PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Guided-missile destroyers USS Russell (DDG 59) and USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60) departed their homeport of Naval Station Pearl Harbor on Feb. 3 as part of the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Carrier Strike Group (CSG) surge deployment.
The Russell crew had been back at their homeport only four months before learning, in January, of their current surge deployment. In the past 11 months, Russell has served escort duty in the global war on terrorism for two strike groups: the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) CSG in March and the USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) CSG, before returning to Pearl Harbor in September.
"The Russell is deploying [as part of] the Fleet Response Plan. We're deploying with the USS Ronald Reagan to the western Pacific for a time to be determined," said Cmdr. Brad Cooper, Russell commanding officer.
The Navy's Fleet Response Plan is a Navy-wide initiative designed to ensure ships are able to respond to real-world situations by maintaining high states of readiness so they can provide ready forces to operational theaters and combatant commanders.
"I think it's important for our families to recognize the nation is at war. The short notice deployment is specifically in response to a request for forces in the western Pacific," said Cooper.
Paul Hamilton, which departed Jan. 26, returned to Pearl Harbor several days later and was reassigned to the Reagan CSG.
"There were some long workdays, but I'm proud of my husband and I'm proud that the ship can be ready in such a timely fashion. That's what they signed up for and it's their job," said a spouse of a Russell Sailor.
In addition to Russell and Paul Hamilton, the Reagan CSG is comprised of Commander, CSG 7, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, and the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57).
Ronald Reagan surge deployed to the 7th Fleet area of operations from Naval Station North Island on Jan. 27. The CSG will operate in the western Pacific in support of U.S. commitments in the region.
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