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Naval Station Rota Hosts Naval Forces Europe-Africa Commander

December 22, 2016 at 10:32 AM UTC
Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class M. Jang, NAVSTA Rota Public Affairs

NAVAL STATION ROTA, Spain (Dec. 21, 2016) – Adm. Michelle Howard, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF), visited Naval Station Rota Dec. 20 and 21 to visit deployed service members and tour the installation.


Her two-day visit included a tour of the installation, an all-hands call with Sailors from the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers USS Ross (DDG 71) and USS Carney (DDG 64) and a brief from the Marines of Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) Company Europe.

During her all-hands call, Howard told the Sailors a story about Adm. Ernest King and his innovation to create the 10th Fleet in 1941 when America was going into war to explain the importance of vigilance in the cyber domain.

“One of the first things he did is he stood up 10th Fleet,” said Howard. “A fleet that had no ships. He said ‘I don’t need more ships. I need to learn about how to protect us against the German U-boats and how to hunt them down and kill them. I need someone who can coordinate all of that knowledge and push it back out and train them and make sure everybody knows as quickly as possible the successes that we’re having.’”

Howard explained that King also gathered the smartest, doctorate-level Americans to understand the technology of German U-boats and know-how to defeat them. This group became the seed for the Center for Naval Analysis that is now a federally funded research and development center for the Navy and Marine Corps.

“It turns out when you’re in a different type of war, you not only have to have public will, you have to have public participation and you have to bring the best brains to bare on the technology,” said Howard. “This is our history as naval warriors. We’re willing to bring our intellectual capacities against this problem. Sometimes the answer isn’t more ships; it’s just spreading the knowledge quickly of how to win the fight. That is part of our heritage; one that can be very proud of one, that started on this very day in 1941.”


The admiral continued the all-hands call with the evolution of technology involving current events and the importance of cyber-awareness and safety during holiday travels.

She closed her discussion with answering Sailors’ questions. The questions ranged from her favorite tour, her thoughts the future of the Navy and her views on what a great Sailor entails.

“There’s something about you that makes you the best Sailor that you can be,” said Howard, “and that’s what you’ve got to focus on.”

Adm. Howard thanked the Sailors for their efforts and sacrifice and encouraged them to take care of their families, shipmates and themselves.

Howard officially assumed command of NAVEUR-NAVAF June 7, 2016. NAVEUR-NAVAF, headquartered in Naples, Italy, oversees joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests, security and stability in Europe and Africa.

Naval Station Rota enables and supports operations of U.S. and allied forces and provides quality services in support of the fleet, fighter, and family for Commander, Navy Installations Command in Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia (EURAFSWA).

Just as a ship performs lines of operation that provide a capability, Navy Region EURAFSWA bases perform the same eight lines of operation to provide capability to the fleet and joint and allied forces. These eight lines of operation are: air operations, port operations, safety, security, MWR, Fleet and Family Services and what is called the core; the fuels, water and power that keep the bases running. Through our lines of operation, our installations are force multipliers that maximize the combat capability of operational units.