BLACK SEA – The guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) completed the underway training portion of Exercise Sea Breeze 2012 (SB12), July 19.
During the training, Jason Dunham and Ukrainian naval vessels Hetman Sahaydachniy (U 130) and Konstantin Olshansky (U 402) participated in ship handling, underway replenishment, towing, live-fire, boarding, and flight operations exercises with other participating nations.
Cmdr. David A. Bretz, commanding officer of Jason Dunham, said his crew exceeded his own expectations during the exercises.
“Sea Breeze 2012 challenged the crew in many areas, but they responded in true Jason Dunham fashion by focusing on their mission and completing every task,” said Cmdr. Bretz. “We are proud to have been able to take part in Sea Breeze 2012 with all of the participating nations, and are especially proud to have been able to co-host the event with our Ukrainian partners.”
The underway schedule for SB12 was intense, especially for Jason Dunham’s deck division, which played a role in nearly every evolution.
“In the last few days, these guys have experienced a very high operational tempo, but they always come to work and get their job done,” said Ensign Andrew Pfarner, deck division officer. “They all realize how much their jobs impact the ship and what it accomplishes and they take a lot of pride in that.”
In addition, Jason Dunham’s boarding team worked together with the Ukrainian navy boarding team to conduct an at-sea vessel inspection exercise.
Logisitics Specialist 3rd Class Cody Weaver, a Jason Dunham boarding team member, said the exercise illustrated how two teams with different methods of operation can lead to similar results.
“It was really interesting to see how the Ukrainians went about their jobs,” said Weaver. “They do things in a different way, but they were very effective and communicated well.”
SB12 presented challenges many service members had never participated before, making the exercise a remarkable learning experience.
Seaman Mariela Garcia said SB12 was a whirlwind of learning and activity.
“I only came aboard right before deployment and have never been a part of many of the operations we conducted in the last two days,” said Garcia. “I feel like I learned a lot and it makes me proud to be a part of something like this.”
SB12, co-hosted by the Ukrainian and U.S. navies, aims to improve maritime safety, security and stability engagements in the Black Sea by enhancing the capabilities of Partnership for Peace and Black Sea regional maritime security forces.