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NEWS | Jan. 26, 2024

USS Antietam departs Yokosuka after nearly 11 years of forward-deployed service

By Petty Officer 2nd Class Askia Collins, Commander, Task Force 70 / Carrier Strike Group 5

The Ticonderoga-class guided missile-cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54) departed Yokosuka, Japan, on Jan. 26 to transit to its new homeport of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, as part of a planned rotation of forces in the Pacific.

Antietam arrived on station at Yokosuka Naval Base in February 2013 to support operations within the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.

Before the cruiser departed for the final time, officers from its sister ship, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force guided-missile destroyer JS Kirishima (DDG 174), provided the crew of USS Antietam a plaque commemorating its time in Japan.

Antietam Sailors ceremonially manned the rails in service dress blue uniforms as the ship left Japanese waters.

“For more than a decade, USS Antietam enjoyed being part of the Yokosuka community,” said Capt. Victor Garza, commanding officer of USS Antietam. “Antietam was at the forefront of our nation’s efforts to protect peace and stability across the Indo-Pacific. On behalf of the crew, I want to express my appreciation for our Japanese hosts, who have become our colleagues, friends and family. We’re proud of the relationships we built with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and with like-minded nations and navies throughout the region.”

During its time serving as part of U.S. 7th Fleet, Antietam completed numerous missions and patrols, including a 260-day deployment in 2020.

In 2023, the cruiser’s last full year as part of America’s Forward Deployed Naval Forces-Japan (FDNF-J), Antietam sailed nearly 34,000 miles, participated in the largest-ever Exercise Talisman Sabre alongside the Royal Australian Navy, and visited ports in Vietnam, South Korea, the Philippines and Palau.

Antietam is assigned to Commander, Task Force (CTF) 70, the theater strike warfare commander and theater air and missile defense commander. CTF 70 is forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.