ROTA, Spain, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy said Tuesday the Arleigh Burke-class missile destroyer USS Donald Cook arrived at a Spanish base to begin deployment with the U.S. 6th Fleet.
"This arrival ... reflects the exceptional collaboration and common interests shared between the United States and Spain," U.S. Navy Adm. Bruce Clingan, commander of Naval Forces Europe-Africa, said in a statement Tuesday.
USS Donald Cook is the first of four missile destroyers designated for 6th Fleet operations in the Mediterranean Sea. Three other destroyers -- USS Ross, USS Porter and USS Carney -- will join the fleet within the next two years.
The U.S. military announced plans for the regional deployment in 2011. The Navy said the destroyers will be positioned to help with NATO defense operations, deployment and general maritime security operations in the region.
U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said the arrival of USS Donald Cook sends a message of security commitment to regional allies.
"These destroyers will help ensure we are here with our friends and allies when it counts, not just in the right place at the right time, but all the time," he said in a statement.