The lead ship of the US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers, DDG 51, arrived at its new homeport at Naval Station Rota, Spain, on April 11.
USS Arleigh Burke is the newest of four Forward Deployed Naval Forces- Europe destroyers tasked with supporting NATO’s missile defense system in the European theater.
Prior to arriving in Rota, Arleigh Burke operated with USS Roosevelt (DDG 80), Virginia-class attack submarine USS Vermont (SSN 792), and P-8A maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft to conduct multi-domain anti-submarine warfare operations in the Atlantic.
“To USS Arleigh Burke crew and family, I extend a warm welcome to the Sixth Fleet team,” said Vice Adm. Gene Black, commander, US Sixth Fleet. “Arleigh Burke deployed with my strike group, and I am honored to have this mighty warship, with its newly upgraded capabilities, join our destroyer squadron in Spain. In the great words of Adm. Arleigh Burke, ‘this ship is built to fight,’ and as the first ship in its class, USS Arleigh Burke maintains a remarkable naval legacy.”
USS Arleigh Burke was the first US Navy ship equipped with the AEGIS combat system and arrives in the Sixth Fleet with the latest baseline 9 upgrades. This enables effective anti-air, anti-submarine, anti-surface, and strike operations in high-threat environments.
“As one of the most technologically advanced destroyers in the entire US Navy, we are excited to provide additional capability to Sixth Fleet operations,” said Cmdr. Patrick Chapman, commanding officer, USS Arleigh Burke. “However, even stronger than the technology we have been outfitted with is the strength of our crew. Every day we train to be the most effective crew possible – one that is ready for sustained forward presence in the Sixth Fleet area of operations.”
USS Arleigh Burke will replace USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) as part of several scheduled homeport shifts to occur in support of the US Navy’s long-range plan to gradually rotate the four Rota-based destroyers. The first rotation occurred in spring of 2020 when USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) replaced USS Carney (DDG 64).
USS Aleigh Burke is named after the late Adm. Arleigh Albert Burke who served valiantly in World War II and the Korean War, before ultimately serving as the Chief of Naval Operations, the highest ranking US Navy position.