The guided-missile destroyer Paul Ignatius is now based in Rota, Spain, after completing a homeport shift from Mayport, Florida.
The ship departed Mayport on April 27 for an inaugural patrol to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations to team up with fellow destroyers Arleigh Burke, Ross, Porter and Roosevelt as one of the Forward Deployed Naval Force-Europe ships based in Rota.
During the patrol, the ship participated in exercises Cable Car and Green Light with British, Canadian, French, German and Norwegian allies. The ship also conducted interoperability exercises with the littoral combat ship Sioux City, which deployed to the 5th and 6th Fleet for the first time this spring.
It arrived in Rota June 17, and many of the sailors’ families were on hand to greet them after relocating to the new home port.
“The ship’s arrival to Rota is one of several scheduled homeport shifts to occur in support of the U.S. Navy’s long-range plan to gradually rotate the Rota-based destroyers,” the Navy said in a statement. “The arrival also coincides with the arrival of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 79, which will provide rotary-wing mission capabilities to the FDNF-E destroyers.”
The destroyer will back NATO’s Integrated Air Missile Defense architecture under Commander, Task Force 65 and Destroyer Squadron 60. The FDNF-E ships have the flexibility to operate throughout the waters of Europe and Africa, from the Cape of Good Hope to the Arctic Circle, according to the release.
In January, the commanding officer of the destroyer was relieved “due to a failure to follow proper shipboard procedures,” the Navy said. The decision was made following a command investigation.
The ship was commissioned in 2019, and is named after former secretary of the Navy, Paul Ignatius, who served during the Lyndon B. Johnson administration.
The destroyer arrived in Rota June 17.