Barack Obama first US president to visit Naval Station Rota in 15 years

United States president Barack Obama on July 10 paid a visit to Spain and U.S. Naval Station Rota on his return home from the NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland.

Obama spoke to more than 2,000 American and Spanish service members and their families during his visit.

The president visited USS Ross (DDG 71) as well as held an all hands call to thank service members. Obama’s trip to the naval station marked the first time a U.S. president has visited the installation in 15 years.

Spain Minister of Defense Pedro Morenes introduced Obama and thanked both American and Spanish service members for their continued cooperation and support onboard Naval Station Rota.

As Obama took the podium for his speech, he recognized Vice Adm. James Foggo III, 6th Fleet commander; Capt. Michael MacNicholl, Naval Station Rota commanding officer; and Command Master Chief Michelle Brooks.

“What I really want to do is come down and shake some hands,” Obama said to a round of applause from the audience. “Look, I’ll be honest, it’s been a tough week back home…But I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to come and thank all of you for your outstanding service.”

Prior to his visit in Spain, Obama attended meetings at the NATO summits in Warsaw, Poland.

“So on my visit to Europe, what I have been trying to communicate, what I have been wanting to focus on, is America’s relation to Europe and the fact that our commitment will not change,” Obama said. “We have an enduring commitment to the transatlantic alliance and to our allies in Europe because you are central to our security and we could not have a more important alliance or a better set of friends than those of you here in Europe. That includes a strong and unified Spain, one of our closest allies. The alliance between our countries is rooted in shared values, of democracy, and pluralism and open markets and our shared commitment to freedom.”