By Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group Public Affairs
The Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) and components of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) arrived in Malaga, Spain, July 21.
Nearly 2,500 embarked Sailors and Marines are visiting the Mediterranean coastal city during a regularly scheduled deployment. The stop is an opportunity for U.S. service members to deepen the strategic relationship with their Spanish allies on a personal level by socializing and experiencing the hospitality, beaches and historic venues.
"This visit to Spain will be one that those aboard will never forget,” said Capt. Joseph O’Brien, commanding officer of Iwo Jima. “Spain is a major ally to the U.S. and the Navy, with a base just a few hours away in Rota. Pulling into Malaga will be an outstanding opportunity for the crew to experience the Spanish culture and give us an opportunity to continue growing a relationship that has been building over the past 70 years through our shared values, experiences and vision."
This is Iwo Jima’s third visit to a U.S. 6th Fleet port since departing Naval Station Mayport, Florida, Feb. 7. The ship has also made stops in Haifa, Israel, and Limassol, Cyprus.
"Once I heard we were pulling into Spain, I have been extremely excited,” said Air Traffic Controller 2nd Class Matthew Sherwood. “I have heard so much about Spain from my shipmates that have been there—the food, the lifestyle, the history—that being able to experience that myself will be something I will never forget and is well-deserved after being at sea for so long."
During their deployment, Iwo Jima and the 26th MEU have played a critical role in bringing a ready, versatile amphibious assault capability and vigilant maritime presence to the Mediterranean in addition to working with partner nations to achieve the mutual goal of a peaceful and prosperous region.
“The Marines and Sailors continue to work hard throughout our deployment and are eager to visit one of the premier coastal cities in the Mediterranean,” said U.S. Marine Col. Farrell Sullivan, commanding officer of, the 26th MEU. “Malaga is a picturesque, ancient city with a rich history and vibrant culture. The Marines and Sailors are excited to experience the many historical, cultural, and enriching opportunities that Malaga offers. They are ready to serve as ambassadors of the United States and are appreciative of the generous reception they have received from the people of Malaga.”