NORFOLK, Va, (NNS) -- Guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) returned to her Norfolk Va., homeport today, after an eight-month deployment to the Mediterranean Sea as the initial platform for the ballistic missile defense of Europe under President Barack Obama's European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA).
While deployed to the U.S. 6th Fleet, Monterey's principal duties as the first EPAA ship included performing an evaluation and assessment of the operating environment for sustained ballistic missile defense (BMD) operations in the Mediterranean.
In doing so, the guided-missile cruiser and her crew visited 16 ports throughout the North, Mediterranean and Black seas. Monterey's visits demonstrated the United States' contribution and commitment to European ballistic missile defense while also emphasizing the multi-mission capabilities of U.S. Navy ships to NATO partners. This was accomplished through multiple theater security cooperation events to include visit, board, search and seizure training, anti-submarine warfare exercises, air defense exercises, and five community service projects.
During the deployment, Monterey was instrumental in creating and validating the SPY Readiness Program, designed to maximize the potential of ships equipped with the A/N SPY-1B air and missile defense radar. Additionally, the ship's engineering department returned home with no major casualties and a fully operational gas turbine plant.
Monterey deployed March 7, under the command of Capt. Jim Kilby, who turned over the helm Nov. 1 to Capt. Tom Kiss, during an underway change of command ceremony.
See video of her return to Norfolk:
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