USS Underwood Celebrates Halfway Mark of Its Final Deployment

The Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate USS Underwood (FFG 36) celebrated the halfway mark of its final deployment, July 28.

Underwood left its homeport of Mayport, Florida, April 23, for a scheduled 6-month deployment.

We have been out here for a while,” said Quartermaster 1st Class (SW) David Ratcliffe, the senior enlisted navigator aboard Underwood. “Reaching the halfway point of this deployment is a big accomplishment in that some of us have been away from our families for a while, but we still do our jobs with the utmost professionalism.”

For the last three months, non-qualified Sailors worked on earning their Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist (ESWS) pins. To date, eight Sailors have received their qualification while on deployment.

“I am proud of the Sailors who put in the hard work to get their ESWS pins, and I know that there are more of them working on that to get their pins too,” said Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class (SW) Dmitry Spiridonov, the director of the ESWS program aboard Underwood. “I expect many more of our Sailors to get their ESWS pins during the second half of the deployment.”

The First Class Petty Officers Association hosted a steel beach picnic for the crew during lunch to commemorate the halfway point. They grilled hot dogs and hamburgers and played music for entertainment on the flight deck of Underwood.

“I think the crew deserves a little break from all of the hard work that they have been doing on this deployment,” said Master-at-Arms 1st Class (SW) William Tredick, the command master-at-arms aboard Underwood and a member of the First Class Petty Officers Association. “Anything we can do to boost the morale of the crew is a good day for all of us.”

Later in the day, the Second Class Petty Officers Association hosted an “IHOP”-style dinner with breakfast items that included homemade waffles.

We wanted to give the crew a break from the usual dinners we have every day and give them something that is like a taste of home,” said Operations Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Brent Hall, a member of the Second Class Petty Officers Association. “It was a day to celebrate the midpoint of the deployment and I am looking forward to the second half of deployment.”

Underwood is deployed to Central and South America and the Caribbean in support of Southern Seas 2012.

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet (COMUSNAVSO/C4F) support USSOUTHCOM joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.

Naval Today Staff, July 31, 2012