After spending some seven months operating independently in the Indo-Asia-Pacific, U.S. Navy’s guided missile cruiser USS Port Royal (CG 73) is set to return home on March 24.
The Ticonderoga-class cruiser will return to Pearl Harbor after starting its deployment together with guided missile destroyer USS Hopper on August 25, 2016.
While deployed to the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operation, the ship and crew of more than 390 sailors operated in the Arabian Sea, Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, South China Sea, Western Pacific, and Indian Ocean.
They 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 (CVN 69) and USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70).
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 while the ship was operating in the Western Pacific.