US Warships Transit Strait of Gibraltar
Guided-missile destroyer USS Bulkeley (DDG 84) and guided-missile cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56) transited safely through the Strait of Gibraltar to enter the Mediterranean Sea July 31.
The Strait of Gibraltar is a narrow transit which separates Europe and Africa by seven miles at its most narrow point, connecting the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea. The strait routinely accommodates a significant amount of commercial traffic.
“It was a full pilot house but the conning officer and officer of the deck handled the traffic well, operating the maneuvering boards,” said Quartermaster 1st Class (SW) Carlos Ruben Gonzalez, a Bulkeley Sailor.
Bulkeley and San Jacinto encountered higher than normal winds while approaching the strait but were not overly affected by them.
“I’ve been through the strait about a dozen times now and it’s usually calmer, but the approach was windier than usual”, said Cdr. Matthew Phillips, commanding officer, USS Bulkeley. “Even with the winds, the bridge team handled it very well and divided up their duties responsibly.”
Bulkeley and San Jacinto are underway as part of Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HST CSG). Upon completing their time in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR), both ships will transit to the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR to conduct maritime security operations and to support theater security cooperation efforts.
HST CSG also includes guided-missile cruiser USS Gettysburg (CG 64), guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87), embarked Carrier Air Wing 3 and its squadrons; Strike Fighter Squadrons (VFA) 32 “Swordsmen,” VFA-37 “Ragin’ Bulls,” and VFA-105 “Gunslingers;” Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 312 “Checkerboards;” Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 126 “Seahawks;” Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 130 “Zappers;” Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 7 “Dusty Dogs;” Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 74 “Swamp Foxes;” embarked 1st Combined Destroyer Squadron staff and Military Sealift Command, fast combat support ship USNS Arctic (T-AOE 8).
Press Release, August 2, 2013; Image: US Navy