The U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG71) has entered Valletta’s Grand Harbour earlier this morning. This is the vessel’s third visit to Malta after visiting in 1999 and 2004.
She is the second Navy ship to bear the name Ross, the first honouring Medal of Honour recipient Donald K. Ross, and the 21st destroyer of her class.
The keel of the USS ROSS was laid on April 10, 1995, at Pascagoula, Mississippi, and she was christened a year later. The plank-owning crew of ROSS boarded the ship in April 1997 and sailed her to Galveston, Texas for commissioning on June 28, 1997. ROSS sailed on a six-week Combat Systems Ship Qualification Trial after commissioning and then returned to Pascagoula for a three-month Post Shakedown Availability (PSA). ROSS returned to Portsmouth, Virginia, where she finished the Basic Training Phase, which included various examinations and certifications.
ROSS completed the Intermediate Training Phase and embarked with the THEODORE ROOSEVELT Battle Group in March 1999 for a Joint Task Force Exercise in preparation for a six-month deployment to the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas to participate in Operation Allied Force.
ROSS moved her homeport from Norfolk, Virginia, to Rota, Spain, in 2014, and started a regular patrol cycle. ROSS intercepted a Terrier missile in the North Sea on October 21, 2015, as part of ASD-15 anti-ballistic missile testing. ROSS spent the summer of 2017 patrolling the Norwegian Sea and the Arctic Ocean for anti-submarine warfare. In reaction to the deaths of at least 80 civilians in the immediate aftermath of the Syrian regime’s 4 April 2017 chemical assault, Ross and Porter launched 59 Tomahawk missiles from the Eastern Mediterranean Sea targeting selected military targets in Syria on 7 April 2017. ROSS was awarded the “Battle E” award for excellence on the waterfront in 2019.
ROSS has undertaken eleven patrols in support of maritime security and regional partners in the 6th Fleet area of responsibility, which includes the Mediterranean, Baltic, Barents, and Black Seas, as well as the Eastern Atlantic.