PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee (DDG 90), with her crew of more than 300 Sailors, will returned home to Pearl Harbor, Sept. 22, marking the end a successful 167-day Western Pacific and Middle East deployment.
The Sailors of Chafee return home from the ship’s second deployment to family, friends and the comforts of Hawaii knowing that they performed exceptionally well across a broad range of tasks and operations.
"I am extremely proud of the crew's exceptional performance,” said Cmdr. Robert P. Tortora, Chafee’s commanding officer. “Team Chafee was ready for all tasking and incredibly flexible from the day we sailed to the day we returned."
“It was a real demanding deployment. We pretty much covered every warfare area there is, but the crew stuck together and everybody did a great job,” said Chief Operations Specialist (SW/AW) Charlie Bennie.
A crowd of thousands waited patiently on the pier to welcome back the ship and her crew.
“My Sailors are very excited to be back and they all have plans. Every single one of them is going to go spend time with their families, fly back to the States; everybody has something they want to go do today, tomorrow and for the next month as we stand down after these 167 days away,” said Tortora.
Chafee departed Pearl Harbor April 9, as part of the San Diego based Nimitz (CVN 68) Carrier Strike Group (CSG) and deployed to the U.S 5th Fleet (C5F) area of operations.
While deployed to the Middle East, Chafee conducted maritime operations with coalition partners off the Horn of Africa to disrupt piracy and terrorist activities in the area. Chafee then entered the Persian Gulf and began tasking to further regional maritime security goals; including escort of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74); oil platform defense off the coast of Iraq; and maritime security patrols. Chafee’s Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) teams conducted small boat approaches and assisted in operations in the Central and Southern Arabian Gulf to offer goodwill visits to local mariners, helping to foster a spirit of cooperation between Navy coalition partners and the local maritime community.
After departing the Middle East, Chafee rejoined the Nimitz CSG and transited to the U.S. 7th Fleet to participate in exercise Valiant Shield 2007 (VS07) Aug 7-14. VS07 was a multi-dimensional joint exercise off the coast of Guam with U.S. forces including the Stennis, Nimitz and USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) CSGs and more than 25 Navy ships, as well as numerous sub-surface, and U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force aircraft. VS07 was designed to focus on integrated joint training among U.S. military forces, enabling real-world proficiency in sustaining joint forces and in detecting, locating, tracking and engaging units at sea, in the air, on the land and in the cyberspace in response to a range of mission areas.
In addition, Chafee and the Nimitz CSG joined the Kitty Hawk CSG and India’s aircraft carrier INS Viraat (R 22) to participate in the multilateral exercise Malabar 07-2. This annual exercise included ships from India, Australia, Japan, and Singapore in the Bay of Bengal to advance mutual maritime understanding and interoperability.
The deployment was not all work as Chafee Sailors were able to visit Guam, Bahrain, Hong Kong, Singapore and Middle East ports for liberty calls along the way.
Sailors also showed their compassion and hard work by participating in community relations projects. About 70 Sailors participated in projects, volunteering their time at Guam’s Ayuda Foundation, a nonprofit organization providing educational and medical supplies to hospitals and schools for the underprivileged in Micronesia.
In Singapore, Chafee Sailors traveled to the Tao Fong Shan Christian Centre, located in Shatin, New Territories Hong Kong. The Centre provides food, shelter to the needy. The Sailors helped preserve the Centre by placing sandbags around the facility’s mountain edge.
In addition to Chafee, the Nimitz CSG consists of Carrier Air Wing 11 and Destroyer Squadron 23, and includes the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68); the guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59), the guided-missile destroyers USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53), USS Higgins (DDG 76), and USS Pinckney (DDG 91); Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 49 “Scorpions,” and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit 11, Det. 3.
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