By Ens. Chase Liddon
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) celebrated Independence Day while executing a transatlantic voyage to Mayport, Florida, July 4, 2021.
The crew of Donald Cook paused from their rigorous work schedule to celebrate the Fourth of July, a holiday typically celebrated with friends, families, backyard barbeques and fireworks. Donald Cook is currently executing a homeport shift to Mayport, Fl., after being stationed in Rota, Spain for seven years.
In the morning, the crew began the celebrations by hoisting the Battle Ensign, the largest American flag onboard, and conducting a gun shoot that included the five inch gun weapon system, and the Phalanx close-in weapon system (CIWS). After a pause for brunch, the weapons drills recommenced with the 25mm machine gun system, and crew-served weapons including M240 and .50-caliber machine guns.
In the evening, the wardroom hosted a “steel beach” picnic on the flight deck where sailors were able to listen to music, practice their golf swings, and fish while enjoying food from the grill.
“I think it is important to take time out of our busy schedules to celebrate American independence and reflect on the core values we swore to protect when taking our oaths,” said Cmdr. Matthew Curnen, commanding officer of Donald Cook. “These fundamental principles haven’t changed since the birth of our great nation and it is important we stop every so often to recognize and celebrate this great nation.”
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) departed Naval Station Rota, Spain, for the last time as a Forward Deployed Naval Forces-Europe (FDNF-E) destroyer, June 30, 2021. Donald Cook bookended its operations in U.S. Sixth Fleet by conducting operations in the Black Sea.
U.S. Sixth 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.