Destroyer Squadron Sixty
|Destroyer Squadron Sixty|
Destroyer Squadron Sixty emblem
|Active||World War II
19 February 2003 – present
|Branch||United States Navy|
|Role||Naval surface/strike/anti-aircraft warfare/ballistic missile defense|
|Part of||United States Sixth Fleet|
|Garrison/HQ||Naval Station Rota, Spain.|
|Motto||Fighting Forward Toward Victory|
|Commodore||Captain John Esposito|
Destroyer Squadron Sixty (DESRON 60) is a Destroyer squadron of the United States Navy. Destroyer Squadron 60 is one of three U.S. Navy destroyer squadrons permanently based outside the continental United States.
World War Two
- Destroyer Squadron 60, World War Two
|Destroyer Division 119||Destroyer Division 120|
|USS Meredith (DD-726)||USS Cooper (DD-695)|
|USS O'Brien (DD-725)||USS Ingraham (DD-694)|
|USS Laffey (DD-724)||USS Moale (DD-693)|
|USS Walke (DD-723)||USS Allen M. Sumner (DD-692)|
|USS Barton (DD-722), flag||——|
Destroyer Squadron 60 was part of the naval force assigned to Omaha Beach during the Normandy invasion of June 1944. On 6 June 1944, the Meredith struck a mine, and after being towed to the Bay of the Seine, sank on 9 June 1944. DESRON 60 subsequently was part of Task Force 129 which carried out the shore bombardment of the French seaport Cherbourg.
During the Pacific War, Destroyer Squadron 60 initially participated in the Philippines campaign. The squadron was part of the escort screen for Task Group 78.3, the amphibious assault force that invaded Leyte on October 1944. The squadron also participated in the ensuing Battle of Ormoc Bay. On 3 December 1944, during an attack on a Japanese convoy, the Cooper was torpedoed and sunk. Destroyer Squadron 60 subsequently operated as part of the destroyer screen for Task Group 77.2, the Bombardment and Fire Support Group for the January 1945 Invasion of Lingayen Gulf.
Destroyer Squadron 60 next operated with Task Force 38, the U.S. Third Fleet's Fast Carrier Task Force. On 16–17 February 1945, TF-38 flew air strikes against the Japanese home islands, Bonin Islands, and Volcano Islands to prevent any reinforcements of the Japanese garrison on Iwo Jima. During this period, Barton and Ingraham collided, and Moale was detached to escort the two damaged destroyers back to Saipan for repairs.
Destroyer Squadron 60 then operated off Okinawa during Operation Iceberg, with Destroyer Division 120 serving as the escort screen for Task Group 52.1, the escort carrier group providing carrier-based close air support to the Allied invasion force. Three units of Destroyer Squadron 60 — Walke, Barton, and Allen M. Sumner — came under intense kamikaze attacks during the squadron's operations in the closing months of the Pacific War.
On 19 February 2003, Destroyer Squadron 60 was re-established as a permanently assigned, forward-based destroyer squadron staff. It was homeported in Gaeta, Italy, the headquarters of the United States Sixth Fleet. At that time, the squadron's mission was described as to provide the Commander United States Sixth Fleet with a permanently assigned, forward-based destroyer squadron staff for the operational control over destroyers and frigates deployed to the Mediterranean Sea.
With the courtesy title of commodore, the commander of Destroyer Squadron 60 (COMDESRON 60) not only oversees U.S. 6th Fleet surface naval warfare operations in the Mediterranean Sea but also throughout Europe and Africa. The squadron commodore also additionally serves as the executive assistant to the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa as well as the NATO commander of Allied Joint Force Command Naples.
Commander Destroyer Squadron 60 conducts combat and/or non-combat operations as Commander Task Force 60 or as Sea Combat Commander, and when directed, as Maritime Interception Operations Commander. Depending on the missions to be undertaken, COMDESRON 60 employs surface warships, submarines, aircraft, SEAL teams, U.S. Marines, U.S. joint forces, and NATO forces assigned to the Sixth Fleet's area of operations to keep open the sea lines of communications throughout the U.S. European Command's area of responsibility.
The squadron saw two major changes in 2013. On 21 March 2013, the billet of Commander Destroyer Squadron 60 was renamed Commander Task Force 65, with Task Force 65 being the designation for the Sixth Fleet's surface combatant force. Subsequently, on 9 May 2013, Commander Destroyer Squadron 60 (COMDESRON 60) was formally re-established to provide type-command administrative oversight for those four BMD-capable destroyers assigned to the squadron. In the capacity, COMDESRON 60 supervises the training, readiness, maintenance, schedules, material, supply, discipline, and morale for those assigned BMD-capable destroyers. Commander Destroyer Squadron 60 continued to command Task Force 65 in a "dual-hatted" role, and both Destroyer Squadron Sixty and Task Force 65 are now based at Rota, Spain.
