USS Mahan Returns to Naval Station Norfolk

The guided-missile destroyer USS Mahan (DDG 72) returned to Naval Station Norfolk on January 11th, following a five-month deployment in the U.S. 6th and 5th Fleet areas of operation.

Mahan entered the theater last August via the Mediterranean Sea and Suez Canal where she conducted maritime security operations, ballistic missile defense, and theater security cooperation efforts. Mahan returned from an almost nine-month deployment in September 2013, and then surge deployed in August 2014.

“Today is the highlight of this deployment as it’s the day we’re reunited with our loved ones,” said Cmdr. Joe Matison, Mahan commanding officer. “The support we get from our loved ones back home is the real reason why we’re able to focus on the mission and do our jobs while deployed.”

The crew spent more than 140 days at sea and conducted eight port visits in support of maritime partnerships with Spain, Italy, Greece, Bahrain, and United Arab Emirates. In port, 27 Sailors volunteered for community relations projects resulting in more than 80 hours helping local communities while the whole crew participated in ship tours for several distinguished guests and other foreign dignitaries.

“I am thankful to have been part of the Mahan team that earned so many accolades and performed with such excellence throughout the deployment,” said Lt. John Potter, Mahan command chaplain.

“I’m proud to count myself as part of the team of hard-working Sailors who proved so resilient and dedicated. No matter what obstacles came up, they always got the job done. I think all the families and friends of Mahan Sailors should be proud of them, and the Sailors should be grateful for the prayers and encouragement that came from back home.”

Many Sailors excelled on an individual level and helped one another accomplish watch standing and warfare qualifications and other career milestones. Among their many accomplishments, 12 Sailors reenlisted, 30 advanced to the next pay grade and 18 Sailors earned a total of 54 college credits while underway. Additionally, 107 Sailors earned their Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist qualification and two ensigns earned their Surface Warfare Officer qualification.

“The crew has done a fantastic job and we are all very proud of their accomplishments during this deployment,” said Mahan Command Master Chief Steven Rioux.

Mahan conducted naval operations in the U.S. 6th and 5th Fleet in support of U.S. national security interests.

U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet’s area of responsibility encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman and parts of the Indian Ocean. This expanse, comprised of 20 countries, includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.

U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint, and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.

Press Release; Image: Wikipedia