosphorus Strait on Friday after participating in the multi national Breeze 2015 exercise and port visits in Bulgaria.
The exercise included ships from Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) and the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 2 (SNMCMG2) — specifically Dutch frigate HNLMS Tromp (F-803) and Portuguese frigate NRP D. Francisco de Almeida (F-334). Spanish minesweeper ESPS Tajo (M-36).
“Porter’s Black Sea operations were a tremendous opportunity to collaborate with NATO and European allies, demonstrating our shared commitment to a peaceful and prosperous Europe. The Officers and crew truly enjoyed the combined nature of Exercise Breeze 2015 and our Romanian PASSEX, and they certainly expanded both personal and professional relationships,” said Cmdr. Andria L. Slough, Porter’s executive officer said in a statement from U.S. 6th Fleet.
Additionally, the U.S. Navy’s guided missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG-71) returned to Naval Station Rota, Spain following a four-month presence and ballistic missile defense (BMD) mission on Monday.
Ross — one of four forward deployed U.S. Navy guided missile destroyers to Rota — departed Spain in March for its second patrol in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.
“USS Ross’ mission within the Eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea has been critical to reaffirm The United States commitment to security and stability in the region,” said Cmdr. Tadd Gorman, Ross’ commanding officer.
“We now return to our homeport in Rota, Spain with confidence that our relationships with our NATO allies and regional partners are stronger and more developed.”
While in the Black Sea, Ross drilled with Ukrainian and Romanian ships.
Since the March 2014 seizure of Crimea by Russian forces, NATO and the U.S. have stepped up presence mission in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.