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EDINBURGH, Scotland – Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Mike Gilday and his wife, Linda Gilday visited Spain and the United Kingdom, Aug. 16-21, to meet with Sailors, government and military leaders.
CNO spoke with U.S. Sailors, as well as service members assigned to our Allies and partner militaries in Rota, Spain; London, England; Faslane and Edinburgh, Scotland.
Gilday’s visit to Rota coincided with the arrival of the guided-missile destroyer USS Bulkeley (DDG 84) to its new homeport, Naval Station Rota, Aug. 17. Bulkeley joins three other U.S. Navy state-of-the-art destroyers that are a part of Forward Deployed Naval Forces-Europe (FDNF-E), USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51), USS Paul Ignatius (DDG 117), and USS Roosevelt (DDG 80).
Gilday participated in a flag raising ceremony alongside Admiral of the Spanish Fleet, Adm. Eugenio Díaz del Río Jaudenes where together they hoisted the Spanish flag aboard Bulkeley.
Speaking afterward to media, Gilday explained the significance of presence and the strength of the partnership between the U.S. and Spanish navies.
“Spain remains one of our closest partners particularly in the maritime,” said Gilday. “The global economy floats on seawater…the U.S. Navy’s ability to have our destroyers forward-deployed in Spain is an exceptional opportunity for us to help keep sea lanes open, to work with closely with our Allies and partners.”
He later explained, “Our ships here in Rota are equipped with the most advanced capabilities and together with the Spanish Navy we will continue to operate and sail strongly side by side to assure our NATO Allies.”
CNO and Linda also toured and spoke with Sailors assigned to Arleigh Burke.
“What you do every day is not insignificant…I am extremely proud of this ship and everything you are doing, the ship means nothing without the crew and this is an exceptionally talented and dedicated team of warfighters,” Gilday said while speaking to the Sailors.
Both CNO and Linda participated in engagements with the local community, which included meetings with Rota's Mayor Javier Ruiz Arana, along with other local city officials.
CNO began his U.K. engagements in London, where he was the keynote speaker at the dedication ceremony of the USS Osprey (AM 56) bell at the United States Embassy. USS Osprey was a Raven-class minesweeper that supported the invasion of Normandy, Operation Overlord. The ship struck an enemy mine the night before the invasion of Normandy while clearing the channel for the invasion. Six members of the crew died, becoming among the first of D-Day casualties.
“Today, the Osprey bell echoes with history… and today it rings again, proclaiming the honor, courage and commitment of those who served so nobly at sea,” said Gilday. “Let us be strengthened by the courage of Osprey’s Sailors, let us be heartened by their valor, and let us be inspired by their memory to preserve our freedom.”
Gilday also visited the London Tech Bridge, where he exchanged views on the importance of this innovation hub and the partnership and collaboration with the U.S.-U.K. military, industry, academia and small businesses. They can adapt technology and equipment that could benefit both Allied navies.
“Collaborating, sharing information, being interoperable and truly interchangeable strengthens our ability to prevail in conflict and bolsters integrated deterrence against potential adversaries,”said Gilday. “We must continue to pursue innovative solutions, experiment and put capabilities in the hands of warfighters quickly if we want to maintain warfighting advantages.”
The focus of Gilday’s visit to the U.K. was to advance and further strengthen our maritime partnership and work toward becoming truly interchangeable. Throughout his visit, Gilday met with Royal Navy Adm. Sir Ben Key, First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff of the United Kingdom.
“The strength of our relationship reflects our common democratic ideals and values,” Gilday added. “Our greatest strength lies in our unity, and together we will continue to defend freedom, preserve economic prosperity, and keep the seas open and free.”
During a visit to HM Naval Base Clyde at Faslane, Scotland, a logistical base for warships and submarines operating in European waters, he observed Valiant Jetty which was built to support operations by the latest Astute-class Royal Navy attack submarines. The CNO spoke with U.S. Navy Sailors who are training with Royal Navy sailors, toured cutting-edge boats, and also congratulated newly qualified Royal Navy British submariners who received their qualifications and pins.
Gilday, the Royal Navy’s Guest of Honor, attended the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo (REMT), an annual series of artistic performances by 900 performers (to include British Armed Forces, Commonwealth and international military bands) from across the globe.
“Our maritime partnership is the foundation of our mutual prosperity and security, and my travel here provides a valuable opportunity to meet with military and government leaders to further discuss our shared goals and further expand and strengthen our interchangeability,” said Gilday.
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