Welcome Home USS Mitscher

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57) returned home to Naval Station Norfolk May 4 completing a seven-month independent deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

Mitscher deployed Sept. 22, 2014 to the Central Arabian Gulf with stops in the Mediterranean Sea.

Under direction of Cmdr. Frank E. Brandon, commanding officer, the Mitscher crew conducted a variety of operations alongside multinational allies and various coalition warships. As an independent deployer, she was able to support multiple missions including, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the region. Mitscher took part in an International Mine Countermeasure Exercise; pass exercise with the Turkish Navy; Ballistic Missile Defense Exercise; Squadron Exercise (SQUADEX); Joint Air Defense Exercise; Spartan Kopis; Iron Magic; and Operation Inherent Resolve.

Among her many tasks during deployment, Mitscher had the privilege of pioneering as an integrated part of the French Navy Charles de Gaulle (R91) Carrier Strike Group.

Mitscher was able to support Operation Inherent Resolve and French Operation Arromanches while conducting plane guard duty with the French Navy Nuclear-powered aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle (R91) and French Navy Horizon-class frigate FS Chevalier Paul (D621). Mitscher frequently conducted flight operations with the French Alouette III and Dauphin helicopters. There were also many boat operation personnel transfers between the three ships as part of cross-platform training.

Mitscher also showed her strength in international relations during a SQUADEX with HMS Chiddingfold (M37), HMS Atherstone (M38), USS Dextrous (MCM 13), and USS Devastator (MCM 6). Mitscher operated as a force protection asset in defense of mine clearing operations along exercise routes. At sea, Mitscher was also able to trade junior officers with Royal Navy officers allowing them to gain insight into how allied navies conduct mine countermeasures.

Throughout the deployment, Mitscher worked closely with the Desert Hawks of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 26. In total, Mitscher completed 59 flight quarters and two vertical replenishments.

While operating under Combined Task Force 152, Mitscher broke records with the number of approach, assist and visit operations conducted by the visit, board, search and seizure team, often accomplishing more than 20 approach and assists in one day. Mitscher greatly contributed to the pattern of life documentation of the fishermen in the Arabian Gulf as well as intelligence of piracy activity in the area.

Mitscher also participated in two safety of life at sea missions: one involving a stranded dhow with an engineering casualty and the other as an escort to motor vessel Alpine Eternity, a tanker who had accidentally collided with an unmarked oil platform and was taking on water.

Mitscher operated weekly with Combined Task Force 53, with a total of 25 underway replenishments with six different military sealift command ships.

The vessel now starts its well deserved rest.

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Image: US Navy

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