Guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) transited the Suez Canal and entered the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR), March 8.
Winston S. Churchill’s passage through the 120-mile long canal marks the end of a 234-day tour in U.S. 5th Fleet AOR, where she first served as part of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (CSG) and later with the John C. Stennis CSG.
While in the 5th Fleet AOR, Winston S. Churchill steamed more than 54,000 nautical miles, conducted maritime security operations, theater security cooperation engagements, and support missions for Operation Enduring Freedom.
“Winston S. Churchill was an integral part of providing recognized air and maritime picture to Combined Task Force 50 as well as U.S. Naval Forces Central Command,” said Lt. Michael Buckley, USS Winston S. Churchill operations officer. “Winston S. Churchill’s work with multiple gulf coast nations added to maritime stability in the area.”
Embarked Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 72, Detachment 8, flew missions almost every day completing more than 1,000 flight hours in support of maritime security operations, said Lt. Nicolas Moreno, detachment operations officer.
Winston S. Churchill rendered medical assistance to Panamanian-flagged, bulk carrier Motor Vessel Belde, Aug. 20. She conducted a medical evacuation, transporting the injured crew member by SH-60B helicopter attached to HSM 72, Detachment 8, to an Oman medical facility for treatment.
Churchill participated in the first bilateral counter-piracy exercise between the U.S. Navy and Chinese People’s Liberation Army (Navy) with frigate Yi Yang (FF 548), Sept. 17. The focus was on interoperability in detecting, boarding and searching suspected vessels as well as the ability of both Chinese and American naval assets to respond to pirated vessels.
During the combined merchant and naval exercise, Lucky Mariner 2013, Winston S. Churchill escorted commercial Dec. 11, as part of the biannual exercise, led by Naval Coordination and Guidance for Shipping, that teamed regional naval forces with industry representatives to integrate civilian-military responses to violent extremist threats to theater shipping.
Winston S. Churchill conducted port visits to Manama, Bahrain; Dubai, U.A.E; and Aqaba, Jordan.
“Winston S. Churchill set the standard for excellence in 5th Fleet operations,” said Cmdr. Chris Stone, USS Winston S. Churchill commanding officer. “Winston S. Churchill performed every undertaking with pride and professionalism. I am incredibly proud to serve alongside such exceptional Ambassadors of the United States, the U.S. Navy and this ship.”
Winston S. Churchill is currently deployed to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility.
Naval Today Staff, March 15, 2013; Image: US Navy