The visit to Las Palmas marks Bulkeley’s arrival in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) area of operations and is the first port stop since the ship departed Naval Station Norfolk, Aug. 4, as part of the U.S. Navy’s long-range plan to gradually rotate the Rota-based destroyers of the Forward Deployed Naval Forces-Europe (FDNF-E) force.
“The crew of USS Bulkeley is excited for our visit to Las Palmas,” said Capt. Mac Harkin, commanding officer aboard Bulkeley. “This is the first of many opportunities to visit our NATO allies in the region and learn about their rich, historic culture. We look forward to many more in the years to come as we operate here in Europe as part of this strong coalition of partner nations."
While in port, Bulkeley’s crew will experience the culture and history of Las Palmas and Spain’s Canary Islands. Bulkeley Sailors will also participate in a community relations event and have the opportunity to participate in friendly sporting events against the local population.
“When these visits are in the ports of national allies, we are afforded the privilege of nurturing partnerships which strengthen our capabilities, resolve and friendships,” said Lt. Joshua Whiteside, chaplain aboard Bulkeley. “For this reason, Bulkeley is honored to partner with the local community of Las Palmas on Gran Canaria and most specifically with the private non-profit organization Foresta during a Community Relations Project.”
Whiteside outlined that the community relations project will involve “recovering, maintaining, and preserving the forest lands of the Canary Islands all for the greater vision of fostering the relationship between U.S. Naval Forces and the National and local community of Las Palmas and the Kingdom of Spain.”
Commissioned on Dec. 8, 2001, the ship is named in honor of Medal of Honor recipient Rear Adm. John Duncan Bulkeley, whose 55 years of naval service included action in both the Pacific and Atlantic theaters during World War II and the Korean War. Bulkeley was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions as commander of Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 3 in Philippine waters from December 7, 1941 to April 10, 1942. He died on April 6, 1996 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
With Bulkeley’s upcoming arrival to Naval Station Rota, along with Paul Ignatius’ arrival earlier this year, USS Ross (DDG 71) and USS Porter (DDG 78) will shift homeports from Rota to Norfolk in the coming months; marking the final scheduled homeport shifts in the long-planned FDNF-E rotation. These 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, demonstrating their mastery of the maritime domain.
For over 80 years, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with allies and partners, leveraging a foundation of shared values to preserve security and stability.
Headquartered in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) areas of responsibility. U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF, and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.
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