Africa Partnership Station
On 29 October 2007, the first Africa Partnership Station (APS) began under the command of Captain John Nowell, who was serving as Commander Destroyer Squadron 60 at the time. Departing from Naples, Italy, the APS task group, CTF-365, visited Senegal, Liberia, Ghana, Cameroon, Gabon, Angola, and Sao Tome and Principe. Africa Partnership Station 2007 developed cooperative partnerships among the regional maritime services while improving safety and security for the host nations. APS 2007 also supported over 20 humanitarian assistance projects during this deployment.
During her tour as Commander Destroyer Squadron 60, then-Captain Cynthia N. Thebaud commanded two multi-national African Partnership Station deployments that focused on maritime security capacity-building in West and Central Africa.
European Phased Adaptive Approach
On 5 October 2011, US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced that the United States Navy will station four Aegis-equipped BMD warships at Naval Station Rota, Spain, to strengthen its presence in the Mediterranean Sea and bolster the ballistic missile defense (BMD) of NATO as part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) initiative. On 16 February 2012, it was reported that the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers Donald Cook and Ross (pictured) will be relocated to Rota during Fiscal Year 2014, followed by Porter and Carney (pictured) in fiscal year 2015. On 9 May 2013, Commander Destroyer Squadron 60 was formally designated to perform type-command administrative oversight for the four BMD-capable destroyers based at Rota, Spain.
On 31 January 2014, the first BDM-arm destroyer, the Donald Cook, departed Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, for its new home-port of Rota, Spain. On 14 March 2014, the Donald Cook departed for its first patrol as a forward deployed naval vessel of the U.S. Sixth Fleet.
Syrian civil war
The U.S. Navy initially delayed the departure of the Aegis-equipped guided-missile destroyer Mahan from the U.S. Sixth Fleet amid allegations that the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons during the ongoing Syrian civil war, including the gas attacks that occurred on 21 August 2013. Both the Mahan and its relief, the Ramage, remained in the Eastern Mediterranean with two other Aegis-equipped destroyers, the Barry and Gravely. All four destroyers are capable of intercepting ballistic missiles as well as launching land-attack Tomahawk cruise missiles.
On 28 August 2013, the U.S. Navy announced that a fifth Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, the USS Stout (DDG-55), was en route to join the other four Burke-class destroyers in the Eastern Mediterrranean. On 4 September 2013, the US Navy announced that USS Mahan had departed for its home-port of Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, leaving four Burke-class destroyers operating in the Eastern Mediterranean. On 13 September 2013, the Mahan returned to Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, completing an eight-and a half-month deployment with the U.S. Sixth Fleet.
On 12 September 2013, the U.S. Department of Defense announced that the remaining four Burke-class destroyers will remain in the eastern Mediterranean as Russian and American diplomats negotiate the turn-over of Syria's stockpile of chemical weapons to the United Nations, with Pentagon spokesman George E. Little noting: "We have no plans at this time to change our military posture in the Mediterranean. We’re prepared for any potential military contingencies that might involve Syria."
On 31 October 2013, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons announced that all declared equipment and facilities related to Sysria's chemical weapons production have been destroyed.
Black Sea incident
On 10 April 2014, Desron-60 guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) entered the Black Sea. According to Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steven Warren, U.S. Army, the deployment of the Donald Cook to the Black Sea was "to reassure NATO allies and Black Sea partners of America’s commitment to strengthen and improve interoperability while working towards mutual goals in the region."
On 12 April 2014, the Donald Cook was operating in the western Black Sea when a pair of unarmed Russian Su-24 Fencer attack aircraft enter the area. One Su-24 left its formation and began to flew closer to the Donald Cook. A total of twelves passes took place over a 90-minute period, and the Russian aircraft approached within about 1,000 yards of the Donald Cook. In the aftermath of this incident, Pentagon spokesman Colonel Warren stated: "This provocative and unprofessional Russian action is inconsistent with international protocols and previous agreements on the professional interaction between our militaries."
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- Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr., USA (14 April 2014). "USS Donald Cook Heads for Reassurance Mission in Black Sea". American Forces Press Service. Retrieved 16 April 2014. "A Russian attack aircraft repeatedly flew near the USS Donald Cook in international waters in the Black Sea on April 12, a Pentagon spokesman said today."
- Jim Garamone (14 April 2014). "Russian Aircraft Flies Near U.S. Navy Ship in Black Sea". NNS140414-25. American Forces Press Service. Retrieved 16 April 2014. "A Russian attack aircraft repeatedly flew near the USS Donald Cook in international waters in the Black Sea on April 12, a Pentagon spokesman said today."
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- "USS Donald Cook to Arrive in Romania for Port Visit". NNS140414-05. U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs. 14 April 2014. Retrieved 16 April 2014. "The forward deployed guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) is scheduled to arrive in Constanta, Romania to enhance multinational interoperability with NATO allies in region, April 14." and "USS Donald Cook Welcomes President of Romania". NNS140415-12. U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs. 16 April 2014. Retrieved 16 April 2014. "The forward deployed guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) welcomed aboard Romanian President Traian Basescu while the ship was in port in Constanta, April 14."
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