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This is Vella Gulf’s first port visit for their 2021 deployment cycle following 54 days in port at Naval Station Norfolk to conduct maintenance and repairs on the ship’s fuel tanks.
“Our presence in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations is highly significant in showing that we are committed to operations with our allies and maintaining a shared vision of success as we work to achieve common goals,” said Rear Adm. Scott F. Robertson, Commander, Carrier Strike Group TWO. “There’s simply no substitute for U.S. naval presence in Europe. We have the ability to adapt in any situation and can provide a formidable deterrence against adversaries seeking to undermine the prosperity and values which allow for stability and regional security.”
Robertson also added that he was incredibly proud of the Sailors on Vella Gulf for powering through needed repairs to return to the front lines with the rest of the IKE Carrier Strike Group.
The port visit was made possible due to the crew’s continued adherence to COVID mitigations, vaccination efforts and coordination between the U.S. Navy and Spanish government.
“Vella Gulf is excited for the opportunity to visit in port Rota while on our deployment to support the strike group and continue operations with our allies in theater,” said Capt. Michael P. Desmond, Commanding Officer, USS Vella Gulf (CG 72). “The crew’s efforts to remain COVID-free allowed us to safely execute on-base liberty and leverage resources to maintain our readiness moving forward to accomplish operational commitments.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group is a multiplatform team of ships, aircraft and more than 5,000 Sailors, capable of carrying out a wide variety of missions around the globe. The Navy provides a ready, flexible force capable of responding to a broad range of contingencies.
Deploying ships and aircraft of the strike group, commanded by Rear Adm. Scott F. Robertson, include aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69); Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61); Destroyer Squadron 22 ships include Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Mitscher (DDG 57), USS Laboon (DDG 58), USS Mahan (DDG 72) and USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116).
Squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3, embarked on Dwight D. Eisenhower include the "Fighting Swordsmen" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 32, "Gunslingers" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 105, "Wildcats" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 131, "Rampagers" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 83 "Dusty Dogs" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 7 "Swamp Foxes" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 74 "Screwtops" of Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW) 123 "Zappers" of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 130 and a detachment from Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40 "Rawhides."
U.S. Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.
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