Naval Station Rota, Spain


Naval Station Rota, also known as NAVSTA Rota, ( es, Base Naval de Rota), is a
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

-American naval base commanded by a Spanish
Rear Admiral Rear admiral is a senior naval A navy, naval force, or maritime force is the branch of a nation's armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for wa ...
. Located in
Rota Rota or ROTA may refer to: Places * Rota (island), in the Marianas archipelago * Rota (volcano), in Nicaragua * Rota, Andalusia, a town in Andalusia, Spain * Naval Station Rota, Spain People * Rota (surname), a surname (including a list of people ...
in the
Province of Cádiz Cádiz is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as man ...
, NAVSTA Rota is the largest American military community in
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

, housing
US Navy ), (unofficial)."''Non sibi sed patriae''" ( en, "Not for self but for country") (unofficial). , colors = Blue and gold  , colors_label = Colors , march = "Anchors Aweigh "Anchors Aweigh" is the fight song of the United States Naval A ...
US Marine Corps The United States Marine Corps (USMC), also referred to as the United States Marines, is the maritime land force service branch Military branch (also service branch or armed service) is according to common standard the subdivision of the na ...
personnel. There are also small
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US Air Force
contingents on the base.


NAVSTA Rota has been in use since 1953, when Spanish dictator
Francisco Franco Francisco Franco Bahamonde (; 4 December 1892 – 20 November 1975) was a Spanish general who led the Nationalist forces in overthrowing the Second Spanish Republic The Spanish Republic ( es, link=no, República Española), commonly ...

Francisco Franco
strengthened relations with the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
as a move to relax international sanctions imposed by the United Nations since 1945. The installation now covers more than on the northern shore of Cádiz (province), Cadiz, an area recognized for its strategic, maritime importance over the centuries. The Chief of Naval Operations deployed Submarine Squadron (naval), Squadron 16 (SUBRON 16) to Rota on 28 January 1964 and embarked upon . completed its first Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) deterrent patrol with the Polaris missile and commenced the first refit and replenishment at Rota. During the early 1970s, the submarines assigned to SUBRON 16 were completing conversion to the Poseidon missile. That transition was completed when returned to Rota on 14 January 1974. Treaty negotiations between Spain and the United States in 1975 resulted in a planned withdrawal of SUBRON 16 from Spain, and the Chief of Naval Operations ordered studies to select a new refit site on the East Coast of the United States. The US Senate ratified the treaty in June 1976; it called for the squadron's withdrawal from Spain by July 1979. In November 1976 the Secretary of the Navy announced Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia (U.S. state), Georgia as that new refit site. At its peak size in the early 1980s, NAVSTA Rota was home to 16,000 sailors and their families, to include two permanently forward deployed aviation squadrons, VQ-2, Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron Two (VQ-2) and Fleet Logistics Support Squadron Twenty Two (VR-22). VQ-2 was based at Rota from 1959 until 2005, when it relocated to NAS Whidbey Island, Washington. VR-22 flew the C-130F and was based at Rota from 1982 until its inactivation in 1993. Through the early 1990s, a patrol squadron of P-3 Orion aircraft based in the United States would also be split-based between NAVSTA Rota and the Naval Air Facility at Lajes Air Base in the Azores to track Soviet naval vessels and submarines in the Atlantic Ocean and in the Mediterranean. The patrol squadrons would rotate this deployment assignment to Rota and Lajes every six months and were augmented by Naval Reserves, Naval Air Reserve patrol squadrons for shorter durations on a periodic basis. With the Layoff, downsizing of the US Navy during the late 1980s and early 1990s, especially after the end of the Cold War, the base's population dramatically declined. The US Navy maintains approximately of the complex. There are about 4,000 Americans in Rota, including military, civilians, and their families. As US Navy started to reduce its presence USAF realized the potential of the airfield as a refuelling stop in Middle East deployments. Rota was used by C-5 and C-141 planes in the Gulf War in 1991. Later the US agreed with Spain to improve air base installations so it could handle more cargo plane operations. In April 2011, the commander of the US Navy garrison at the base, Captain William F. Mosk, was relieved of command and reassigned during an investigation into illegal drug use by US servicemen at the installation. Rear Admiral Tony Gaiani relieved Mosk for "lost confidence in his ability to command", specifically, to handle issues related to the investigation. On October 5, 2011, US Secretary of Defense Panetta announced that the USN will station four Aegis Combat System, Aegis warships at Rota to strengthen its presence in the Mediterranean Sea and bolster the missile defense of NATO as part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA). As of 2015, four US destroyers, including , , , and are permanently forward-deployed to Naval Station Rota as part of the Missile Defense System.


Naval Station Rota is home to an airfield and a seaport; the airfield has often caused the base to be misidentified as "Naval Air Station Rota". The base is the headquarters for Commanding officer, Commander, US Naval Activities Spain (COMNAVACTSPAIN), as well as a primary gateway for Air Mobility Command flights into Europe. Naval Station Rota is Military strategy, strategically located near the Strait of Gibraltar and at the halfway point between the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
and Southwest Asia. Because of this ideal location, the base is able to provide invaluable support to both US Sixth Fleet units in the Mediterranean and to USAF Air Mobility Command units transiting to Germany and Southwest Asia. The Base and its tenant commands are located within the boundaries of the Spanish "Base Naval de Rota". Under the guidance of the Spain – United States relations#Post-Franco era, Agreement for Defense Cooperation, the Spain–United States relations, US and Spanish navies work together and share many facilities. The US Navy has the responsibility for maintaining the station's infrastructure, including a airfield, three active Pier, piers, 426 facilities and 806 family housing units. From Naval Station Rota Spain, the VLF-transmitter Guardamar, which uses Torreta de Guardamar, the tallest man-made structure in the European Union as antenna, is telecontroled.


