Guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage (DDG 61) returned to its Naval Station Norfolk homeport May 4 after a nine-month deployment to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.
Ramage, which deployed Aug. 7, 2013, supported maritime security operations and conducted theater security cooperation efforts during her time in 6th Fleet.
“I think the deployment went great,” said Cmdr. Dave Stoner, Ramage’s commanding officer. “Everything that we were asked to do we were able to accomplish because of our training. There were a few things that we hadn’t specifically trained for, but the crew adapted very quickly. The opportunities we had as an independently deployed destroyer on this deployment were truly unique.”
Ramage senior leadership was proud of the crew’s performance in meeting theater objectives.
“One of the reasons I extended my tour here is because the crew is just phenomenal,” said Ramage’s Command Master Chief Joseph O’Brien. “They performed so much better than any crew that I have worked with in the past.”
During the course of her deployment, Ramage conducted naval exercises with partners in the region. Evolutions included joint visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS), live-fire proficiency, aviation operations, and personnel exchanges. All of the events enhanced interoperability between the U.S., NATO, and partner forces.
“Hardly a day went by when we didn’t see a warship from another country,” said Stoner. “The close interaction operating with them or near them is really the most interesting and rewarding part of the deployment. I think now more than ever our relationships with other countries matter.”
Ramage also briefly joined the George H. W. Bush Carrier Strike Group and served as the strike group’s Air Defense Commander. Ramage conducted port visits to Italy, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, and Israel, enhancing relations with each of these countries while affording the crew the opportunity to explore their culture and history.
“The crew performed magnificently and they conducted themselves in the best manner really befitting of Navy core values ashore and out to sea,” said Stoner.
Commissioned in 1995, Ramage is the first ship to carry the name and the 11th destroyer of its class. Ramage is named in honor of Vice Adm. Lawson P. Ramage, the distinguished World War II submarine commander who earned the Medal of Honor when he led the USS Parche (SS 384) on a daring nighttime attack on a Japanese convoy, sinking two enemy ships and damaging another three without sustaining any damage.
Press Release, May 5, 2014; Image: Wikimedia