The guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55) returned to Naval Station Norfolk today following a six-month deployment in the U.S. Fleet Forces and 6th Fleet Areas of Operations.
Leyte Gulf deployed June 25, 2014 to the Mediterranean Sea, where the ship assumed duties as Standing NATO Maritime Group (SNMG) 2 flagship July 8, in Malaga, Spain.
Under Rear Adm. Brad Williamson, her crew conducted a variety of operations and exercises alongside multinational allies, sailing extensively with the German frigate FGS Niedersachsen (F 208), Turkish frigate TCG Kemalreis (F 247) and Canadian frigate HMCS Toronto (DDH 337).
Sailing 35,000 miles, four times across the Atlantic Ocean and eight times through the Strait of Gibraltar, Leyte Gulf took part in a Canadian Task Group Exercise (TGEX), a U.S. Fleet Exercise (FLEETEX); the Star Spangled Spectacular in Baltimore, Md.; a U.S. Amphibious Ready Group/Marine Expeditionary Unit Exercise (ARGMEUEX); a Spanish exercise and a Turkish exercise.
Additionally, the ship conducted maritime security operations in support of Operation Active Endeavour in the Mediterranean Sea. Upon completion of their mission, changing requirements afforded Leyte Gulf the opportunity to return to her homeport roughly a month ahead of schedule, after being relieved by USS Vicksburg (CG 69) as SNMG2 flagship.
Press release, Image: US Navy