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    USS Mitscher and USS Monterey Return from Deployment

    USS Monterey (CG 61) and USS Mitscher (DDG 57) Return to Naval Station Norfolk

    Photo By Petty Officer 1st Class Joshua Sheppard | The Ticonderoga Class guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) transits Hampton...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet

    NORFOLK, Va. – The Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57) returned home to Naval Station Norfolk Sept. 17 following a nine-month deployment to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation.

    Both ships supported the USS Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (IKECSG) throughout deployment, as well as participated in multinational maritime exercises and operations, and ensured safety and security for maritime trade.

    “What an absolutely incredible honor it has been to serve alongside the amazing Men and Women of the USS Monterey,” said Capt. Joe Baggett, commanding officer, USS Monterey. “What we accomplished during this extended deployment is truly extraordinary! I am in awe of their professionalism, grit and resilience, and could not be prouder of each and every one of these Sailors!”

    “We performed as a team and excelled at every task assigned – every single one!” said Baggett, “The sacrifices that they, as well as their families, have made to ensure Monterey performed at the highest levels while conducting operations across the entire spectrum of combat operations in service to our country was truly remarkable. I am truly blessed because I was able to serve with some of the finest Sailors our Navy has to offer!”

    While in 6th Fleet, off the Atlantic coast of Northern Africa, Monterey participated in Exercise Lightning Handshake 21, a bi-lateral naval strike exercise with the Royal Moroccan Navy and Royal Moroccan Air Force. In the Mediterranean Sea, Monterey supported national security priorities through increased theater cooperation serving as the first U.S. guided-missile cruiser in recent history to conduct operations in the Black Sea. In the Black Sea, Monterey participated in Exercise Sea Shield 21, a multinational naval exercise hosted by Romania, alongside ships from nine different nations to conduct operations across the entire spectrum of naval warfare.

    As part of the IKECSG operating in 5th Fleet, the ship served as the Air and Missile Defense Commander and took part in operations with the French Navy (Marine Nationale) Charles de Gaulle Carrier Strike Group (CDGSG) conducting dual-carrier operations in the Arabian Sea.

    Throughout the deployment, Monterey sailed more than 34,500 nautical miles, operating dynamically across multiple fleets with NATO allies, partners and friends. Their operations included multiple passing exercises and joint operations with Morocco, Romania, Israel, Albania, France, Pakistan, Egypt, the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Kingdom, the State of Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates Canadian, Egyptian, Israeli and Albanian navies; U.S. Coast Guard, Joint Aviation Command, and U.S. Air Forces Central.
    The Monterey and an embarked U.S. Coast Guard Advanced Interdiction Team (AIT) interrupted efforts to smuggle illegal weapons in the North Arabian Sea.

    Weapons seized included dozens of advanced Russian-made anti-tank guided missiles, thousands of Chinese Type 56 assault rifles, hundreds of PKM machine guns, sniper rifles, rocket-propelled grenades launchers, and advanced optical sights. This interdiction operation demonstrated the United States’ ability to integrate joint assets and counter threats posed in the maritime environment.

    Embarked onboard Monterey was MH-60 detachment, the “Swamp Foxes” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 74 home based, at Naval Base Naval Air Station Jacksonville, in Mayport, Florida. HSM-74 conducted over 300 sorties and 900 flight hours throughout the deployment.

    Both ships departed Norfolk for deployment Feb. 24 after successfully completing a six-week composite unit training exercise (COMPTUEX).

    "Mitscher completed an exceedingly challenging deployment with relative ease. This crew, which began pre-deployment sequester in December 2020, gave their all regardless of the task,” said Cmdr. Thomas McCandless, commanding officer, USS Mitscher.

    “From operations in the Mediterranean, to providing critical defense of Eisenhower and Reagan Carrier Strike Groups during the Afghanistan withdrawal, to responding to an attack on a merchant vessel, this crew flawlessly executed every task with professionalism and courage,” said McCandless. “I am exceptionally proud of each and every Mitscherman for their contributions to these missions. Serving alongside such a professional crew is an honor.”

    Mitscher, while in 6th Fleet, served as the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Commander for IKECSG, providing in-depth air defense while flying sorties in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

    Operating in 5th Fleet, Mitscher supported IKECSG and Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Groups in support of the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. Mitscher participated in numerous multinational exercises and provided escort to civilian and military vessels through the Strait of Hormuz.

    The ship provided immediate response after the July 30 UAV attack on motor tanker Mercer Street, demonstrating the continuing dedication of U.S. and Coalition forces to secure maritime trade.

    Other elements of IKECSG returned from deployment in July and August.

    Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group is a multiplatform team of ships, aircraft and more than 5,000 Sailors, capable of carrying out a wide variety of missions around the globe. The Navy provides a ready, flexible force capable of responding to a broad range of contingencies.

    Ships of the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, commanded by Rear Adm. Scott F. Robertson, include the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), commanded by Capt. Paul F. Campagna; the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers USS Monterey (CG 61), commanded by Capt. Joseph A. Baggett, and USS Vella Gulf (CG 72), commanded by Capt. Michael P. Desmond; Destroyer Squadron 22, commanded by Capt. Scott A. Jones, ships include the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Mitscher (DDG 57), commanded by Cmdr. Thomas McCandless, USS Laboon (DDG 58), commanded by Cmdr. Charles Spivey, USS Mahan (DDG 72) commanded by Cmdr. Chris Cummins, and USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116), commanded by Cmdr. Bo Mancuso.
    Squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3, commanded by Capt. Marcos A. Jasso, embarked on Eisenhower include the “Fighting Swordsmen” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 32, “Gunslingers” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 105, “Wildcats” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 131, “Rampagers” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 83; “Dusty Dogs” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 7; “Swamp Foxes” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 74; “Screwtops” of Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW) 123; “Zappers” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 130, and a detachment from Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40 “Rawhides.”

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    Date Taken: 09.17.2021
    Date Posted: 09.17.2021 11:01
    Story ID: 405475
    Location: NORFOLK, VA, US 

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