The USS Donald Cook and her fellows will provide full coverage and protection for all NATO European populations against the
increasing threats posed by the proliferation of short
and long-range ballistic missiles.
Photos: US Navy League
A gray day in Rota (Cadiz) saw hundreds of spectators, military and civilian as the tugs eased the USS Donald Cook, DDG 75, into the quay and her new home. The arrival of this ship marks the realization of an important step in American and Spanish diplomatic and military relations. The USS Donald Cook and her three sister Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyers, which will be arriving later this year and next, represent a major strategic disposition by the two countries – not to mention the presence of the 1,300 American sailors and their families who will be calling Rota home. A multi-year agreement with the Spanish ship-building company Navantia to provide maintenance services to the destroyers will further assist the local economy.
The Navy League’s European President, Nicholas Hayes, was on hand to greet the ship, together with Madrid Council Vice President Mary Ann Long and Madrid Council Past President Eva Garcia.
The official party included the United States Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable Ray Mabus; Admiral Bruce Clingan; Commander of US Naval Forces Europe and US Naval Forces Africa, and Allied Joint Force Command, Naples; and the American Ambassador to Spain, the Honorable James Costos.
Spain was represented by the Chief of the Spanish Naval Staff, Almirante General Jaime Muñoz-Delgado, Admiral of the Fleet Santiago Bolibar, as well as local dignitaries from the city of Rota, the Province of Cadiz, and the Comunidad de Andalucia.
Also on the pier were a number of the families of the ship’s crew who had already arrived in Rota and were out in force to enthusiastically greet their loved ones.
The USS Donald Cook and her fellows, equipped with the Lockheed Martin AEGIS anti-ballistic missile system, are being stationed at Rota in support of NATO’s European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA), the US national contribution to NATO’s missile defense architecture. This is intended to provide full coverage and protection for all NATO European populations against the increasing threats posed by the proliferation of short and long-range ballistic missiles.
In addition, these multi-mission ships will perform myriad other tasks, including participation in NATO operations and deployments, multi- and bi-lateral training exercises, and the full spectrum of maritime security operations.
Almirante General Muñoz-Delgado recalled in his remarks the long history of cooperation between the Spain and the United States, dating back to the 18th century. All agreed that the arrival of the USS Donald Cook represents a major commitment by the Kingdom of Spain and the United States to the security of the region and to the relationship of the two countries.