USS Gunston Hall gets underway for Southern Seas 2018

The US Navy has deployed Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) to the US Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) area of responsibility (AOR) where it will support the multinational exchange Southern Seas 2018.

US Navy file photo of USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) transiting the Arabian Gulf

This will be the first deployment for Gunston Hall since 2014.

Southern Seas is an annual collaborative deployment in the USSOUTHCOM AOR where a task group deploys to conduct a variety of exercises and build and maintain regional relationships with countries throughout the region through joint, multinational and interagency exchanges and cooperation.

USS Gunston Hall will be joined for Southern Seas 2018 with embarked elements of the US Marine Corps 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and a US Navy staff element from Destroyer Squadron (CDS) 40. The units will sail the waters surrounding the East Coast of the United States, the Caribbean and Latin America from June through September.

“I am excited to join forces with nations that share our commitment to defending freedom,” said Cmdr. Fiona Halbritter, commanding officer of Gunston Hall. “We have been given a great opportunity to conduct navy-to-navy exercises, build relationships, and enhance our multinational interoperability while working with the navies of the Western Hemisphere.”

Formerly known as the Partnership of the Americas deployment, Southern Seas gives a distinct name to one of the United States’ marquee deployments.

Gunston Hall was commissioned April 22, 1989 and has been involved in numerous deployments to USSOUTHCOM in her 29 years of service to the fleet.