By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Christine Montgomery
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) departed the Barents Sea, Nov. 1, following 13 days of operations in the High North.
USS Ross (DDG 71) entered the Barents Sea Oct. 19 to conduct training and complete operations in the extreme environment in the Arctic supported by Henry J. Kaiser-class replenishment oiler USNS Laramie (T-AO-203), which allowed an uninterrupted supply line for sustained High North operations.
“We are applying lessons learned from previous operations above the Arctic Circle to build on our warfighting readiness in this demanding climate.” said Cmdr. John D. John, Ross’ commanding officer. “With maritime traffic density increasing in the area, it is more important than ever that we continue to answer the call to maintain regional stability and freedom of navigation in the Arctic region.”
Despite the limited logistical footprint for the Arctic region, Laramie supported refueling and stores replenishment on a regular basis, facilitating Ross’ sustained presence in the Barents. Ross Sailors adapted to the frigid temperatures, working seamlessly with limited light conditions to adapt to the demanding Arctic region.
“Receiving over 60 pallets during a replenishment –at-sea on a destroyer will have its fair share of challenges, but when you add in the environmental factors in the Barents, it made things a little more difficult.” said Lt. Brandon Birkoski, Ross’ supply officer. “The crew adapted and pushed through the conditions allowing us to receive our cargo without any safety mishaps.”
While operating in the Barents, Ross has conducted sustained operations in the region, further building on communication and navigation capabilities. During the operations, Ross Sailors demonstrated their undeterred ability to maintain warfighting readiness in the Arctic.
“Working in such a dynamic environment has been challenging and a unique learning opportunity.” said Aerographer’s Mate 1st Class Robert Logan. “Being in such a data sparse region, encouraged close coordination between navigation, operations and communications.”
This marks the third time this year U.S. Navy destroyers have operated in the Barents Sea.
Ross, forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, began its tenth Forward Deployed Naval Forces-Europe (FDNF-E) patrol, Aug. 29 in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa.
Ross is one of four U.S. Navy destroyers based in Rota, Spain, and assigned to Commander, Task Force 65 in support of NATO’s Integrated Air Missile Defense architecture. These Forward-Deployed Naval Forces-Europe ships have the flexibility to operate throughout the waters of Europe and Africa, from the Cape of Good Hope to the Arctic Circle, demonstrating their mastery of the maritime domain.
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 security interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.