Dec. 2 (UPI) -- The USS Donald Cook returned from its patrol of the Black Sea, the Navy said Wednesday, the seventh U.S. warship to conduct exercises in the sea this year.
It returned to the Aegean Sea, an arm of the Mediterranean Sea, through the straits near Istanbul after conducting exercises with the NATO Air Command.
The exercise included a U.S. P-8A surveillance plane, CF-188 Hornet planes of the Royal Canadian Air Force and a NATO E3A AWACS early warning plane.
"Welcome to the Aegean #USSDonaldCook," U.S. Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey R. Pyatt said on social media.
The ship is based in Rota, Spain, and is part of the Navy's Forward Deployed Naval Forces-Europe, an element of the 6th Fleet.
"Our Black Sea visit enhanced our relationships with NATO allies and other partners in the region," said Cmdr. Kelley Jones, commander of the USS Donald Cook.
"We are especially grateful for the Bulgarian hospitality we experienced in Varna," Jones said, referring to a Thanksgiving celebration on a pier during a refueling stop.
Another 6th Fleet vessel, the fast-attack submarine, the USS Seawolf, visited Gibraltar, on the western end of the Mediterranean Sea, on Tuesday.