VALENCIA, Spain – The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Cole (DDG 67) arrived in Valencia, Spain, for a scheduled port visit on August 11.
Cole’s presence in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe (NAVEUR) area of operations demonstrates the U.S. Navy’s continued commitment to the collective defense of the European region and this port visit reinforces the strong bond between the U.S. and Spain. The Port of Valencia tour also offers Cole’s crew a chance to relax and recharge while strengthening people-to-people relationships as they continue their deployment to the region.
“Freedom is a mission,” said Cmdr. Jim Welsch, Cole’s commanding officer. “It is an essential part of mission sustainability and provides the crew with a well-deserved break from the pressures of life on board.”
Cole’s carrier strike group flagship, the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), made a port visit to Palma, Spain, last month. Other strike group ships, including Cole, have also made port visits to the Spanish cities of Barcelona and Rota in recent months.
Since their previous port call at Naval Base Rota, Spain, Cole conducted tactical exercises with the Spanish Navy’s F100-class air defense frigate ESPS Almirante Juan De Borbón (F-102) as part of the Standing Naval Group (SNMG) 2, further build their capabilities with partners and allies. As NATO allies, the U.S. and Spanish navies regularly operate together in combined maritime interoperability exercises and activities, including NATO-led vigilance activities Neptune Shield 22 and Neptune Strike 22 .
In addition to exploring the city, sailors will use the ship’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) services to experience the area through organized tours and activities. These activities include the chance to prepare one of the country’s most iconic cuisines, paella, with local chefs. They will also have a guided tour around the city, culminating in the largest covered market in Europe.
“Spain and its people are incredible and we are delighted to be back in a country that offers our sailors the opportunity to experience a rich culture,” said Lt. Junior Grade David Yi, repair officer on board. of Cole. “When you think of Spain, like most people, the first things that come to mind are great food, historical sites, live music at any street corner or market, and many of course watching some of the best (soccer) clubs in the world like Real Madrid or Barcelona. We are excited to taste it all!
The HSTCSG is on a scheduled deployment to the U.S. Naval Forces Europe area of operations, employed by the U.S. 6th Fleet to defend U.S., allied, and partner interests.
Elements of the HSTCSG include the flagship Truman, commanded by Captain Gavin Duff; the nine squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1, commanded by Captain Patrick Hourigan; the staff and guided missile destroyers of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 28 commanded by Captain Blair Guy, which included Cole, USS Bainbridge (DDG 96), USS Gonzalez (DDG 66), USS Gravely (DDG 107) and USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109); and the Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56), commanded by Captain Christopher Marvin.
For more than 80 years, US Naval Forces Europe-US Naval Forces Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with allies and partners, building on a foundation of shared values to preserve security and stability.
Based in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) areas of responsibility. The U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF and employs maritime forces across the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.
For more information on CSG 8 and Cole, visit www.facebook.com/CSG8, www.facebook.com/usnavy, www.facebook.com/DDG67 or www.navy.mil.