By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sara Eshleman
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Bulkeley (DDG 84) arrived at Naval Station Rota, Spain, Oct. 26, for a scheduled port visit.
“The biggest mission we have is probably rest and recreation,” said Cmdr. Luis Angel Gonzalez, Bulkeley’s executive officer.
Bulkeley departed Naval Station Norfolk on April 11 – over six months ago – and the crew has experienced a successful, though at times, trying deployment.
“We had a unique deployment that saw us go up into the high North,” said Gonzalez, “And then all the way out into the eastern Mediterranean, utilizing all of our capabilities and our warfare mission qualifications. It is also worth emphasizing that during this deployment, we’ve had several long stretches at sea. And that was only possible because of the resourcefulness and work ethic of the crew.”
Gonzalez says that this elevated work ethic abounded, from the engineering to the combat systems to the weapons and to the plan and tactics department.
“That also speaks a lot to our supply department,” said Gonzalez. “Who had to deal with the logistics and making sure that we kept the crew fed…sometimes in very innovative ways; stretching out soups and protein adjustments, but it was definitely a team effort to keep us on station for very long stretches of time. By far, probably the longest stretch of time I’ve seen in my 17-year career continuously.”
Yet, despite the extended periods at sea and equipment failures, the trials and the unexpected and unplanned repairs, the Wolfpack prevailed.
“There were some critical repairs that were conducted by the technicians onboard,” said Gonzalez. “And that spanned both the engineering plant and combat systems plant. It just goes to show you the resiliency of the team on board here – the resourcefulness, the resiliency and their dedicated effort to make sure that the ship stayed on task, on mission. And she did exactly that. The entire crew, the entire Wolfpack, the Death Howler team - their families back home can be very proud of the work that they put into this deployment. They made a difference.”
Bulkeley, homeported at Naval Station Norfolk, is conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa.