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SECNAV Travels to Spain; Announces Name of FFG 67 and Meets with Key Leaders

23 June 2024

Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro traveled to Madrid, Spain, strengthening a strategic partnership by conducting a series of engagements. Secretary Del Toro met with servicemembers, U.S. and Spanish leaders, and announced the name of the future USS Galvez, June 20-22.  

MADRID – Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro traveled to Madrid, Spain, strengthening a strategic partnership by conducting a series of engagements. Secretary Del Toro met with servicemembers, U.S. and Spanish key leaders, and announced the name of the future USS Galvez, June 20-22.

Secretary Del Toro visited U.S. Embassy Madrid where he met with U.S. Ambassador to Spain Julissa Reynoso and her country team. Secretary Del Toro expressed his appreciation for the Embassy’s work advancing the interests of the United States, and the service and protection they provide to U.S. citizens in Spain and Andorra, as well as the Sailors and Marines stationed in Spain.  

Upon the completion of his meeting with Ambassador Reynoso, he met and engaged with members of the Defense Staff stationed at the embassy, including the Marine Security Guard Unit. During this meeting, Secretary Del Toro held an awards ceremony where he presented the End-of-Tour awards for several U.S. servicemembers.   

After his Embassy engagement, Secretary Del Toro traveled to the Spanish Ministry of Defense and had an office-call with Minister of Defense María Margarita Robles Fernández. Secretary Del Toro highlighted the strong maritime partnership and opportunities to grow both nations’ interoperability and the need for continued support to Ukraine.  

Secretary Del Toro also attended a dinner with Spanish Navy leadership hosted by Ambassador Reynoso. Guests in attendance from Spain were the Chief of Staff of the Spanish Navy (AJEMA), Admiral Antonio Piñeiro; Secretary General for Political Affairs, Juan F. Martínez Núñez; Deputy Chief of the Spanish Navy, Admiral Gonzalo Sanz Alisido; Chief of Logistics Spanish Navy, Ricardo A. Hernández López; Secretary General for the Spanish Navy Staff, General de Brigada José Luis Sout Aguirre; President of the Permanent Committee, Rear Admiral Santiago Vila Barrón.  

During the dinner Secretary Del Toro underscored the Department of the Navy’s (DON) commitment to Spain and the region. He also emphasized his gratitude for Spain’s outstanding host-nation support to Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF) at Naval Station Rota and Air Base Moron, particularly with the upcoming arrival of two additional destroyers (DDG) and families.  

On Friday, Secretary Del Toro met with His Royal Highness, His Majesty King Felipe VI. During the meeting Secretary Del Toro underscored the importance of the continued strategic relationship and partnership between the two countries and expressed his sincere gratitude for the positive host-nation relationship that Spain provides, including sharing their culture and embracing the service members, civilians, and families of Naval Station Rota and Air Base Moron. This is the second time Secretary Del Toro has met with His Majesty King Felipe VI.  

Secretary Del Toro then had an office call with Admiral Antonio Piñeiro at the Spanish Naval Headquarters. During this meeting, Admiral Piñeiro presented Secretary Del Toro with the Grand Cross of Naval Merit with White Ribbon for his work fostering and strengthening the relationship between the two navies, particularly his personal involvement in advancing US-Spain maritime objectives.  

“As I humbly accept this award, I consider it a recognition of the incredible commitment of the nearly one million Sailors, Marines, and civilians who comprise the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps to the alliance between our two nations as we continue our work to defend shared freedoms, liberties and ideals,” said Secretary Del Toro. “The future strategic relationship is indeed bright, and I look forward to continuing our work to advance peace, prosperity, and stability throughout Europe.” 

The Grand Cross of Naval Merit is a Spanish military award for gallantry or merit in war or peace and is awarded to generals, admirals, or civilian personnel of equivalent rank. The White Ribbon decoration is for actions, deeds, or distinguished service during missions or ordinary or extraordinary service in the armed forces or in connection with defense of the country.  

Secretary Del Toro attended the U.S. Embassy Madrid’s 4th of July party, where he highlighted and strengthened the relationship between the two nations by announcing the name of FFG 67, the future USS Gálvez. The naming honors American Revolutionary War hero Conde Bernardo de Gálvez y Madrid and reemphasizes the enduring partnership between the U.S. and Spain.   

Del Toro ended his visit to Spain as the guest of honor at the St Carmen Navy reception hosted by the Nuestra Señora del Carmen Association (ANSC). ANSC is a non-profit organization that provides assistance to Navy and Armed Forces Common Corps personnel, to include retired personnel, civil servants, widowed spouses, and orphans.  

The United States established diplomatic relations with Spain in 1783. Spain and the United States are close allies and have excellent relations based on shared democratic values, including the promotion of democracy and human rights. Spain is a stalwart defense partner, having hosted U.S. troops at the Spanish Naval Base Rota and Air Base Moron for over 70 years. 

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