Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) has become the first of four new destroyers selected to forward-deploy to Naval Base Rota, Spain, under a plan announced in 2018.
The plan will see the four destroyers currently deployed to Spain in support of NATO’s missile defense system replaced with more modern and more capable sister ships. An additional US Navy helicopter squadron is set to be stationed in Spain by 2022, when all the changes are expected to be completed.
USS Ross, USS Carney, USS Porter and USS Donald Cook are either Flight I or Flight II versions of the destroyers, while USS Roosevelt is a Flight IIA ship, displacing more than the earlier versions and packing more punch. Another advantage of the Flight IIA destroyer is the ability to deploy with two organic Lamps (Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System) MK III MH-60 helicopters embarked.
Roosevelt got underway from Naval Station Mayport on March 21 to head for its new homeport in Spain, and will replace USS Carney (DDG 64).
“My crew is excited and proud to execute this homeport shift to Rota, said Cmdr. Matthew Molmer, commanding officer, USS Roosevelt. “The hard work, dedication and shear level of effort put forth by my crew over the previous year will ensure delivery of a combat ready ship, with a battle-minded crew to the forefront of Naval Forces forward-deployed to Rota, in support of Sixth Fleet operations.”
To prepare for the homeport shift, Roosevelt took part in the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group’s composite unit training exercise (COMPTUEX). COMPTUEX is designed to fully integrate a strike group as a cohesive, multi-mission fighting force, and test the group’s ability to carry out sustained combat operations from the sea.
Naval Station Mayport has served as Roosevelt’s homeport since commissioning in 2000. The naval base is capable of accommodating 34 ships and has an 8,000-foot (2,400 m) runway capable of handling most any aircraft in the defense department inventory.