April 1 (UPI) -- The USS Carney has returned to Naval Station Rota in Spain following its seventh forward deployed naval force patrol, the Navy announced.
"The flexibility and resiliency of our crew speaks volumes of the dedication of the U.S. Navy to operate forward," said Cmdr. Christopher Carroll. "Aboard the Carney we pride ourselves in maintaining our readiness to be able to execute whatever mission set that comes at us."
The vessel began its patrol to conduct naval operations in the U.S. 6th and 5th Fleet areas of operations in November. It will now prepare to head to its homeport, in Mayport, Fla., and its FDNF role will be picked up by the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Rooselvelt.
The patrol began with a northward transit to Plymouth, England, to participate in a Flag Officer Sea Training exercise led by the United Kingdom, then headed to Naval Station Rota in Spain.
The vessel also stopped in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates where the crew was able to take on stores and fuel and go on liberty after several weeks engaged in exercises at sea.
Following the stop in Abu Dhabi, the crew circumnavigated the continent of Africa -- which no U.S. Navy vessel has done in a decade.
During the passage around Africa, the sailors underwent a rare Navy rite of passage -- becoming "shellbacks" and then "emerald shellbacks."
The first title refers to a ceremony performed when a ship crosses the equator, and the second to a similar initiation when the ship crosses the equator at the Prime Meridian.
The vessel traveled 27,300 nautical miles, which is more than the 21,600 nautical miles it takes to circumnavigate the world -- and expended 30,557 rounds of ammunition during training events.
The Carney also underwent 16 replenishments-at-sea, the Navy said.
"This truly was a patrol for the books," Carroll said. "We are excited to be back to spend some much-deserved time back at home."