ROTA, Spain (NNS) -- Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) returned to Naval Station Rota, Spain, July 25, after completing her first patrol in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.
Donald Cook arrived on station in February, and departed Rota a month later to conduct naval operations with partners and allies in both the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea in order to advance security and stability in Europe.
"Our presence within the Mediterranean Sea emphatically demonstrates the U.S.'s resolve to further strengthen our trans-Atlantic bond with NATO and our European friends and partners," said Cmdr. Scott Jones, Donald Cook's commanding officer. "It demonstrates a clear commitment to furthering the interoperability between our sea faring forces and helping to ensure peace and stability in the region. We are fully committed to being present where it matters, so that we can be relevant when it matters."
While on patrol, Donald Cook performed numerous missions, including NATO missile defense and maritime security operations. The patrol also included engagements during port visits in Constanta, Romania, where the crew hosted Romanian President Traian Bsescu.
"Coming on the heels of their 10th anniversary in NATO, our presence in the Black Sea standing shoulder to shoulder with the Romanian Navy serves to assure the world that the United States is committed to standing by our allies and friends during times of heightened tensions," said Jones.
After departing Constanta, Donald Cook conducted a multilateral training exercise with the Romanian ships ROS Regina Maria (F 222) and ROS Marasesti (F 111), along with the Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Taylor (FFG 50).
"The exercise was well executed, and gave us a chance to learn the methods of how they operate, and strengthen our relationship with Romania," said Operations Specialist 1st Class Bobby Benavidez.
Before her return to Rota, Donald Cook also conducted a port visit to Durres, Albania, where the crew conducted a maritime interdiction operations exchange with their counterparts from the Albanian navy, Border Police, and Customs Service aimed at improving regional cooperation and efforts between the two nations.
"I think we all knew we were part of something special; that we were part of a really meaningful patrol," said Cryptographic Technician (Technical) 2nd Class Brandy Doggett. "But for me, this patrol was made great because of the teamwork. Whether it was working on qualifications, defending the ship, or looking out for a shipmate while on liberty, we all learned to work together. We all truly relied on one another. I attribute the huge success of our first patrol to teamwork."
Donald Cook is the first of four destroyers to be part of the Navy's Forward Deployed Naval Forces in Rota which are part of the Phased Adaptive Approach to protect European allies, partners, U.S. forces in the region, and the U.S. homeland against current and emerging ballistic missile threats.
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.
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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.