USS CHAFEE (NNS) -- USS Chafee (DDG 90) left her homeport of Pearl Harbor May 20 for her maiden deployment with the USS Nimitz (CVN 65) Carrier Strike Group.
Chafee's crew had a successful transit to Pearl Harbor and endured an accelerated training cycle in order to be prepared to deploy. According to Chafee leaders, this training will help Chafee perform her various taskings while on deployment, including operations to support the global war on terrorism and maritime security in the region.
"Without question, deployment is the high ground of sea duty and the endgame to the rigorous training the ship and her crew endures over the course of a readiness cycle," said Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Simmons, Chafee's executive officer. "The Sailors and officers aboard Chafee understand it's their duty to forward deploy in support of national policy - and they are ready."
More than 50 percent of Chafee's crew of 330 Sailors, including embarked Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (Light) (HSL) 37, Det. 1 Easyriders, will mark this as their first deployment. However, the mission at hand to promote global stability and peace also means that the crew will bear the burden of being away from home.
"Deployment is especially difficult for those members of the crew with families back home," said Lt.j.g. Patricia Palmer. "But I know that our crew is ready to deploy to protect the freedom of those loved ones. In the end, that can be all the difference in making the deployment feel worthwhile."
Chafee Command Master Chief CMDCM Bennett Ray echoed the sentiment.
"Our families understand the importance of our mission and support us 100 percent. Exceptional Sailors and supportive family members equal a successful deployment," said Ray. "Chafee Sailors are excited about the opportunity to deploy and utilize their training and skills to accomplish our mission in defending freedom throughout the world."
It was not only Chafee's crew that had to say goodbye to their loved ones. When Chafee deployed, the crew took along with them two SH-60B Seahawk helicopters and an air detachment, part of HSL-37, based out of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay. Chafee's capacity to have an air detachment embarked provides more flexibility and more support to the Carrier Strike Group.
Other members of Carrier Strike Group 11 are the guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59), the guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins (DDG 76), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11, the fast-attack submarine USS Louisville (SSN 724), and the fast combat support ship USNS Bridge (T-AOE 10).
The Nimitz Strike Group is commanded by Rear Adm. Peter H. Daly. Chafee is under the command of Cmdr. John M. Clausen.
"This deployment represents the culmination of several years of hard work for the crew," said Clausen. "Thanks to their determination, Chafee is ready. I am very excited to deploy with this crew."
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