By Ensign Drake Davis, Public Affairs Officer, USS Ross (DDG 71)
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) returned to Naval Station Rota, Spain following the completion of its eighth forward-deployed naval forces (FDNF) patrol, July 7, 2019.
Ross departed for patrol on March 8 to conduct naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa.
Ross began patrol integrating into the Charles de Gaulle Carrier Strike Group, Task Force (CTF) 473, in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. CTF 473, composed of naval surface and air assets from France, Australia, Denmark, Portugal, U.K., and U.S., demonstrated the joint engagement capabilities of allied naval forces as well as reinforced allied interoperability.
Upon detachment from CTF 473, Ross steamed north into the Black Sea to conduct maritime security operations and enhance regional maritime stability. Ross participated in dynamic at-sea training with Bulgarian, Georgian, and Turkish counterparts between port visits to Varna, Bulgaria and Batumi, Georgia. While in Batumi, Ross hosted Mamuka Bakhtadze, prime minister of Georgia, and Ross Wilson, U.S. ambassador to Georgia, for a reception on her flight deck to celebrate U.S.-Georgia relations.
Following a brief stop in Rota, Ross headed to the Baltic Sea for BALTOPS 2019. BALTOPS is the premier annual maritime-focused exercise in the Baltic Region, marking the 47th year of one of the largest exercises in Northern Europe enhancing flexibility and interoperability among allied and partnered nations. Numerous exercises across the entire spectrum of naval warfare were conducted, culminating in a final amphibious landing.
While in the Baltic Sea, Ross participated in Kiel Week, one the world’s largest sailing festivals, attracting millions of people every year from all over Northern Europe. Ross sailors enjoyed various social gatherings with allied navy counterparts and competed in a mariner skills contest with fellow BALTOPS participants.
“From the Eastern Mediterranean to the Baltic and Black Seas, Team Ross greeted every challenge with motivation and resolve," said Cmdr. Dave Coles, commanding officer of Ross. "I could not be more proud of this crew. We return to Rota with valuable experience and confidence, heightened proficiency and lethality, and ready to answer the nation’s call.”
Ross, forward-deployed to Rota, Spain is forward-deployed in support of U.S. national security interests in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.