By Ensign Shannon McKeon, 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 ninth forward-deployed naval forces (FDNF) patrol, March 14th, 2020.
Ross departed for patrol on Nov. 24th, 2019 to conduct naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations (AOR) in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa.
Ross began patrol by participating in PEAN 19, a multinational exercise led by the Charles de Gaulle Carrier Strike Group, Task Force (CTF) 473 with naval surface and air assets from France, Italy, Spain, and the U.S. This allowed for joint training in all warfare areas and demonstrated the cooperative engagement capabilities of allied naval forces.
Upon detachment from CTF 473, Ross escorted the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 8 east across the Mediterranean Sea. Ross integrated into the strike group to participate in evolutions in support of force readiness as the Truman prepared to enter the 5th Fleet AOR.
Ross then steamed north into the Black Sea to conduct maritime security operations and enhance regional maritime stability while operating with area partners. Ross participated in dynamic at-sea training with regional allies and made port visits to Constanta, Romania and Odesa, Ukraine.
After exiting the Black Sea, Ross again integrated with other U.S. assets as it escorted various units through the Mediterranean Sea and through the Suez Canal. Following a brief stop in Souda Bay, Greece, Ross rejoined CTF 473 for a major deployment, FOCH 20. This exercise again demonstrated the maritime interoperability of those participating, this time including forces from Belgium, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Spain, and U.S.
Following FOCH 20, Ross once more returned to the Black Sea to participate in additional training exercises with regional partners, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Romania, to support maritime security and stability. In the Black Sea, Ross made a port call to Varna, Bulgaria, where the Commanding Officer, Cmdr. John D. John, visited local officials and hosted a media reception onboard.
While transiting southbound through the from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, Ross participated in a lifesaving rescue in the Sea of Marmara. After look-outs spotted smoke and then flames coming from a small vessel, Ross was first on the scene to render assistance to men in the water before handing over the situation to the Turkish Coast Guard.
"We stand together with our NATO allies and partners to maintain a safe and stable regional and global security environment,” said John. “Patrol nine gave us the opportunity to enhance the relationships that support peace and prosperity throughout the region."
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.