The Pacific may be a priority, but the Navy is waving a pretty big flag at Russia’s front door.
The destroyer Jason Dunham entered the Black Sea on April 3 in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, a series of NATO drills launched more than a year ago. Designed to strengthen security in response to conflict in Ukraine, a number of other ships have participated in the operation, to include the amphibious command ship Mount Whitney, frigate Taylor, cruiser Vella Gulf, and destroyers Truxtun, Donald Cook, Ross, and Cole.
The Army also deployed 750 tanks and thousands of troops to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia “to deter Russian aggression.” Moscow is none too happy with what a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman called “an unprecedentedly dangerous step.”
Meanwhile, the destroyer Porter and cruiser Anzio are running final divisional tactics maneuvers as they draw near Scotland, where they will participate in Joint Warrior, Europe’s largest military exercise — again, designed to deter Russian aggression.
The exercise features 12,000 war fighters from 15 NATO countries and partners, to include roughly 60 warships and submarines, more than 100 aircraft, and nearly 3,000 ground forces. The cruiser Vicksburg, destroyer Donald Cook, dry cargo ship Medgar Evers, and elements from Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 11 and Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 48 will also participate.
Because so many wanted to get in the game, rack space is a hot commodity on Anzio. The ship left Norfolk on March 27 with nearly 70 extra crew members from 14 commands. Porter had some extra passengers, as well, but fewer in number since the ship will homeport in Rota, Spain, when the exercise ends.