Guided-Missile Destroyer USS Hopper Returns to Homeport

Guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper (DDG 70) returned to homeport Nov. 14, following the completion of a seven-month deployment to the Western Pacific and U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.

Hopper served as an embarkation platform in the transition of the Iraqi maritime mission back to the Government of Iraq and directly contributed to the safe transfer of more than $8.5 billion in Iraqi oil to countries around the world.

The crew of more than 275 Sailors conducted Ballistic Missile Defense operations, as well as maritime interdiction operations and theater security cooperation, supporting the nation’s maritime strategy.

During her return Oct. 25, Hopper transited waters of the World War II Battle of Leyte Gulf exactly 67 years after the decisive battle, observing a moment of silence.

Hopper conducted a change of command ceremony in Apra Harbor, Guam., Nov. 4, where Cmdr. Al Lopez relieved Cmdr. Kevin Melody as commanding officer.

Commenting as Hopper returned home, Lopez said, “I am extremely proud of the hard work and dedication of the officers and Sailors aboard USS Hopper during this seven-month deployment. They have gone above and beyond the call of duty executing our demanding operational schedule while keeping a steady eye on the maintenance and inspections that await our return.

“I am also very proud of the families of Hopper back home that have supported us so well. Their hard work and devotion to maintaining the home front made it possible for us to remain focused at the ‘tip of the spear.'”

Naval Today Staff, November 16, 2011