ROTA, Spain (NNS) -- The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) arrived at Naval Station Rota, Spain to begin her forward deployment to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations, Feb. 11.
Donald Cook is the first of four Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers to be stationed in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations, and will be joined by other guided-missile destroyers, USS Ross (DDG 71), USS Porter (DDG 78) and USS Carney (DDG 64), over the next two years.
"Security and stability require the efforts of all nations," said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. "To ensure that security and stability, our European and American naval forces must be there. These destroyers will help ensure we are here with our friends and allies when it counts, not just in the right place at the right time, but all the time."
The four destroyers will be forward deployed to enhance the security of the European region. While in U.S. 6th Fleet, these ships will perform numerous missions, including NATO missile defense, maritime security operations, bilateral and multilateral training exercises, and NATO operations and deployments.
"This arrival ceremony reflects the exceptional collaboration and common interests shared between the United States and Spain," Adm. Bruce W. Clingan, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, said during the arrival ceremony. "It marks the vanguard of a build up of forward stationed naval forces in Rota"
Clingan also expressed his gratitude to both Spanish and U.S. Sailors, along with their families, who were on hand to welcome Donald Cook. He also thanked the host country by acknowledging that, "Today would not have occurred without Spain's willingness to host Donald Cook and her sister ships."
The arrival ceremony marks a historic moment between Spanish and United States navies by furthering a mutual bond that began more than 60 years ago.
"The arrival of the USS Donald Cook is a key milestone from the military point of view as it confirms the trans-Atlantic bonds within NATO, and corroborates the Spanish allegiance with the Organization and all those initiatives intended to strengthen its unity and achieve its objectives," said Spanish, Chief of Naval Staff, Adm. Jaime Muñoz-Delgado y Diaz del Rio. "The deployment of these ships in our main naval base will permit joint exercises, training collaborations and the exchange of procedures and expertise, which will undoubtedly contribute to the benefit of both navies and nations, and to the benefit of those alliances and organizations to which we belong."
Ross is scheduled to join Donald Cook in Rota later this year, with Carney and Porter arriving sometime in 2015.
"Donald Cook, and her three sister ships that will be based here alongside the Spanish fleet, represent a significant contribution by both the United States and Spain to continued trans-Atlantic security," said James Costos, the U.S. ambassador to Spain. "But underlying the undeniable political and strategic importance of this partnership are the equally important person-to-person connections that our long history of sharing military bases enables."
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For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, visit www.c6f.navy.mil.