The Hawaii-based Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) returned June 16 from a four-month deployment to the Western Pacific.
This is the last time the ship and crew of Lake Erie returns home to Pearl Harbor as they are scheduled to change homeports.
“Capt. Banigan and his team have made a difference,” said Commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific Rear Adm. Rick Williams. “The crew of Lake Erie stepped up and filled a critical need on this deployment. They represent the epitome of the CNO’s tenets: warfighting first, operate forward, be ready. I couldn’t be prouder.”
Commanding Officer Capt. John S. Banigan spoke about the deployment and ship’s mission in the Pacific.
“While on deployment, Lake Erie leveraged her accomplishments and proficiencies on the test range and defended the homeland and our allies on multiple Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) operations,” said Banigan. “We were always begging to go forward deployed and we got ourselves ready and we were able to surge and prove that we aren’t just a test ship, that we are fully mission capable.”
According to Banigan, he knows that regardless of homeport, Lake Erie Sailors will lead the way. “It’s bittersweet, we will miss Hawaii,” said Banigan, “but whatever the mission – we will succeed.”
Lake Erie is expected to replace USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) this summer as a rotational BMD deployer from San Diego, as John Paul Jones takes Lake Erie’s place in Hawaii as the nation’s BMD Test Ship.
Press Release, June 17, 2014; Image: US Navy