USS Ross (DDG 71) departed its Norfolk homeport June 3 on her way to Rota, Spain, as the second of four Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers to be forward deployed there.
To enhance the security of the European region, two additional ballistic missile defense (BMD)-capable destroyers - USS Porter (DDG 78) from Norfolk and USS Carney (DDG 64) from Mayport, Florida, will also join USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) and Ross over the course of the next 18 months.
"The U.S. has a historically strong partnership with Spain, and the strength of that relationship is exemplified today as the second of four U.S. Navy destroyers departs for Rota, Spain," said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. "Permanently forward deploying four ships in Rota will enable us to be in the right place, not just at the right time, but all the time."
These multi-mission ships will perform a myriad of tasks, including NATO missile defense, the full spectrum of maritime security operations, bilateral and multilateral training exercises, and NATO operations and deployments.
"The crew is very proud to be forward deployed in Rota," said Cmdr. Tadd Gorman, Ross commanding officer. "This mission presents a valuable opportunity to not only enhance U.S. and European BMD, but to also develop stronger relationships with Spain and all of our NATO allies. We are excited to be deploying to Spain to join the Rota community, and we are ready to represent the U.S. Navy."
Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta initially announced the stationing of four Aegis ships to Rota Oct. 5, 2011 in Brussels, Belgium.