USS MITSCHER, At Sea (NNS) -- Guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57) embarked seven Spanish navy sailors from the Spanish frigate ESPS Almirante Juan de Borbon (F 102), May 18.
The five midshipmen, all in their third year at the Spanish naval academy, along with an ensign in his fifth year at the academy and a lieutenant junior grade from Juan de Borbon, boarded Mitscher's flight deck from Juan de Borbon's rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) early in the morning to participate in a four-day shadowing of Mitscher's crew.
"They're on their summer midshipman cruise on Borbon, and since Borbon is participating [in exercises] with us, they were able to come to Mitscher to see how an Aegis destroyer operates," said Cmdr. Brian Sorenson, Mitscher's commanding officer.
Spanish navy Ens. Alvaro De Agustin, a student from the Spanish naval academy spending his fifth and final year completing a training cycle on Juan de Borbon, jumped at the chance to go to an American ship.
"We wanted to. It's great chance to see something new and learn how this vessel works; how this vessel does stuff different from our ship," said De Agustin.
"We get to learn about the Spanish navy, their customs and traditions and how they work; and they get to learn about us," Sorenson said. "In the end it makes both of us better prepared to operate with the each other and other navies."
The Spanish sailors noticed several differences between Juan de Borbon and Mitscher, but the thing that made that biggest impact on them was the interaction between the Mitscher's Sailors, officers and enlisted alike.
"There is more of a relationship between officers, petty officers and seamen," De Agustin said, "and you don't have to be in the same section or do the same job to have a good relationship on this boat."
"In my navy, there isn't very much of that and I think it's a good thing to take back."
De Agustin enjoyed his time on Mitscher and found it to be a valuable experience.
"I've had a good time. Everyone has been very nice and accessible," said De Agustin. "We all feel very lucky to be here. It's a chance to learn from not just another navy, but the U.S. Navy, which is considered the best in the world, and in my opinion is."
"It's a fantastic opportunity for us to be able to host these sailors; to open our arms and ship and allow them to see the exercise progress from our side so when they go out to their ships later on (in their careers), they'll be able to better integrate into coalition partnerships," said Sorenson.
The Spanish sailors are scheduled to visit USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) after departing Mitscher.
Mitscher is deployed as part of the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts.
For more news from USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn77/.