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By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Christopher Stachyra
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Cole (DDG 67) arrived in Valencia, Spain for a scheduled port visit, August 10.
Cole’s presence in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe (NAVEUR) area of operations demonstrates the U.S. Navy’s continued commitment to collective defense of the European region and this port visit reinforces the strong bond between the United States and Spain. The port visit to Valencia also affords Cole’s crew a chance to relax and recharge while strengthening interpersonal relationships as they continue their deployment in the region.
“Liberty is a mission,” said Cmdr. Jim Welsch, Cole’s commanding officer. “It is an essential component of mission sustainability and provides the crew with a much-needed break from the pressures of onboard life.”
The flagship of Cole’s carrier strike group, the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), completed a port visit in Palma, Spain last month. Other ships of the strike group, including Cole, have also conducted port visits in the Spanish cities of Barcelona and Rota in recent months.
Since their previous port visit at Naval Station Rota, Spain, Cole conducted tactical exercises with the Spanish Navy F100-class air defense frigate ESPS Almirante Juan De Borbón (F-102) as a part of Standing Naval Maritime Group (SNMG) 2, further strengthening their capabilities with partners and allies. As NATO allies, the U.S. and Spanish navies routinely operate together during combined maritime interoperability exercises and activities, including the NATO-led vigilance activities Neptune Shield 22 and Neptune Strike 22.
In addition to exploring the city, Sailors will use the ship’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) services to experience the area through tours and organized activities. These activities include the opportunity to prepare one of the nation’s most iconic cuisines, paella, with local chefs. They will also have a guided excursion around the city, culminating at the largest indoor market in Europe.
“Spain and its people are amazing and we are excited to be back in a country that offers our Sailors the opportunity to experience a rich culture,” said Lieutenant Junior Grade David Yi, the repair officer onboard Cole. “When you think of Spain, like most people the first few things that come to mind are great food, historical sites, live music on just about any street corner or marketplace, and of course watching some of the best (football) clubs in the world like Real Madrid or Barcelona. We are excited to get a taste of all that!”
The HSTCSG is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe area of operations, employed by U.S. Sixth Fleet to defend U.S., allied, and partner interests.
Elements of HSTCSG include the flagship Truman, commanded by Capt. Gavin Duff; the nine squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1, commanded by Capt. Patrick Hourigan; the staff and guided-missile destroyers of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 28 commanded by Capt. Blair Guy, which have included Cole, USS Bainbridge (DDG 96), USS Gonzalez (DDG 66), USS Gravely (DDG 107), and USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109); and the Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56), commanded by Capt. Christopher Marvin.
For over 80 years, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with allies and partners, leveraging a foundation of shared values to preserve security and stability.
Headquartered in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) areas of responsibility. U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF, and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.
For more news from CSG 8 and Cole, visit, www.facebook.com/CSG8, www.facebook.com/usnavy, www.facebook.com/DDG67 or www.navy.mil.