BLACK SEA – The Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) conducted an underway engagement with the Ukrainian navy ship UKRS Hetman Sahaidachny (U130), Jan. 11, 2015.
The purpose of Donald Cook’s presence in the Black Sea is to reassure NATO allies and regional partners of United States’ commitment to working closely with them to enhance maritime security and stability in the region.
“We both got valuable training from today’s exercise that helped us better understand how [the Ukrainian navy] operates while building partnerships and enhancing theater security.”
- Lt. j.g. Anthony Melendez-Diaz, USS Donald Cook assistant operations officer.
- The U.S. Navy routinely operates ships in the Black Sea consistent with the Montreux Convention and under the domain of International Law.
- Underway engagements such as this are often referred to as passing exercises (PASSEX), and consists 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.
- Donald Cook first conducted a ship-to-ship passenger transfer using a seven-meter rigid hull inflatable boat.
- Four Ukrainian sailors came aboard Donald Cook for a pre-sail conference and a brief tour.
- Later, five Donald Cook Sailors were transported to the Hetman Sahaidachny to complete the exchange.
- Donald Cook also conducted a series of division-tactic maneuvers directed by junior officers to allow them the opportunity to learn and employ a variety of skills, in an unfamiliar operating environment.
- The PASSEX concluded with a simulated asymmetric-threat defense event with a low flying helicopter from the Hetman Sahaidachny.
- USS Donald Cook (DDG 75), forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, is on a routine patrol conducting naval operations with allies and partners in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in order to advance security and stability in Europe.
- 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.