ODESSA, Ukraine – John F. Tefft, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, paid a visit to USS Taylor (FFG 50) upon the ship’s return to Odessa, Ukraine, July 24.
Taylor returned to Odessa following the completion of the at-sea portion of exercise Sea Breeze 2010 to attend the closing ceremonies, during which the crew hosted Tefft and his wife for a ship’s tour and a reception.
During the tour, the ambassador congratulated Taylor’s crew on a job well done.
“I have toured many U.S. Navy vessels during my [previous] tenure as Ambassador to Georgia,” said Tefft. “I am very impressed with Taylor and her crew; she represented the United States very well during Sea Breeze.”
Tefft toured many areas of the ship, including her MK 75-76mm gun, bridge and combat information control center.
“I was incredibly proud to have met Tefft,” said Navy Information Systems Technician 1st Class Shawn Riek. “He was very impressed in our new commercial broadband satellite program system and the enhancements it has added to our internet protocol and off-ship phone capabilities.”
The tour concluded with a brief reception hosted by Navy Cmdr. Lyle Hall, Taylor’s commanding officer. During the reception, Hall presented Tefft with a ship’s plaque and command ball cap in honor of his visit.
“It was a rare opportunity to meet the ambassador,” said Navy Ensign Jennifer Gabriel, Taylor’s main propulsion officer. “He was able to really provide a unique insight into [the United States’] relationship with Ukraine and the long term benefits to exercises such as Sea Breeze.”
The ambassador and his wife, Hall, Navy Cmdr. Jeremy Hill, Taylor’s executive officer, Navy Command Master Chief Steve Allen, Taylor’s command master chief and several members of the crew then attended closing ceremonies for Sea Breeze 2010.
Taylor, an Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate homeported in Mayport, Fla., is currently on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility.