USS Pearl Harbor Returns to San Diego

Amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) arrived at its homeport of San Diego June 22 after completing a seven-month deployment.

Pearl Harbor and embarked Marines assigned to the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) deployed as part of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and conducted maritime security operations (MSO) and theater security cooperation (TSC) exercises with military allies throughout the 5th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility.

“These exercises allowed U.S. forces to work and train with foreign militaries,” said Cmdr. Homer Denius, Pearl Harbor’s commanding officer. “They increased interoperability and relationships allowing both U.S. and foreign military forces to gain a remarkable amount of knowledge from each other.

Service members trained with militaries from countries that included Cambodia and Malaysia.

“The Sailors and Marines completed these missions with outstanding results,” said Denius. “All tasks were completed on time and safely with all objectives met.”

During the many port visits, the crew also completed a variety of other missions ashore.

Sailors and Marines took part in various community service projects in Cambodia, the Philippines and Bahrain.

“I am extremely proud of their performance and behavior both at-sea and ashore,” said Cmdr. Michael Harris, executive officer of Pearl Harbor. “It is simply amazing what these men and women do on a daily basis.”

Harris said the sight of friends and family on the pier is one of his favorites.

This is my fifth deployment, and even though each one is different, the reunions are the same,” he said. “The whole crew and I are overjoyed to be at home with our families.

The two other ships that comprised the Makin Island ARG were amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) and amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18). The Makin Island ARG operated under the direction of Commander, Amphibious Squadron (COMPHIBRON) 5.

In addition to the MSO mission, Amphibious Ready Groups bring flexible assets into the theater that allow fleet commanders the ability to deliver combat forces, support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions as well as noncombatant evacuations,” said Capt. Donald Cuddington, COMPHIBRON-5. “During this deployment, the Sailors and Marines of the Makin Island ARG took part in a number of exercises and TSC events in support of our nation’s maritime strategy.”

Cuddington said highlights of the deployment included supporting exercises Kilat Eagle in Malaysia, MAREX 2012 in Cambodia, and numerous TSC events with other coalition partners in the Gulf region.

“A key component of our maritime strategy is building regional partnerships to ensure security, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Cuddington. “Our deployment is proof of just that, and that we are a professionally trained fighting force also capable of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief if needed.”

Naval Today Staff , June 25, 2012