Here we see a warrant officer in dress whites aboard USS Walke (Destroyer # 34) leaning jauntily on a stanchion-mounted machine gun, circa 1914. This weapon is a .30 caliber U.S. Model 1909 Machine Rifle (Benét-Mercié), a modification of the French Hotchkiss Portative. The gun appears to be on an AAA mount, which is novel for the time.
Courtesy of Jim Kazalis, 1981. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph. Catalog #: NH 92544
Walke, an early Paulding-class destroyer, carried as her main battery a half-dozen 18-inch deck-mounted torpedo tubes, intended to poke holes in enemy ships. Her gun armament consisted of five 3-inch guns and a few European-designed machine guns, as shown. Commissioned in 1911, she remained in the fleet until 1934.
Fast forward 105 years…and you still have destroyers with a few .30-caliber European-designed machine guns as well as a half-dozen deck-mounted torpedo tubes, intended to poke holes in enemy ships, albeit of the submarine nature.
200111-N-TI693-1268 MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Jan. 11, 2020) Master-at-Arms 1st Class Jeffrey Deason, left, from Trenton, New Jersey, monitors Ensign Kelsey Ohm, from Huron, Ohio, as she fires an M240 machine gun during a crew-served weapons qualification aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64), Jan. 11, 2020. Carney, forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, is on its seventh forward-deployed naval force patrol in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of regional allies and partners as well as U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Fred Gray IV/Released)
The Big Blue first announced in 2012 they were sending a quartet of ABM-enabled Burkes to Spain where they would be forward deployed for emerging threats and provide NATO with some solid ballistic missile defense. Since then, three have gone over and even gotten involved in the Black Sea to a degree in the new cool war between the West and a resurgent Russia.
Now it looks like they will soon be full-up.
10016-N-7408S-012 MEDITTERANNEAN SEA (Jan. 16, 2010) Waves crash over the bow of the guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64). Carney is part of the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group and is deployed as part of an on-going rotation of forward-deployed forces to support maritime security operations in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Master at Arms Chief Chief Anthony J. Sganga/Released)
USS Carney (DDG 64) departed her homeport of Mayport, Florida, Sept. 6 on her way to Rota, Spain, as the final of four Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers to be forward deployed to Spain.
To enhance the security of the European region, Carney will join USS Donald Cook (DDG 75), USS Ross (DDG 71), and USS Porter (DDG 78) who have already made the transition to Spain.
“USS Carney and her crew will play a crucial role in the U.S. contribution to NATO’s ballistic missile defense efforts,” said Vice Adm. James Foggo III, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet. “Our forward deployed naval forces (FDNF) based in Rota provide a credible capability and support NATO’s broader commitment to regional security.”
Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) launches from the guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) as apart of a joint ballistic missile defense exercise. The new ABM capable DDGs carrying the SM-3 will provide a limited missile umbrella over Europe and North Africa. Click to embiggen
NNS140211-05. USS Donald Cook Begins Forward Deployment to Rota, Spain,
From Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs
ROTA, Spain (NNS) — The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) arrived at Naval Station Rota to begin her forward deployment to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations, Feb. 11.
Donald Cook is the first of four Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers to be stationed in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations, and will be joined by other guided-missile destroyers, USS Ross (DDG 71), USS Porter (DDG 78) and USS Carney (DDG 64), over the next two years.
The purpose behind these destroyers’ forward deployments is to enhance the security of the European region. While in U.S. 6th Fleet, these ships will perform numerous missions, including NATO ballistic missile defense, maritime security operations, bi-lateral and multi-lateral training exercises, and NATO operations and deployments.
Ross is scheduled to join Donald Cook in Rota later this year, with Carney and Porter arriving sometime in 2015.