Operations Specialist 2nd Class Aaron Weindel, from Ligonier, Pa., stands watch on the bridge aboard the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) as the ship prepares to moor at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Lake Erie is part of Nimitz Carrier Strike Group on a regularly scheduled deployment to the Western Pacific. The U.S. Navy has patrolled the Indo-Asia-Pacific region routinely for more than 70 years promoting peace and security. (Photo by U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Lucas T. Hans)
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii -- Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) arrived in Pearl Harbor, Nov. 30, following a seven-month deployment to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region and the Arabian Gulf.
Lake Erie left her homeport of San Diego in May on an independent deployment with an embarked detachment from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 49.
The ship and her crew sailed more than 40,000 miles during the deployment. Sailors provided humanitarian assistance in Colombo, Sri Lanka, after severe flooding and landslides devastated many regions of the country and left 10,000 homeless. The crew also provided support to Operation Inherent Resolve in the Arabian Gulf and conducted training and operations with foreign navies including the Royal Australian Navy.
"The crew is excited to visit Hawaii after a very successful deployment in 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operations," said Capt. Darren McPherson, commanding officer, Lake Erie. "They have worked incredibly hard over the past seven months and I am extremely proud of each and every one of them. We're all looking forward to some relaxation here in Hawaii before continuing our journey home to our families."
Lake Erie served as the Nimitz Strike Group ballistic missile defense commander (BMDC) in addition to the other missions traditionally performed by a cruiser or destroyer. Throughout her deployment, Lake Erie carried out two transits of the Strait of Malacca, 13 escorts of Military Sealift Command and U.S. flagged cargo and support vessels through the Strait of Hormuz; executed more than 20 restricted water navigation details and conducted more than 20 underway replenishments safely receiving over 4 million gallons of diesel fuel and 89,000 gallons of jet propulsion fuel with zero mishaps. Lake Erie also performed a national tasking BMD mission in the vicinity of the Philippines as part of a joint task force.
Lake Erie visited various ports during deployment, including Pearl Harbor; Singapore; Colombo, Sri Lanka; Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Manama, Bahrain; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Hamad, Qatar; Subic Bay, Philippines; and Guam. Sailors participated in numerous volunteer events, including interacting with children at schools, visiting patients at hospitals, and socializing with animals at shelters.
During deployment, 116 Sailors qualified as enlisted air warfare specialists, 84 Sailors qualified enlisted surface warfare specialists, 113 Sailors advanced to the next rank, 32 Sailors reenlisted, and 40 Sailors enrolled in college classes. Crew members earned more than 150 awards, including six Sailors whom received Army Achievement Medals for their bravery during a medical evacuation.
Lake Erie is part of Nimitz Strike Group and operates under U.S. 3rd Fleet, which leads naval forces in the Pacific and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy. U.S. 3rd Fleet constantly coordinates with U.S. 7th Fleet to plan and execute missions based on their complementary strengths to promote ongoing peace, security, and stability throughout the entire Pacific theater of operations.