Exercise Sea Breeze 2008 Concludes

Exercise Sea Breeze 2008 (SB08) concluded July 28 with a closing ceremony highlighting participants’ achievements during the 11th annual maritime exercise.

Adm. Mark P. Fitzgerald, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, attended the ceremony.

SB08, incorporating 16 countries and more than 2,000 service members, is a joint and combined maritime exercise held annually in the Black Sea and at various land-based Ukrainian training facilities with the goals of strengthening maritime security and stability, sharing information and building teamwork and mutual cooperation.

“I’d like to congratulate the 16 nations involved in Sea Breeze 2008 on an extremely well planned and conducted exercise,” said U.S. Navy Capt. John Moore, commodore, Command Task Force-367 and Sea Breeze deputy commander.

“Everyone participating in this exercise should be very proud of the level of interoperability and cooperation that was achieved among the sea, air and land components as well as among nations.”

The exercise kicked off with a training and interoperability phase to ensure participating nations were comfortable communicating with each other and working together. The exercise moved quickly into the operational phase during which more than 200 training events, or “live” operations, were conducted.

The air component, comprised of 17 aircraft from four countries, flew nearly 50 sorties. During the sorties, it completed 17 para drops of nearly 400 paratroopers, anti-submarine warfare operations and search and rescue missions.

The maritime component, comprised of 16 ships from six countries, conducted maritime interdiction operations, air warfare, search and rescue, anti-submarine warfare, amphibious operations and mine countermeasure operations.

Divers from six nations also conducted several diving missions and practiced diving with each other’s equipment to ensure full interoperability. In addition, the diving teams conducted reconnaissance near the landing area of the exercise zone and prepared the beach for the amphibious landing that was conducted in the final phase of the exercise.

The land component, based at the Shirokiy Lan training camp, included a battalion of Soldiers and Marines from four countries who conducted several training missions in urban warfare, medical evacuation, live fire, improvised explosive device detection and checkpoint operations.

“We completed the training we set out to accomplish, and we have strengthened the already strong partnerships among our countries,” said Ukrainian Adm. Viktor Maksimov.

“We look forward to next year’s exercise, and I personally invite everyone here back for Sea Breeze 2009.”

Nations participating in this 11th anniversary of Exercise Sea Breeze include host country Ukraine as well as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Canada, Denmark, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Macedonia, Norway, Romania, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.

(NNS)

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