USS Pioneer Returns to San Diego
The Avenger-class Mine Countermeasures Ship USS Pioneer (MCM 9) was off-loaded from heavy lift ship MV Super Servant 3 at Naval Base San Diego, May 5, after completing an eleven-month deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility (AOR).
“Pioneer performed superbly throughout the deployment, completing every assigned mission as tasked, and attained the highest operational availability of any MCM throughout the period of deployment” said Commander, Mine Countermeasures Squadron (MCMRON) 3, Capt. Steve Mucklow.
Along with mine countermeasure ships USS Sentry (MCM 3), USS Devastator (MCM 6), and USS Warrior (MCM 10), Pioneer was transported from San Diego to Bahrain June 2012, to support a U.S. Central Command request for additional MCM assets in the 5th Fleet.
While in the U.S. 5th Fleet, Pioneer conducted mine warfare operations and exercises, including the first International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX) September 2012, and training mineshape recovery operations in the Gulf of Aden.
“They were tremendous ambassadors. In their execution of IMCMEX ’12, they not only integrated smoothly with partner nations at sea, but during the in-port phase, they hosted the entire international officer delegation to discuss U.S. mine warfare capabilities,” said Mucklow. “It was truly an outstanding deployment by an outstanding MCM crew.”
Pioneer will remain in San Diego to prepare to meet 3rd Fleet AOR mine warfare mission requirements. Sentry and Devastator remain deployed to the 5th Fleet AOR and will participate in IMCMEX, May 13- 22. Warrior completed a 5th Fleet AOR deployment and was heavy lifted with Pioneer and departed Bahrain in March. Warrior was delivered to her new homeport, Sasebo, Japan, in late May as the replacement for the decommissioned USS Guardian (MCM 5) and is assigned to Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet in support of mine warfare missions.
Press Release, May 9, 2013; Image: US Navy