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NEWS | June 18, 2024

USS Mason (DDG 87) Arrives in Rota, Spain for Port Visit

By ENS Emily Moore

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87) transited the Strait of Gibraltar and pulled into Rota, Spain on June 14, 2024. This marks Mason’s first port visit in the Mediterranean since the ship departed Mayport, Florida, October 13, 2023, for a scheduled deployment as part of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group.

After seven months in the Red Sea, Mason’s crew has the opportunity to experience the culture, food, art, and history Spain has to offer.  Additionally, Sailors are getting time to decompress from the fast-paced and demanding lifestyle that comes with being out to sea.

“This deployment has been extremely challenging and fulfilling for the entire Mason crew,” said Cmdr. Justin B. Smith, commanding officer of Mason. “I cannot think of a better reward than spending time off in the beautiful country of Spain resting, relaxing, and recovering. This port visit provides an opportunity for the crew to start making preparations for our return to home port.”

Port visits strengthen international relations and reinforce defense partnerships with foreign nationals throughout the world. Additionally, time in foreign ports provide Sailors with the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the partners they operate with on the high seas.

“We’ve been out to sea for eight months and are finally getting the chance to see new parts of the world. I am stoked to try new foods and explore somewhere new,” said Operation Specialist Seaman Tavian Allison.

Prior to Mason’s arrival to Rota, the ship transited the Strait of Gibraltar, a geographic chokepoint connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean.

Mason spent a majority of its deployment in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations to support maritime security and stability in the Middle East, providing assurance to maritime traffic by deterring threats to the international rules-based order and freedom of navigation.

Mason is deployed as part of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group. Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group is operating in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operations to deepen strategic relationships with Allies and partners and to support maritime security and stability.

The strike group is commanded by Carrier Strike Group 2 and comprised of flagship Dwight D. Eisenhower, Carrier Air Wing 3 with its nine squadrons, USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) and Destroyer Squadron 22 with its guided-missile destroyers.

Headquartered in Naples, Italy, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command areas of responsibility. U.S. 6th Fleet is permanently assigned to Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa, and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.