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U.S. and Spain: Allied Nations Strengthen Interoperability in the Ionian Sea

29 September 2022

From Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Novalee Manzella, USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) Public Affairs

IONIAN SEA - Spanish and U.S. Navy Sailors capped off two days of combined operations with aircraft flying over the Spanish Navy ship ESPS Juan Carlos I (LHD 61) and the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) in the Ionian Sea, Sept. 27, 2022.

Events across both days exhibited the interoperability between the NATO allies and fostered relationships as Sailors cross-decked between the ships. The ships and embarked staffs involved in the events were Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 10, George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group (GHWBCSG), George H.W. Bush, Carrier Air Wing 7, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 26, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun (DDG 103), and Spanish Navy ships ESPS Jaun Carlos I (LHD 61), ESPS Navarra (F 85), and ESPS Castilla (L 52).

“The past couple of days were a great opportunity to spend time with our long-time friends and allies, the Spanish Navy, both in person and through our operations,” said Rear Adm. Dennis Velez, commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 10, George H.W. Bush CSG (GHWBCSG). “Building on existing relationships is critical as we remain vigilant to deter, defend, and when necessary, fight to protect a strong, free, and prosperous future built on a foundation of shared values, experiences, and vision.”

Both days saw Sailors cross-decking between the capital ships, including Rear Adm. Gonzalo Villar Rodriguez, commander, Spanish Expeditionary Strike Group, embarking George H.W. Bush with the commanding officers of ESPS Juan Carlos I (L61), ESPS Castilla (L52), and ESPS Navarra (F80). During their time aboard, they visited with Velez, as well as senior leadership across the GHWBCSG.

"Working with friends is always a pleasure,” said Villar Rodriguez. “The Spanish and American navies share many historical and cultural ties, and also share a commitment to the defense of the citizens and territories of the NATO Allies. Our joint presence in the Mediterranean is a sign of that commitment and the seamless integration of our ships and aircraft is a sign of the cohesion of the Alliance, because we are Stronger Together." Spanish leadership also observed flight deck operations, spent time discussing strike group operations in Task Force Command and Control, and visited the ship’s hangar bay to observe aircraft maintenance and space management required to maintain persistent capability for Fleet Commanders.

“Our nation and Navy has a long-term relationship with Spain that is of great importance, and our relationship with Spain aboard George H.W. Bush goes back to the ship’s second port call on its first deployment in Cartagena,” said Capt. Dave Pollard, commanding officer of George H.W. Bush. “Our Sailors are ambassadors who represent their hometowns, cities, states, and the United States when we operate around the world – a responsibility we take seriously wherever we go.” 

George H.W. Bush is the flagship of CSG-10, GHWBCSG. CSG-10 is comprised of George H.W. Bush, CVW-7, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 26, the Information Warfare Commander, and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55).

The ships of DESRON 26 within CSG-10 are USS Nitze (DDG 94), USS Farragut (DDG 99), USS Truxtun (DDG 103), and USS Delbert D. Black (DDG 119).

The squadrons of CVW-7 embarked aboard George H.W. Bush are the “Sidewinders” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 86, the “Jolly Rogers” of VFA-103, the “Nighthawks” of VFA-136, the “Pukin Dogs” of VFA-143, the “Bluetails” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 121, the “Patriots” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 140, the “Nightdippers” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 5, and the “Grandmasters” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 46.

CSG-10, GHWBCSG, is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa area of operations, employed by U.S. Sixth Fleet to defend U.S., allied and partner interests.

For over 80 years, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with allies and partners, leveraging a foundation of shared values to preserve security and stability.

Headquartered in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) areas of responsibility. U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF, and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.

For more information about the ship you can visit its Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or official webpage. For more information about the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group you can visit its official website, Facebook, or LinkedIn page.

 

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