USS Oak Hill wraps up deployment to Europe, Middle East

Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) returns to its homeport, Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Photo: US Navy

US Navy dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) returned to her Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story homeport on August 7, wrapping up a six-month deployment to the US 5th and US 6th Fleet areas of operations.

Oak Hill departed their homeport Feb. 9 as a part of the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and supported operations in US 5th and US 6th Fleets as well as participated in military exercises in the northern Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, Gulf of Aden, Red Sea and the Baltic Sea.

“Our journey began back in August 2016 when we entered the shipyard followed by completing basic and integrated training phases to deploy 18 months ahead of schedule,” said Cmdr. Philip Knight, Oak Hill’s commanding officer. “The Sailors and Marines of Oak Hill are excited to finally be home.”

During Oak Hill’s six-month deployment, the ship traveled 54,199 nautical miles through four oceans, navigated six straits and chokepoints, and conducted 14,313 hours of amphibious operations.

The ship also visited seven ports where its 800 sailors and embarked Marines strengthened relationships with countries in Europe and the Middle East. Efforts included holding a reception in Batumi, Georgia, giving public tours as part of Kiel Week in Germany and giving back to their host countries through a variety of community relations projects.

At sea, Oak Hill conducted joint operations with more than 30 nations, participated in multiple ship-to-shore operations, executed 108 aircraft launches and recoveries, and took part in five military exercises.

During exercise Baltic Operations 2018, NATO’s premier, maritime-focused exercise in the Baltic region, Oak Hill hosted Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite and Vice Adm. Lisa Franchetti, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, and commander, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO.

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