PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- Friends and family members gathered at Pearl Harbor Feb. 27 to say goodbye to more than 700 Sailors of Pearl Harbor-based ships, USS Port Royal (CG 73) and USS Rueben James (FFG 57).
The two ships will join Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 3 as they depart Hawaii for a six-month Western Pacific deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
"Working up to this deployment has been a real labor of love," said Cmdr. Logan Jones, commanding officer of Reuben James. "This crew has really worked hard to get ready for this. We look forward to the challenges of a deployment."
Reuben James is a 453-foot-long Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate. The ship is a multi-mission platform designed to escort and protect carrier strike groups, expeditionary strike groups, underway replenishment groups and convoys, in addition to conducting anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare.
"Port Royal is ready and trained to handle any mission anywhere in the world," said Capt. David Matawitz, commanding officer of Port Royal. "This crew is the finest I have ever seen. Their dedication and professionalism are a commanding officer's dream. Now it's time to get out there and get it done."
Port Royal is the Navy's 27th Aegis-class guided-missile cruiser, and the last cruiser to be constructed in the 20th century. Port Royal is designed to conduct prompt, sustained combat operations at sea in support of carrier battle groups, expeditionary strike groups, surface actions groups, amphibious assault groups, and as an integral part of maritime interdiction forces.
ESG 3 includes USS Peleliu (LHA 5), the guided-missile cruiser Port Royal, the guided-missile frigate Rueben James, the dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42), the guided-missile destroyer USS Laboon (DDG 58), the Amphibious Transport Dock USS Ogden (LPD 5), the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, TACRON 11 and the "Blackjacks" of Helicopter Sea Squadron (HSC) 21. Marine Brig. Gen. Carl Jensen commands ESG 3 from his flagship, Peleliu.
The ships of the ESG will operate in the Pacific and Indian Oceans in support of the global war on terrorism, and other missions as required by the combatant commander.
For related news, visit the Commander, Navy Region Hawaii Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cnrh/.