April 30 (UPI) -- The U.S. Coast Guard cutter USCGC Hamilton conducted exercises with the Turkish Navy in the Black Sea, the U.S. Navy Sixth Fleet said on Friday.
The Legend-class cutter, which entered the Black Sea this week after transiting the Atlantic Ocean earlier in April, conducted a passing exercise and cross-platform helicopter operations with the Turkish Navy's Yavuz-class TCG Turgutreis.
Turkey and the United States are NATO allies.
Helicopters from both nations landed on flight decks of each other's vessels, with a Bell UH-1 Iroquois helicopter of Turkey arriving on the Hamilton as a U.S. Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter landed on Turgutries.
"These maneuvers and operations enhanced both vessels ability to communicate and conduct precise ship handling," a Sixth Fleet statement said.
The deployment of three Coast Guard ships, including the Hamilton, is indicative of a new Navy/Coast Guard joint strategy which emphasizes the law enforcement operations of the Coast Guard.
It also employs Coast Guard assets for missions previously reserved for the Navy. The other two ships which left Puerto Rico with the Hamilton, the Sentinel-class fast response cutters USCGC Charles Moulthrope and USCGC Robert Goldman, will be homeported in Bahrain.
The training was monitored by Russia's Black Sea Fleet, the Russian National Defense Control Center said, noting that the transit of the Hamilton was the first time a vessel of that class appeared in the Black Sea since 2008.
"The Black Sea forces and means have begun monitoring the actions of USCGC Hamilton, which entered the Black Sea on April 27," the Center said.