The base is used jointly by Spain and the United States. It remains under the Flag of Spain, Spanish flag and is commanded by a Spanish Vice Admiral. While the Spanish Navy is responsible for external security of the base, both Navies are charged with internal security. NAVSTA Rota is technically a tenant facility of the Rota Spanish Navy base. As a result, certain US military Tradition, customs are not observed, such as the display of a Flag of the United States, US Flag, which is only allowed during the annual Independence Day (United States), Fourth of July celebration or occasionally at half mast as a mark of respect with the ad-hoc permission of the Spanish Admiral.

Spanish Navy

This Base houses the Fleet Headquarters and the Naval Action Force, as well as the main operational units of the Navy: Naval Action Group 2, Aircraft Flotilla, 41st Escort Squadron.

Deployed ships

* Naval Action Group 2 ** Spanish ship Juan Carlos I, Juan Carlos I (L-61) ** Spanish ship Galicia (L51), Galicia (L51) ** Spanish ship Castilla (L52), Castilla (L52) * 41st Escort Squadron ** Spanish frigate Santa María, Santa María frigate (F81) ** Spanish frigate Victoria, Victoria frigate (F82) ** Spanish frigate Numancia, Numancia frigate (F83) ** Spanish frigate Reina Sofía, Reina Sofía frigate (F-84) ** Spanish frigate Navarra, Navarra frigate (F85) ** Spanish frigate Canarias, Canarias frigate (F86)

US Navy

Naval Station Rota provides support for US and NATO ships; supports the safe and efficient movement of US Navy and US Air Force flights and passengers; and provides cargo, fuel, and ammunition to units in the region. The Naval Station is the only base in the Mediterranean capable of supporting Amphibious Readiness Group post-deployment wash-downs. The base port also offers secure, pier-side maintenance and back-load facilities. Rota supports Amphibious Readiness Group turnovers and hosts Sailors and Marines from visiting afloat units. The base also provides Quality of Life support to Morón Air Base, ARG support sites at Palma de Majorca, NATO headquarters in Madrid and the Military Sealift Command's Maritime Prepositioning ship, Maritime Prepositioning Squadron 1. The mission of US Forces at Rota, as well as other US Navy installations in the Mediterranean such as NAS Sigonella and Souda Bay#Souda Air Base, Souda Air Base is to provide Command, Control and Logistics Support to US and NATO Operating Forces. These three facilities are undergoing a transformation from Maritime Patrol Aircraft airfields to multi-role “hubs” providing crucial air-links for USAF strategic airlift and mobility in support of US European Command (EUCOM), United States Central Command, Central Command (CENTCOM) and African Contingency Operations Training and Assistance, African Area contingency operations under CENTCOM, EUCOM and the evolving Africa Command (AFRICOM).

Tenant Commands and Forward-deployed ships

* Destroyer Squadron 60 (COMDESRON 60) ** ** ** ** * United States Navy EOD, United States Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit Eight * Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron Seven Nine (HSM-79) "Griffins", Flying the Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk

Operational Headquarters for the EU Naval Force

The Operational Headquarters (OHQ) for the EU Naval Force moved from Northwood Headquarters, Northwood, UK to Rota and to Brest, France, Brest, France on 29 March 2019. EU's Operation Atalanta is commanded from Naval Station Rota.


Since the 1980s, various leftist and activist pacifist groups have marched annually to protest the presence of US and Military of Spain, Spanish military personnel and equipment at the port of Rota. The most common path marches alongside the seaside streets of the town to protest at the individual US (NAVSTA Rota), Spanish ('':es:Base Naval de Rota, Base Naval de Rota'') and joint gates, where representatives of the groups read proclamations in favour of peace and freedom.


File:USS Ross (DDG 71) Conducting Naval Operations 170329-N-FQ994-073.jpg, Conducting Naval Operations File:Ship LPD-Castilla-(L52).jpg, Galicia-class landing platform dock, Galicia-class ''Castilla'' of the Spanish Navy based at Rota File:US Navy 111121-N-TM034-133 Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO) Adm. Mark Ferguson, center, meets with Spanish navy rear admirals.jpg, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, (VCNO) Mark E. Ferguson III, Adm. Mark Ferguson, center, meets with Spanish navy Vice Adm. Juan Rodriguez-Garat, left, and Spanish navy Rear Adm. Juan Ruiz-Casas at Naval Station Rota File:26th MEU Wash Down at Naval Station Rota, Spain 131019-M-SO289-014.jpg, The USMC's 26th MEU at Naval Station Rota File:Buques en la base naval de Rota.JPG, Ships of the Spanish navy in their usual mooring at the Naval base in Rota (Cádiz) File:US Navy 031001-N-2964H-002 A Marine from USS Nashville (LPD 13) unloads a M1-A1 Abrams main battle tank from Landing Craft Air Cushioned (LCAC) vehicle at U.S. Naval Station Rota, Spain.jpg, A US Marine from unloads a M1 Abrams, M1A1 Abrams main battle tank from a Landing Craft Air Cushion at Naval Station Rota

See also

* US Naval Advance Bases


External links

Base Naval de Rota. Spanish Navy Website

U.S. Naval Station Rota, Spain website
; Video links * {{authority control Naval Stations of the United States Navy 1953 establishments in Spain Airports in Andalusia Buildings and structures in Andalusia Military installations established in 1953 Spanish Navy bases Spain–United States military relations