US Navy destroyers USS Mason (DDG 87), USS Nitze (DDG 94), and USS Bainbridge (DDG 96) returned to Norfolk Naval Station on November 5, completing a seven-month deployment to the US 6th and 5th Fleet areas of operation.
The Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyers deployed April 1 as part of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 2 and Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 12 in support of maritime stability and security.
While in 5th Fleet the three destroyers’ participated in Operation Sentinel, maintaining freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce for merchant vessels in and out of the heavily transited Strait of Hormuz. These operations were instrumental in maintaining stability throughout the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, and Arabian Sea.
Nitze assisted with the medical evacuation of a Polish merchant mariner in the Gulf of Aden In May after a Safety of Life at Sea extraction was requested by the motor vessel (M/V) Jules Verne. Mason and Bainbridge rendered assistance to motor tanker (M/T) Kokuka Courageous in June after it was attacked in the Gulf of Oman.
While in the US 6th Fleet, Mason, Bainbridge, and Nitze participated in dual-carrier operations as part of the Abraham Lincoln CSG, which conducted joint training with the John C. Stennis CSG while operating in the Mediterranean. Their presence in 6th Fleet was emblematic of the multi-mission capability of the US Navy’s globally-deployed force.
The destroyers also participated in realistic multilateral training with regional partners and allies to increase joint capabilities and strengthen partnerships, honing the skills necessary to achieve maritime superiority through presence.
The ships performed numerous training exercises to develop tactical competencies throughout the deployment. From carrier strike force operations with the John C. Stennis Strike Group, to dual operations with the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group, to exercises with partner navies and forces, the destroyers developed key skillsets to maintain readiness and interoperability.
The three ships each navigated more than 45,000 nautical miles and completed multiple strait and choke point transits, to include the Strait of Gibraltar, the Turkish Straits, the Straits of Messina, the Strait of Tiran, the Suez Canal, the Bab-el Mandeb, and the Strait of Hormuz.
Additional ships of CSG 12, including flagship Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) and Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), remain on deployment supporting the US 5th Fleet.