ODESSA, Ukraine -- After an underway period, in which the USS Trenton transited from the Aegean Sea to the Black Sea, the ship docked in Odessa, Ukraine for four days of liberty. The city of Odessa is the first port Trenton visits in the Ukraine on their deployment, and is located on the southern coast of Ukraine, overlooking the Black Sea.
Odessa is famous for its rich 205-year-old history, architecture, and culture. It is considered the nation's largest and busiest commercial port, and is referred to as "Ukraine's Southern window to Europe."
Marines and Sailors from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) (24th MEU (SOC)), and the USS Trenton got to experience some of Odessa's history first hand when they climbed the Prymorsky, or "Maritime", Stairs, which rise 192 steps from the dock to the city. These stairs were made famous in the movie "Battleship Potemkin," which graphically depicts the assault of mutinying sailors to capture the city, only to be defeated by machine gunners at the top.
The Pedestrian Walk, considered the center of Odessa's nightlife, was filled with five blocks of restaurants, cafes, nightclubs and stores, with proprietors patiently awaiting to provide American servicemen and women with a little Ukrainian culture.
Several MEU personnel and Trenton Crewmembers enjoyed soaking up the culture and history that Odessa offered.
"I liked the vendors in the park and the side restaurants and cafes," said Emiliano Carrero, Infantry Squad Leader, Golf Company, BLT 2/6, from SpringHill, Fla. "Most people were pretty nice and the city seemed very laid back. It was nice to just kick back."
Fire Controlman 3rd Class Rusty Wright, of Springtown, Texas, echoes Carrero's proclaims and adds, "This was a very historic port visit. I never thought I'd visit the former Soviet Union."
As the port visit comes to a close, the focus for MEU personnel and USS Trenton crew transitions to NATO's next exercise - Cooperative Partner 2000 (CP00) - of which Ukraine is the host nation. CP00 officially kicks off June 21 and continues through July 1.
Follow the 24th MEU (SOC) deployment on their website at www.usmc.mil.