CJTF-HOA makes a "pit stop" in Rota

27 Nov 2002 | Cpl. Andrew W. Miller

Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa left Norfolk, Va. in mid-November and is headed for northeast Africa where there is a perceived threat of terrorism. The ship recently stopped in Rota, Spain for supplies and recreation.Arriving at U.S. Naval Station Rota, Spain one day late, the ship's crew began feverishly preparing to get back on schedule.With CJTF-HOA security detachment in place, the ship was refueled, as well as re-stocked. "Ammunition and spare parts were brought aboard in Rota," said Lt. Fiona C. Halbritter, the ship's assistant operations officer.Perishable foods were also replenished."We re-stocked bread, milk, fruits and vegetables," said Halbritter, of Huntsville, Al.Both the ship's crew and the Marines did their parts to ensure they would be ready to depart on time.Marines representing each CJTF-HOA section picked up necessities from the naval station's supply support facility."We spent approximately $5,000 on material-readiness as soon as we arrived," said Staff Sgt. Chris S. McDonald, ground/air readiness chief, native of Orange County, Calif. "Administrative supplies were picked up and bottled water was brought aboard."Although replenishment was first, Marines and Sailors had a few days to enjoy the sights and sounds of Spain. Liberty call sounded at approximately 2 p.m. the first day. Many Marines and Sailors made a dash for Rota to relieve the stress of being cooped up on a ship. Some bought souvenirs to mail home to their families. Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR) offered guided tours to those who were interested in seeing other parts of Spain like Seville, the capital of Andalucia. Marines and Sailors also received a musical treat. Country music band, Restless Heart, visited USS Mount Whitney to show support for the troops and wish them luck. Later in the evening, the United States Air Force Reserve Band performed and was followed by country music artist, Jamie O'Neal. Restless Heart played the night away as couples danced to some of the bands classic ballads.All too soon, it was time to leave. After replenishing supplies and morale, the USS Mount Whitney crew and CJTF-HOA personnel were on their way again to aid in the fight against global terrorism.