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352nd Special Operations Wing Concludes Black Sea Operations with NATO Allies and Partners with Exercise Sea Breeze 2021

RAF MILDENHALL, United Kingdom -- --

The 352nd Special Operations Wing participated in exercise Sea Breeze 21 from June 28 to July 10, 2021. The exercise, held and co-hosted in Ukraine, aimed to build and strengthen relationships between allied and partner nations.

Sea Breeze is an annual multinational maritime exercise, which enhances NATO Special Operations Forces (SOF) capabilities through interoperability training and close integration with conventional forces. By providing specialized airlift mobility, the 352nd SOW’s CV-22B Osprey tilt-rotor aircrafts enable SOF with a unique, agile way of insertion and extraction to and from austere locations.

“Interoperability with U.S., [allied] and partner nation SOF helps ready our aircrews for contingency and combat operations,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Allen W. Labonte, 352nd Special Operations Support Squadron assistant director of operations. “Establishing relationships [by training] with component partners helps to expose our aircrews to a variety of [different] tasks and procedures.”

 This becomes a vital advantage when forces are needed anywhere, anytime, to counter the opposition.

“This [exercise] gives us a breadth of experience to rely on when called to execute in real world missions,” Labonte added.

The benefits this exercise brings has not gone unnoticed. When Sea Breeze began in 1997, only eight countries participated. Today, over 30 countries from six continents joined.

This demonstration remains a historic reminder of how the dedicated resolve of allies and partners with a common purpose and shared vision builds proven partnerships that endure.