The U.S. Navy’s Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) and embarked Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26th MEU) arrived in Batumi March 17, 2018, for a scheduled port visit.
Strengthening alliances during the visit to Batumi demonstrates a shared commitment to promote security and stability within the region, while seeking unique opportunities to enhance our interoperability with our partners in the Black Sea.
“I have waited my entire naval career to visit the Black Sea and am very excited that the USS Oak Hill and the embarked Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit are visiting Batumi, Georgia. We are incredibly fortunate to be visiting a city as beautiful and culturally rich as Batumi. We look forward to learning more about Batumi and our Georgian partners, further building upon our foundation of mutual respect”, said Capt. Brian Finman, Deputy Commodore of Amphibious Ready Group 4.
From March 8 to 15, Oak Hill and the embarked members of the 26th MEU participated in the amphibious assault exercise Spring Storm 2018. Spring Storm is a Romanian-led exercise in the Black Sea to enhance amphibious operations and staff interoperability between Romanian and U.S. naval forces.
Oak Hill entered the Black Sea to demonstrate the U.S. commitment to the collective defense of our NATO allies and partners. This naval operation is in support of our NATO allies in eastern Europe and falls under Operation Atlantic Resolve.
The U.S. Navy routinely operates in the Black Sea consistent with the Montreux Convention and international law.
USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) is one of the U.S. Navy’s dock landing ships, designed to provide amphibious assault capabilities and fast response with an embarked landing force.
Oak Hill, homeported in Little Creek, Virginia, and part of the Iwo Jima Amphibious Readiness Group (ARG), along with embarked Marines from the 26th MEU, entered the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations on Feb. 26, 2018, and are conducting naval operations with allies and partners to advance security and stability in the European region.
Iwo Jima ARG is composed of Amphibious Squadron 4, the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21), and Oak Hill. The 26th MEU, based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, is comprised of a Command Element (CE), the Ground Combat Element (GCE), the Aviation Combat Element (ACE), and the Logistics Combat Element (LCE).
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.
Ensign Cody L. Keim