The United States navy destroyer USS Donald Cook arrives in the Spanish port of Rota on Tuesday to form the first part of the NATO anti-missile shield.
The USS Donald Cook is the first of four guided missile destroyers which will eventually make their home in the base, which is in the south-west of Spain, close to the town of Cadiz.
The Donald Cook will be followed by the USS Ross in June of this year, while the USS Porter and the USS Carney, which are all of the Arleigh Burke class of warships, will probably arrive in 2015.
The USS Donald Cook will be welcomed in a ceremony attended by the U.S. Ambassador to Madrid, James Costos and U.S. Naval Secretary, Ray Mabus.
It is said that the residents of Roca are pleased to see the arrival of the Donald Cook, which carries a crew of 338.
The town already has shops selling goods directed at the U.S. sailors, who will in many cases also be accompanied by their families, raising the prospect of more clients for the town's shops, bars and also to rent property.
Meanwhile the four-year contract to maintain the four ships has been given to a Spanish company, which means the creation of further employment in a region which has been badly hit by the economic crisis.
The destroyer is equipped with the Aegis anti-missile system, which is designed to intercept offensive long range ballistic missiles and the ships mobility and position at the doors of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean will allow it great mobility to reach zones such as the south and center of Europe as well as the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.
NATO decided in November 2010 to proceed with the missile shield, a move which has long been criticized by Russia, which is especially unhappy that the shield will see further bases set up in Poland and the Czech Republic, according to media reports.