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During the ceremony, guest speaker Capt. Joe Ring, commander, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific (COMNAVSURFGRU MIDPAC) wished current and former crew members and their families fair winds and following seas as they bid farewell to their ship.
“The operations Port Royal Sailors supported when the nation called provided tremendous significance to their lives as well as the legacy of the United States Navy,” said Ring. “They left an indelible legacy for the future. To remain ahead of our competitors, we must now invest and provide our Sailors with the most advanced systems and warfighting capabilities that will enable us to maintain our competitive edge.”
Port Royal’s commanding officer, Capt. Michael “Mike” Wagner, reflected on the service of his crew and those who came before.
“USS Port Royal and generations of Sailors served our nation with honor and distinction for more than 28 years,” said Wagner. “Port Royal deployed all over the globe and earned numerous awards and accolades during her time of service. We are proud of what this ship and her crews accomplished.”
Port Royal maintained a crew of 40 officers, 31 chiefs and 300 enlisted Sailors. The ship was built in Pascagoula, Mississippi, by Ingalls Shipyard Company and commissioned July 9, 1994, in Savannah, Georgia.
CG 73 is the second ship in the U.S. Navy to be commissioned as Port Royal. The first ship of the fleet to bear the name “USS Port Royal” was a wooden 1163-ton "double-ender" side wheel steam gunboat, built in New York City. Commissioned in April 1862, Port Royal was soon sent to the Hampton Roads and James River areas, taking part in the battle at Sewell's Point on May 8-9, 1862 and at Fort Darling on May 15, 1862. The first USS Port Royal was decommissioned in May 1866 and sold in October of that year.
The current Port Royal’s rich deployment history spans two decades, starting in December 1995 as part of the Nimitz battle group Carrier Group Seven. Following her first deployment, Port Royal became the first Navy cruiser to integrate women into the crew. The ship returned from her final deployment in July 2022. During the ship’s 28 plus years of commissioned service, Port Royal made numerous deployments to the Arabian Gulf, Mediterranean Sea, and operated prominently throughout the Indo-Pacific region supporting peace and stability and working alongside allied and partner navies.
The decommissioning of CG 73 supports Navy department-wide business process reform initiatives to free up time, resources, and manpower in support of increased lethality.
After the decommissioning of Port Royal, 21 cruisers remain in service to the fleet.
For more news from Naval Surface Forces, visit https://www.surfpac.navy.mil/ and www.dvidshub.net/unit/COMNAVSURFPAC.
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