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    USS Cole Wraps up Deployment, Returns to Norfolk

    USS Cole

    Photo By Petty Officer 3rd Class Ellen Hilkowski | 150313-N-YB832- 031 NORFOLK, Va. (March 13, 2015) – Engineman 2nd Class Daniel...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic

    By Ensign Hannah Taylor, USS Cole Public Affairs

    NORFOLK - The guided-missile destroyer USS Cole (DDG 67) returned to Naval Station Norfolk after a seven-month deployment in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations (AOO).

    Cole, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, departed Norfolk, Aug. 22, 2014 and spent the deployment supporting U.S. national security interests in Europe.

    The ship transited more than 40,000 miles, participating in Exercise Mavi Balina, a multilateral, anti-submarine exercise hosted by Turkey, a passing exercise with the French navy’s Charles De Gaulle Carrier Strike Group, and multiple passing exercises with Romania, Turkey, Israel, and France. Cole also conducted maritime security operations in support of Operation Active Endeavour.

    Cmdr. James Quaresimo, Cole’s Commanding Officer, said he was proud of the outstanding performance of his crew during the deployment.

    “They prove time and time again why we are the best Navy in the world and Cole the best ship in the Navy,” Quaresimo said. “Patrolling the Mediterranean Sea providing Ballistic Missile Defense is important to enhancing global security. It is a capability unparalleled by others. Operating forward in the Black Sea and conducting operations with our allies was extremely rewarding and something our Sailors can be proud that they were involved with.”

    More than just operational integration with NATO allies, the deployment allowed Sailors to learn much about the world beyond America’s shores. Visiting six ports in five countries, Cole crewmembers volunteered more than 500 hours in eight community relations events for local charities and organizations.

    “Cole’s contributions to fleet operations will have a long-lasting effect, and it was the men and women of Cole who flawlessly provided that contribution,” Quaresimo said.

    Sailors also made time for individual accomplishments as well, with more than 40 Sailors advancing to their next pay grades and eight being selected into new job ratings. Cole also pinned 11 new Surface Warfare Officers and over 75 new Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialists.

    For one of these warriors, 24-year-old Hull Technician 3rd Class Casey Ludwig, there were other accomplishments.

    “My favorite part of being deployed was when we had a port visit in Haifa, Israel,” Ludwig said. “I was able to go up in a man-lift and repair the bridge wings, ensuring their integrity.”

    A native of Reading, Pennsylvania, Ludwig reported to the ship in July 2013. Of all the port visits during deployment, he enjoyed Piraeus, Greece more than anywhere else.

    “Piraeus, Greece, was actually on my bucket list. I always wanted to go to Athens and see Athena’s Temple and the first Olympic track. It was beautiful, especially the scenery.”

    From new dads meeting bright-eyed babies to young, junior Sailors greeting proud parents, Cole Sailors look forward to enjoying quality time with their families this month while preparing for the ship’s maintenance phase this summer.



    Date Taken: 03.13.2015
    Date Posted: 03.13.2015 17:21
    Story ID: 157005
    Location: NORFOLK, VA, US 

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