Odessa, Ukraine - Over 220 U.S. Marines and Ukrainian forces participated in an amphibious landing operation in Odessa, Ukraine, Wednesday.

The amphibious exercise was designed to simultaneously coordinate multiple warfare elements while adapting to unpredictable environmental conditions.

"This wasn't just tracked vehicles coming ashore, we had both fixed wing and rotary aircraft providing maritime air superiority for that landing site to ensure the safety of the marines as they landed. This event was constructed so that they could not only establish a safe beachhead but also transition to the final objective which was a critical infrastructure protection drill. In a 24-hour period we saw the flawless execution of a very difficult and complex event."
-U.S. Navy Capt. Richard Dromerhauser,
Sea Breeze 2016 co-director

"The objective of the exercise was navigation through the water, going through techniques, tactics, and procedures of transitioning the Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAV) from sea mode to land mode, and interoperability with Ukrainians."
-U.S. Marine 2nd Lt. Marco Valenzuela,
22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit

"It's always good to get out here with our guys and do our training, but it's dually better to get out here with foreign countries and build relationships and share experiences."
-U.S. Marine Sgt. Spencer McGalliard,
22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit

-U.S. Marines from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) attached to USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41) participated in the exercise.

-15 Amphibious Assault Vehicles launched from Whidbey Island established a safe beach then moved inland and set up a defensive position around a bridge during a critical infrastructure protection drill.

-Sea Breeze, now in its 15th iteration, began in 1997 as an annual exercise held in the Black Sea and is co-hosted by Ukraine and the United States. The exercise seeks to enhance interoperability with Black Sea and regional partners and strengthen regional security through air, land and sea components, which tests forces' capabilities throughout the full spectrum of operations. Sea Breeze 2016 forces will undergo training both ashore and at sea.

- The exercise seeks to create realistic training that will allow forces to execute air defense, anti-submarine warfare, damage control, search and rescue, and other missions in support of maritime security and regional stability.

-Approximately 2,300 personnel from 13 nations are scheduled to participate in this year's exercise.

-U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint, and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.