MINORCA, Spain (NNS) -- The guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) hosted a commemoration ceremony honoring Adm. David Farragut, the U.S. Navy's first full admiral, during a port visit to Minorca, Spain, June 16.
U.S. and Spanish sailors celebrated the 150-year legacy of Farragut's diplomatic mission to Spain, as well as the legacy of his father, George Farragut, a Spanish citizen from the island of Minorca who fought in the Revolutionary War, helping America win its independence.
Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Italy, attended the ceremony and delivered remarks to the ship's crew and Spanish guests aboard.
"The United States and Spain are great allies, partners and friends, and this is especially true in the maritime environment." said Foggo. "The destinies our two nations are linked by shared interest and common ideals."
Minorca was critical to the U.S. Navy in its infancy. The Naval Base in Ma Harbour served as a protective port during the winter months for the U.S. Navy from 1815-1840 and was a training ground for U.S. Navy midshipmen, years before the opening of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
"I often speak about the importance of our relationship with Spain, and my heartfelt appreciation to the people of Spain who are such gracious hosts to the 4,400 crew members and families of our forward deployed ships in Rota: USS Carney, USS Donald Cook, USS Porter and USS Ross."
"From its NATO contributions, to its generosity in hosting our forward-deployed ships and forces, Spain continues to be a cornerstone for peace and security in the region," Foggo continue.
To this day Spain plays an important role in U.S. defense strategy for Europe and Africa including the Spanish-U.S. bilateral engagements with more than 70 annual exercises, hundreds of ships and aircraft transiting through Spain.
"I am confident we will continue to strengthen the bonds between our navies," said the Chief of Staff of the Spanish Navy, Adm. Lopez Calderon, during a reception held later that evening abound the Spanish frigate SPS Mendez Nunez (F 104). "The presence of the vessel [Donald Cook] is a key milestone for the ballistic missile defense of Europe and builds the confidence in the interoperability of our navies."
U.S 6th Fleet's four forward-deployed guided-missile destroyers, equipped with the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system operate out of Naval Station Rota in Spain; Morn Air Base is the headquarters for a rapid-reaction force of U.S. Marines that protects U.S. interests and personnel in North Africa.
"USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) was honored to be part of the Legacy Foundation's Adm. Farragut Commemoration," said Cmdr. Matthew Powel, commanding officer of Donald Cook. "As Spain is our second home, we always look forward to continue building relationships with our Spanish allies."
Spanish armed forces participate in numerous international peacekeeping and security operations, including the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Lebanon, the international coalition countering the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence mission in Latvia, European Union (EU) and NATO maritime security missions, and EU operations in the Sahel region.
"Our two countries have an enduring, productive and multifaceted partnership dating back to our own struggle for independence," said Foggo. "And today, the longstanding friendship between our two peoples is truly on display."