The guided-missile destroyer USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) departed from Naval Station Norfolk, Mar. 26, commencing the ship’s homeport shift to Rota, Spain. Arleigh Burke will replace USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) as one of four forward deployed naval forces (FDNF) located in Spain. The ship is named after U.S. Navy Admiral Arleigh Burke (October 19, 1901 – January 1, 1996) who distinguished himself during World War II and the Korean War, and served as Chief of Naval Operations during the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations. Arleigh Burke, the lead ship of its class of Aegis-equipped guided missile destroyers, was commissioned in Burke’s honor in 1991. The honor of naming a vessel after a living figure had only been bestowed four times since 1861.
Arleigh Burke was the first U.S. Navy destroyer in the world equipped with the AEGIS Weapons Systems and departs for Sixth Fleet with the latest AEGIS baseline 9 upgrades. This higher capability ship is effective in high-threat areas conducting anti-air, antisubmarine, anti-surface, and strike operations. To prepare for homeport shift, Arleigh Burke took part in the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group’s Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX). COMPTUEX is designed to fully integrate a strike group as a cohesive, multi-mission fighting force, and test the group’s ability to carry out sustained combat operations from the sea.
In addition to certifying in support of naval operations worldwide, Arleigh Burke Sailors and their families have been focused on preparing for the move to Spain. Arleigh Burke’s leadership team traveled from Norfolk to Naval Station Rota to participate in educational briefings and question-and-answer sessions concerning the homeport shift process and life in Spain. Naval Station Rota also supported virtual meetings for Norfolk crewmembers and their families to learn about the complicated homeport shift process. Arleigh Burke will join USS Ross (DDG 71), USS Roosevelt (DDG 80), and USS Porter (DDG 78) as the newest member of FDNF Rota, replacing USS Donald Cook (DDG 75).