The Navy pulled out four missile destroyers from the east coast as the United States and NATO massed naval forces in the region, USNI News has learned.
USS Arleigh Burke-class destroyers Donald Cook (DDG-75) USS Mitscher (DDG-57) USS The Sullivans (DDG-68) and USS González (DDG-66) left the United States last month as independent deployers for the US 6th Fleet.
“Throughout their deployment, they will participate in a range of maritime activities in support of the U.S. 6th Fleet and our NATO allies,” said Navy spokesman Cmdr. Arlo Abrahamson told USNI News on Thursday.
González and The Sullivansbased at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., left in mid-January for Europe, while Donald Cook and Mitscherbased in Naval Mayport, Florida, left the East Coast on January 31, according to ship watchers.
All four ships are also configured for ballistic missile defense.
to cook and The Sullivans both returned from Europe last year. to cook was deployed to Rota, Spain for seven years before returning to the east coast in July. The Sullivans deployed last year with the British Royal Navy’s HMS queen elizabeth (R08) Carrier Strike Group and return in November. Both ships are part of Task Force Gray Hound – an anti-submarine warfare detachment that the US 2nd Fleet formed last year as a support mission for ships awaiting maintenance.
Ships join four Navy BMD destroyers based in Rota, Spain – USS Ross (DDG-71), USS Roosevelt (DDG-80), USS Carry (DDG-78) and USS Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) and the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group operating in the Mediterranean.
Navy officials on Thursday were careful not to directly link the deployments to simmering tensions between the United States and Russia over the 100,000 Russian troops on Ukraine’s border and the reinforcement of the Russian navy at sea. Black. However, the US 6th Fleet collection of ships has been the largest US naval force in Europe since 2018, according to carrier deployment database USNI News.
In 2018, the Truman CSG operated in the Mediterranean Sea for 79 days largely in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the anti-ISIS missions in Syria and Iraq.
Now USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75), Carrier Air Wing 1 and its escorts have been stationed near the entrance to the Black Sea since late December under Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, USNI News reported.
Two of by Truman escorts – USS Cole (DDG-67) and USS Jason Dunham (DDG-109) – operate in US Central Command while USS Bainbridge (DDG-96), USS Seriously (DDG-107) and the Royal Norwegian Navy frigate HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen (F310) were in the 6th Fleet.
Truman is also accompanied by the USS guided missile cruiser San Jacinto (CG-56).
The strike group recently completed the NATO-led Neptune strike, which included the Italian Navy’s F-35B aircraft carrier ITS Cavour (CVH-550). The group also operated with the French Navy aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle (R 91) and its escorts.
The Navy’s announcement comes a day after the Russian Navy sent six amphibious warfare ships to the Black Sea and two Russian guided missile cruisers to the Mediterranean Sea.