US Navy guided missile destroyer USS Carney has concluded the final patrol from its forward-deployed homeport at Naval Station Rota, Spain, where it has been based since 2015.
The destroyer started the final patrol in November 2019 to conduct naval operations in the US 6th and 5th Fleet areas of operations (AOO).
Carney began her patrol by transiting north to Plymouth, England, to participate in the United Kingdom-led exercise FOST (Flag Officer Sea Training) where the crew was tested in mission critical areas such as seamanship, damage control, anti-terrorism, anti-submarine warfare, anti-air warfare, anti-surface warfare, and cyber warfare.
Following the FOST training received from UK partners, Carney headed back to Naval Station Rota, Spain, for a training and maintenance availability from Dec. 23, 2019 until Jan. 7, 2020. Carney and its crew received national tasking to proceed to the US 5th Fleet AOO and got underway ahead of schedule.
While in 5th Fleet, Carney embedded with the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group and the Bataan Amphibious Readiness Group to support maritime security operations and ensure freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce.
During its time in 5th Fleet, Carney conducted a scheduled port visit to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates where the crew was able to take on stores, fuel, and was afforded the opportunity to go on liberty after sustained operations at sea.
After the visit to Abu Dhabi, Carney received orders to return to 6th Fleet, where the crew circumnavigated Africa, a rare tasking that has not been done by a US Navy vessel in nearly a decade.
While the Carney was transiting around Africa, it conducted a scheduled port visit to Port Victoria, Seychelles where the crew conducted community outreach, and a follow-on port visit to Cape Town, South Africa, where the crew was able to host US ambassador to South Africa, Lana Marks.
During Carney’s time in the waters around Africa, sailors were able to undergo a rare Navy rite of passage by becoming “Shellbacks,” and then “Emerald Shellbacks.”
The earned title of “Shellback” occurs when a sailor is initiated in the Lord Neptune’s Order of the Deep by the already existing “Shellbacks” through the crossing the line ceremony. This only occurs when a ship crosses the equator. An “Emerald Shellback” undergoes the same initiation, but when the ship crosses the equator at the Prime Meridian.
Upon its return to Rota, Carney will prepare for its homeport shift to Mayport, Florida. USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) departed Naval Station Mayport on March 21 to replace Carney as one of four Spain-based US destroyers tasked with supporting NATO’s missile defense system in the European theater. All four destroyers currently in Spain, USS Carney, USS Donald Cook, USS Ross, and USS Porter, are to be replaced with more capable DDGs featuring the upgraded Aegis Baseline 9 combat system by 2022.
NS Rota is also set to become home to an additional US Navy helicopter squadron.