Houston native supports ballistic missile defenders in Spain

August 20, 2018

ROTA, Spain — A 2015 Colegio Pierre Favre, in Mexico, graduate and Houston native is serving in Spain at U.S. Naval Hospital Rota in support of ballistic-missile defense ships forward-deployed to Naval Station Rota.

Hospitalman Stephanie Hartley is a Navy hospital corpsman working at U.S. Naval Hospital Rota and is responsible for maintaining medical readiness of our forces, assisting medical providers in administering care to active duty service members, their families and local nationals.

Hartley credits success in the Navy with lessons learned growing up in Houston.

“I’ve learned to apply my social skills from back home in the Navy,” said Hartley. “I used to be a part of church and volunteer organizations. It all helps in the military.”

Naval Station Rota is operationally equipped with four forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers tasked to enhance the ballistic missile defense of the European region.

These four destroyers have a critical NATO mission, specifically to provide full coverage protection for all NATO European populations, territories and forces against the increasing threats posed by the ability to acquire ballistic missiles capabilities.

According to the NATO website, many countries have, or are trying to develop ballistic missiles. The ability to acquire these capabilities does not necessarily mean there is an immediate intent to attack NATO, but that the alliance has a responsibility to take any possible threat into account as part of its core task of collective defense.

Ballistic Missile Defense is a key defensive capability for the U.S., providing protection against the threat of short and medium-range ballistic missile attacks. Stationing four ballistic missile defense ships in Spain provides an umbrella of protection to forward-deployed forces, friends and allies while contributing to a broader defense of the United States.

Situated on a 6,100-acre Spanish Navy base, Naval Station Rota provides cargo, fuel and logistics support to units transiting the region, supporting U.S. and NATO ships; U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force aircraft with a 670-acre airfield; and the largest weapons and fuels facilities in Europe. Under the guidance of the Agreement on Defense Cooperation, the U.S. and Spanish navies work together and share many facilities.

The Kingdom of Spain is a very important ally to the United States for projecting military power into the Mediterranean, North Africa and Middle East. The United States has significant shared security interests. Spain has traditionally supported U.S. forces’ deployments and operations, enabling U.S. forces to depart from Spain directly into international air and sea space.

“U.S. Naval Hospital Rota understands the unique demands and challenges that the fleet, forces and families of our community face,” said Capt. Judy Cynthia, commanding officer U.S. Naval Hospital Rota. “We are honored to provide operationally relevant medical care and support that not only meets all of the civilian healthcare quality standards, but is highly specialized and tailored to meet the needs of those we serve.”

Hartley is also proud of earning three warfare devices while on a seven-month deployment.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Hartley and other service members at Naval Station Rota know they are a part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.

“Serving in the Navy aided me in developing my social skills and working with others, having more confidence in public speaking and adapting to changes,” said Hartley.

Living in Spain while serving at U.S. Naval Hospital Rota has been a positive impact on sailors, including Hartley.

“My favorite part about serving in Spain is getting to work with the local national, getting to know people from different ethnicities and backgrounds,” said Hartley. “The Spanish culture is very relaxed and laid back.

Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brian T. Glunt is with the Navy Office of Community Outreach.

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