NAVAL STATION NORFOLK (NNS) -- As selected by the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), the crew of USS Monterey (CG 61) was awarded the USS Arizona Memorial Trophy today during an onboard ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk.
Representing the CNO and on hand to present the coveted trophy to the 2017-2018 winner was the newly-appointed Director, Navy Staff, Mr. Andrew Haeuptle. He said that Monterey has proven their operational value to the fleet time and time again.
“If you have your back against the wall, you want the best and toughest there with you,” said Haeuptle. “This ship and this crew are that and I cannot wait to see what the future of this crew is.”
Consistent with the mission of USS Arizona (BB 39), the trophy is awarded every two years to the best performing, combat-ready crew among ships of the surface force with primary missions in strike warfare, surface fire support, and anti-surface warfare. The CNO announced that the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser earned the award last May.
“This award is only made possible by those on the deckplates,” said Capt. Anthony Littmann, Monterey commanding officer. “Along with our other awards, this will be placed on the mess decks where it belongs. There it will be a reminder of what this crew has done right and will continue to do.”
Throughout 2017 and 2018, Monterey consistently demonstrated superb combat readiness in three specific warfare characteristics: operational readiness, operational performance, and miscellaneous achievements contributing to readiness.
As the first ship ordered to surge deploy as part of the Optimized Fleet Readiness Program (OFRP), with less than 48 days’ notice, Monterey executed and achieved mission success deploying to Fifth and Sixth Fleets from October 2017 to May 2018.
Despite this high operational tempo, Monterey maintained operational readiness and received her fourth consecutive Retention Excellence Award in 2018, the Secretary of the Navy Energy Excellence Award for fiscal year 2018, and numerous command excellence awards in 2017.
She executed more than 90 Tier-One Tomahawk Land Attack Missile strike scenarios and established herself as the premier firing unit in the Navy and during Operation Steadfast Protector, led coalition strike operations against chemical weapons research, production, and storage sites in Syria in the absence of a carrier strike group.
“From returning after deployment to the maintenance and getting back on the waterfront, the crew has maintained its’ initiative and integrity,” said Lt. Cmdr. Zach Holliday, Monterey combat systems officer. “That is what I think will carry the team on to do more great things for the Navy.”
The fourth ship to be so named, Monterey is homeported in Norfolk, and commemorates the Mexican-American War battle of the same name. She is the 16th Aegis cruiser to join the fleet being commissioned June 16, 1990 in Mayport, Fla.
Monterey is currently undergoing pierside modernization and maintenance.
SURFLANT mans, trains and equips assigned surface forces and shore activities, ensuring a capable force for conducting prompt and sustained operations in support of United States national interests. More than 75 ships and 30 shore commands make up the SURFLANT Force.
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