Story by Petty Officer 1st Class Scott Bigley, Commander Task Force 68
OCHAKIV, Ukraine – Seabees and Sailors assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 133 participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony in Ochakiv, Ukraine, July 8, during exercise Sea Breeze 2019.
The ceremony marked the delivery of a new maritime operations center (MOC) to the Ukrainian Navy. The construction took approximately two years to complete.
“The Seabees that built the maritime operations center overcame adversity by maintaining a ‘can do’ spirit,” said Steelworker 3rd Class Caleb Bailey, assigned to NMCB 133 and site crew leader for the MOC. “This not only strengthened our partnership with Ukraine but with each other.”
Receiving the building was Ukrainian Navy Capt. Andrii Ryzhenko, deputy chief of staff of the Ukrainian Navy for Europe-Atlantic Integration.
“Years ago, it was an idea,” said Ryzhenko. “The request for United States assistance for an exercise related construction to help us rebuild has finally happened. On behalf of the men and women of the Ukrainian Navy, thank you for your contribution to our nation.”
Projects like the MOC are one piece of SB19. The exercise also includes maritime and aviation events that focus on shared learning between partner nations.
Exercise Sea Breeze is a U.S. and Ukraine co-hosted multinational maritime exercise held in the Black Sea, designed to enhance interoperability of participating nations and strengthen maritime security and peace within the region. Ukraine and U.S. are cohosting the exercise in the Black Sea with participation and support coming from 17 other countries to include: Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
In addition to NMCB 133, U.S. participation includes the Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64), the expeditionary fast-transport ship USNS Yuma (T-EPF 8), a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, U.S. Marines from Marine Rotational Force-Europe; Navy Underwater Construction Team UCT-1B, and members of the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and U.S. 6th Fleet staff.
U.S. 6th Fleet conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, to advance U.S. national interests, security and stability in Europe and Africa.