US Navy destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) returned to its Spanish homeport at Naval Station Rota on July 7, completing its eighth forward-deployed naval forces (FDNF) patrol.
The Arleigh Burke-class ship departed for patrol on March 8 to carry out naval operations in the US 6th Fleet area of operations.
Ross began patrol integrating into the French Charles de Gaulle Carrier Strike Group, Task Force (CTF) 473, in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
CTF 473, composed of naval surface and air assets from France, Australia, Denmark, Portugal, UK, and US, demonstrated the joint engagement capabilities of allied naval forces as well as reinforced allied interoperability.
Upon detachment from CTF 473, Ross steamed north into the Black Sea to conduct maritime security operations and enhance regional maritime stability. Ross participated in dynamic at-sea training with Bulgarian, Georgian, and Turkish counterparts between port visits to Varna, Bulgaria and Batumi, Georgia.
While in Batumi, Ross hosted Mamuka Bakhtadze, prime minister of Georgia, and Ross Wilson, US ambassador to Georgia, for a reception on her flight deck to celebrate US-Georgia relations.
Following a brief stop in Rota, Ross headed to the Baltic Sea for BALTOPS 2019. BALTOPS is the premier annual maritime-focused exercise in the Baltic Region, marking the 47th year of one of the largest exercises in Northern Europe.
While in the Baltic Sea, Ross participated in Kiel Week, one of the world’s largest sailing festivals, attracting millions of people every year from all over Northern Europe.
“From the Eastern Mediterranean to the Baltic and Black Seas, Team Ross greeted every challenge with motivation and resolve,” said Cmdr. Dave Coles, commanding officer of Ross. “I could not be more proud of this crew. We return to Rota with valuable experience and confidence, heightened proficiency and lethality, and ready to answer the nation’s call.”