NEWS | July 19, 2019

USS Mount Whitney Visits Rota Spain

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Scott Barnes

The U.S. 6th Fleet Blue Ridge-class command and control ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) arrived in Rota, Spain, for a scheduled port visit July 19, 2019.

The visit serves to demonstrate enduring partnership with Spain and a mutual commitment to regional security and stability.

"Strong cultural similarities have made it easy to maintain a longstanding alliance with Spain. We continue to learn a great deal from the highly professional operators in the Armada Española," said Capt. Cassidy Norman, the commanding officer of the USS Mount Whitney. "We recently completed dynamic partnership building operations during Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2019. Spain's involvement in BALTOPS was quite impressive, including the modern amphibious ship ESPS Juan Carlos I and the ESPS Cristóbal Colón. Training together through the range of military operations is invaluable in keeping the NATO alliance strong and the sea lanes free and open for all vessels."

Mount Whitney arrived in Rota following visits in Estonia, Finland, Sweden and participation in the 47th iteration of exercise BALTOPS. BALTOPS is the premier maritime-focused exercise in the Baltic Region and took place in the Baltic Sea from June 9-21, 2019. Ground, maritime, and air forces from participating nations worked together to exercise air defense, maritime interdiction, anti-subsurface warfare, mine countermeasures, and amphibious operations in order to strengthen the development of our joint leaders and teams across all layers of the battlespace.

During the visit, the crew of Mount Whitney is scheduled to undergo firefighting training and participate in a community relations volunteer opportunity at the soup kitchen Sol Y Vita in El Puerto De Santa Maria, Spain.

"The Mount Whitney is fortunate to visit Rota and the crew is looking forward to the visit. Not only will we be able to train our Sailors in shipboard firefighting, but also have to enjoy the beautiful coastal region of southern Spain," said Norman.

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to interact with the people of El Puerto De Santa Maria,” said Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Gerardo Preciado. “Spanish is my first language and having the opportunity to speak in the native tongue will hopefully make a positive impression among the locals.”

Mount Whitney, homeported in Gaeta, Italy, is the U.S. 6th Fleet flagship and operates with a combined crew of U.S. Sailors and Military Sealift Command civil service mariners.

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.