The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer Donald Cook is shown underway in the Atlantic Ocean in September 2011. Donald Cook is one of four destroyers that will be forward deployed to Naval Station Rota, Spain. (Navy)
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Crews of four East Coast destroyers may want to brush up on their high-school Spanish. The Ross, Donald Cook and Porter, now based in Norfolk, Va., and the Carney, from Mayport, Fla., will be forward deployed to Spain by 2015, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced Thursday.
"We welcome Spain's partnership in stationing four U.S. Navy Aegis ships at Naval Station Rota," Mabus said. "We have a long history of cooperation between our two countries and we have developed significant interoperability between our naval forces."
Ross and Donald Cook will arrive in Rota in fiscal 2014, and Carney and Porter in fiscal 2015.
In October, Naval Forces Europe spokesman Cmdr. Marc Boyd estimated the shift would bring 1,300 sailors and Navy civilians and 2,100 dependents to Rota, which would more than double the base's Navy ranks.
The last time a ship was based in Rota was the summer of 1979, according to base spokesman Lt. j.g. Jason Fischer. The three piers at the base primarily support Navy ships passing through on port calls.
The ships will support the European Phased Adaptive Approach for security in the region.
These ships may not be the only chance for sailors to get a European BMD tour. Ground-based radar and interceptor installations, known as Aegis Ashore, are planned for Romania in 2015 and Poland in 2018.