Yesterday we reported that with the US aircraft carrier, CVN-77 George H.W. Bush, anchoring in Piraeus, Greece, an unnamed US warship had been granted permission by Turkey to cross the Bosphorus and enter the Black Sea. There was speculation it may be the carrier itself, even though such a crossing would be forbidden by the Montreaux Convention. Today we have the answer: it is not CVN-77, but one of the ships from its aircraft carrier strike group - the guided-missile destroyer USS Truxton, which as the clip below shows, just departed the Greek port of Souda Bay earlier today.
A U.S. guided-missile destroyer is bound for the Black Sea in what the Navy calls a routine visit unrelated to events in Ukraine.
The USS Truxtun, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer with about 300 sailors on board, departed Greece early Thursday, said a spokesman for U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa in Naples.
The Truxtun is part of the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group, which recently entered the Mediterranean and is training with regional navies before continuing to the Middle East. The group also includes Carrier Air Wing 8, the destroyer USS Roosevelt and the cruiser USS Philippine Sea.
But lest someone think that just like Russia's ICBM test coming at a most inopportune time, this move has anything to do with Ukraine tensions, the US Navy would like to frame the situation in a far more amicable manner:
The ship is scheduled to train with Romanian and Bulgarian naval forces for an unspecified period of time, conducting joint maneuvers and landing aircraft on ships. The spokesman, Lt. Shawn Eklund, said the visit is unrelated to Russia’s recent incursion into Ukraine. "Truxtun’s operations in the Black Sea were scheduled well in advance of her departure from the U.S.,” he said.
Well of course they were. But just in case not sending a missile destroyer into the Black Sea would be seen as a way to avoid escalations, it is best to make sure such confusion is avoided entirely.
For a brief glimpse of the truth behind the real purpose of this trip, we also find the destroyer will join the USS Taylor as the only two U.S. vessels inside the Black Sea during a period of heightened tensions. A a reminder, the Taylor, a guided-missile frigate, remains moored in Samsun, Turkey, after it ran aground in February - good thing it did not have to defend the "free world" from all those Sochi terrorists that America was convinced will blow everything up.
So what does a ship departing for the Black Sea for what may or may not be simple drills with friendly naval forces? The answer can be found in the clip below.