The guided-missile cruiser USS Port Royal (CG 73) will return from a 212-day independent deployment to the Arabian Sea, Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, South China Sea, Western Pacific, and Indian Ocean, March 24.
While deployed to the U.S. 5th, 6th, and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility, the ship and crew of more than 390 Sailors conducted joint maritime security exercises with South East Asia partners, theatre anti-submarine operations, joint counterterrorism/smuggling exercises, Pacific presence operations in the South China Sea, 5th Fleet sector air defense, and carrier strike group operations with USS Dwight D Eisenhower and USS Carl Vinson. Port Royal also conducted straits transits, providing protection for U.S. and international commerce and projecting sea control in the vicinity of Yemen and Somalia.
“Port Royal’s 2016-2017 deployment was the culmination of the hard work that had been ongoing since the ship’s last deployment. Port Royal’s crew remained focused on getting their ship materially ready for operational excellence, which they demonstrated throughout their 2016-2017 deployment. The crew has lived up to the ship’s motto, ‘The Will to Win,’ and they have never wavered in their support of the ship and its mission,” said Capt. Adolfo H. Ibarra, Port Royal’s former commanding officer.
Ibarra turned over command to Capt. Christopher J. Budde during an official change of command on Feb. 24, 2017 while the ship was operating in the Western Pacific. Budde echoed Ibarra’s sentiments. “The Port Royal crew performed brilliantly throughout a seven month deployment spanning the 5th, 6th, and 7th Fleet AORs. More impressive was the effort that went into certification and workups. Getting this ship prepared for its first deployment in five years was a Herculean task that required incredible work and dedicated deckplate leadership,” said Budde.
Port Royal is a multi-mission ship with air warfare, submarine warfare, surface warfare, and strike capabilities; designed to operate independently or with carrier strike groups, surface action groups or amphibious ready groups. Lt. Cmdr. Daniel A. Hancock, Port Royal executive officer, said he was proud of the crew’s performance and execution of diverse mission sets throughout deployment.
“At the heart of it, our crew proved that our Sailors truly represent the best of America,” said Hancock. “They have the hearts of lions and showed it daily under combat conditions. I am extremely proud of the work they have done for this nation. This ship returns to Pearl Harbor materially-sound and operationally ready. That is a testament to the leadership of my chiefs and officers, but above all, it reflects the tireless dedication of my Sailors to mission accomplishment. They have exuded excellence throughout this deployment, and because of their efforts, we return to our loved ones with our heads held high, undoubtedly the finest cruiser in the fleet.”
U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Pacific and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy.