The U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) returned to Naval Station Rota, Spain, following the completion of its tenth Forward-Deployed Naval Forces-Europe (FDNF-E) patrol in the U.S. 6th Fleet (C6F) area of operations, June 23, 2020.
Donald Cook began the patrol by participating in the Royal Navy’s Submarine Commander’s Course (SMCC) with naval surface and subsurface assets from Germany, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. The exercise honed joint anti-submarine warfare skills among the multinational group.
“It was an honor to participate in SMCC’s world-class training for our partner nation’s future submarine commanders,” said Cmdr. Kelley Jones, commanding officer of Donald Cook. “Throughout the course of the exercise, I knew that as we were becoming better at searching and locating submarines, they were becoming better at hiding – it’s a win-win for deterrence-based security in the region.”
Following SMCC, Donald Cook transited the Danish Straits to conduct presence operations in the Baltic Sea operating with Lithuanian and German navies. After exiting the Baltic, Donald Cook formed a surface action group (SAG) with sister destroyers USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) and USS Porter (DDG 78), U.S. Military Sealift Command’s USNS Supply (T-AOE 6), and Royal Navy ship HMS Kent (F 78). The SAG conducted maritime security operations in the Barents Sea, marking the second time Donald Cook sailed above the Arctic Circle during Jones’ tenure as commanding officer.
The ship transited the Danish Straits once more, returning to the Baltic Sea to participate in the 49th annual exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2020, attended by 19 NATO allies and partner nations. During BALTOPS, Donald Cook participated in a “free play” tactical exercise, where air defense, anti-submarine warfare, maritime interdiction, and countermeasure operations were necessary to oppose a simulated adversary, whose role was filled by other BALTOPS participants.
“BALTOPS was the perfect opportunity to demonstrate the skills we learned from the two prior joint exercises we participated in during Patrol 10,” said Jones. “I’m proud of the tactical proficiency and teamwork the crew developed during this patrol, as well as the relationships we reinforced with our partner navies.”
Donald Cook, forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, operates in support of U.S. national security interests in the C6F area of operations.