PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii -- Guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper (DDG 70) will return to its homeport Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam after a successful four-month deployment, Feb. 9.
While deployed to the Western Pacific and Arabian Gulf with the U.S. 7th Fleet and U.S. 5th Fleet, Hopper promoted security and stability as well as ballistic missile defense.
"What this crew has accomplished not only over the past four-plus months of our surge deployment, but in the months leading up to it, is nothing short of greatness," said Cmdr. Jeff Tamulevich, Hopper's commanding officer. "Hopper has the best Sailors and warfighters in the world, and I am proud to be their commanding officer."
An early highlight to Hopper's deployment was a visit from Secretary of the Navy Robert V. Spencer on Thanksgiving Day. While aboard, Spencer received a tour of the ship, which provided an opportunity for him to speak with Sailors on watch before heading out to the ship's flight deck to address the rest of the crew. He reminded them how much their service means to the country.
"What the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps team represent is the deployed power to keep peace by presence, but [to also] deliver the fight tonight when called on," said Spencer. "You are that team, and you make me really proud."
Hopper, at the time operating with the America Amphibious Ready Group, had the opportunity to exchange Sailors with Her Majesty's Australian Ship HMAS Warramunga (FFH 152). Two groups of six Hopper Sailors made the small boat ride over to Warramunga.
"I was lucky enough to be one of the Hopper Sailors to visit Warramunga, where we received a warm welcome," said Lt. j.g Keelen Collins, Hopper's navigator. "We toured the Australian frigate with counterparts of similar rank and compared ships, crew structure, and lifestyle. It was a fantastic experience visiting a fellow warship in the Gulf and making new acquaintances from the land down under."