The at-land phase of the Sea Breeze 2016 exercise started from amphibious landing of forces in a defined region in south of Odessa region.
The exercise seeks to create realistic training that will allow forces to execute air defense, anti-submarine warfare, damage control, search and rescue, and other missions in support of maritime security and regional stability. Sea Breeze is a multinational exercise co-hosted by the U.S. and Ukraine Navies.
A joint Ukrainian-Moldovan-Georgian unit and United States Marine Infantry Corps unit landed from Yuriy Olefirenko amphibious assault ship and USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41) respectively. About 70 Ukrainian marines landed from aircrafts.
Lt. Col. Hennadiy Sheremet explained some details of these maneuvers. According to him, actions of the multinational military group are aimed to work out tactical skills and cohesion during landing, fighting enemy’s sabotage-reconnaissance groups, etc. In the framework of the active phase, the Ukrainian party organized aviation support of forces landing; the ships of participating nations covered landing groups from the sea.
According to a US Marine Corps serviceman, these maneuvers give additional experience and practice in landing on narrow beaches.
Military of the international unit also will move to a defined region, guard key facilities, equip checkpoints, etc.
This year’s exercise will cost $4.5 million, not including cost of U.S. ship participation, and is primarily funded by the European Reassurance Initiative (ERI).
U.S. participation includes approximately 400 Sailors, dock landing ship USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41), guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71), a P-3C Orion (antisubmarine and maritime surveillance) aircraft, members of the Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team (FAST) and embarked Marines aboard USS Whidbey Island among others.