NORFOLK-More than 300 sailors will leave Norfolk Friday for their new duty station.
The crew of the guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cookis deploying to Naval Station Rota, Spain.
'The ship will be stationed in Rota for the long term until rotated back here several years down the road,' Jim DeAngio with Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic, told WVEC.com. 'This is very similar to what they are doing forward deploying ships to Japan.'
Cdr. Scott Jones, the ship's commanding officer, says the crew is excited about going to Rota to go represent the U.S.
Donald Cook is the first of four Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers to be stationed in Rota, Spain in a plan announced in October 2011. Three other Ballistic Missile Defense-capable destroyers -- USS Ross and USS Porter from Norfolk and USS Carney from Mayport, Fla. join the Donald Cook over the course of the next two years.
'Permanently forward deploying four ships in Rota will enable us to be in the right place, not just at the right time, but all the time,' Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said.
They'll take part in maritime security operations, training exercises and ballistic missile defense in the region.
The crew is comprised of 23 officers, 24 chief petty officers and 291 enlisted, according to the ship's Website.