SAN DIEGO -- Sailors from guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) returned home to Naval Base San Diego, May 9, after completing a four-month deployment.
More than 350 crew members assigned to the guided-missile cruiser departed San Diego in January as part of the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group. The strike group conducted routine operations in the Western Pacific and completed a historic visit to Vietnam in March.
Following operations in the Indo-Pacific region, Lake Champlain independently transited to South America and participated in Silent Forces Exercise 2018 with the Peruvian and Colombian navies. Crew members practiced tracking diesel submarines and jointly trained in other warfare areas to promote interoperability.
"Lake Champlain did outstanding work across multiple missions in South America and the Indo-Pacific," said Rear Adm. John Fuller, the strike group commander. "They represented our nation with pride and demonstrated exceptional professionalism, readiness, and navigational skill. We are very proud of what they accomplished as a team."
The cruiser made port calls to Guam, Vietnam, Hawaii and Peru. While visiting Lima, Peru, the crew handed out candy and played games with kids at a local orphanage. The Sailors also donated sleepwear.
"I am extremely proud of the entire Lake Champlain crew and our embarked helicopter detachment," said Capt. Jennifer Ellinger, the ship's commanding officer. "This team has sustained a very high operational tempo over the past two years, and we couldn't have done it without the fantastic support from our families and friends."
Lake Champlain and the strike group previously deployed to the Western Pacific in 2017. The 2018 deployment is the second time Lake Champlain has successfully completed a mission in the Indo-Pacific region as part of a strike group operating under U.S. 3rd Fleet's command and control.
U.S. 3rd Fleet's control of ships and aircraft across the Western Pacific enables U.S. 3rd and 7th Fleets to operate together across a broad spectrum of maritime missions beyond the international dateline to the Indian Ocean.
Commissioned in 1988, Lake Champlain is a multi-mission platform capable of air warfare, undersea warfare, naval surface fire support, and surface warfare. The ship operated with two embarked MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopters from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 78, Combat Element 1.