The USS Arleigh Burke (DDG-51), named for Admiral Arleigh A. Burke, USN (1901-1996), is the flag ship of the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers. Her keel was laid by Bath Iron Works at Bath, Maine, on 6 December 1988, and the ship was launched by Mrs. Arleigh Burke on 16 September 1989. Admiral Burke attended the ship’s commissioning on 4 July 1991, at Town Point Park in Norfolk, Virginia.
Following initial operational testing, the USS Arleigh Burke was deployed to the Mediterranean Sea and the Adriatic Sea in 1993, serving as the “Green Crown” during Operation Provide Promise. During her second deployment in 1995, the Arleigh Burke steamed in the Mediterranean and performed “Red Crown” duties in support of the No-Fly Zone over Bosnia-Herzegovina. During her third cruise in 1998, she sailed the Mediterranean Sea, Adriatic Sea, Red Sea, and Black Sea, and participated in American and Allied exercises. During her fourth cruise in 2000-2001, the Arleigh Burke served in the Mediterranean and Red Seas and in the Persian Gulf, enforcing United Nations sanctions against Iraq.
On her fifth deployment in 2003, the USS Arleigh Burke and the other units of the USS Theodore Roosevelt-led carrier battle group participated in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Arleigh Burke fired Tomahawk missile against targets in Iraq, escorted merchant ships and naval auxiliaries through geographic choke-points, and carried out “leadership interdiction” operations in the northern Arabian Sea. She also undertook counter-piracy missions in the Gulf of Aden.
In 2009, the Arleigh Burke was deployed to the eastern coast of Africa in support of AFRICOM’s Africa Partnership Station. The ship represented the United States during a port visit on the island nation of Seychelles where they played a role in securing a status of forces agreement between the two countries. In August 2010, the Arleigh Burke entered BAE Systems Norfolk Ship Repair in Norfolk, VA for DDG Modernization, a program to upgrade the ship’s systems and to extend her service life to 40 years.
In September 2014, she fired Tomahawk missiles on ISIS targets in Syria while in the Red Sea.
In 2021, she changed home port to Rota Spain.
The USS Arleigh Burke has earned one Navy Unit Commendation, three Meritorious Unit Commendations, three Battle Efficiency E Awards, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Kuwait Liberation Medal, and five Sea Service Deployment Ribbons.
(Need additional detail after 2009, update award summary)