Saturday, August 01, 2009

USS Gettysburg Returns to Naval Station Mayport

Members of the visit, board, search and seizure team from the guided-missile cruiser USS Gettysburg (CG 64) and members of U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Safety and security Team 91112 motor past Gettysburg. The team inspected a dhow that was later deemed not suspect. Gettysburg is serving as the flagship for Combined Task Force (CTF)151, a Turkish-led task force commanded by Turkish Rear Adm. Caner Bener. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Eric L. Beauregard/Released)

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Daniel Gay, Navy Public Affairs Support Element East Detachment Southeast

MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- Sailors aboard USS Gettysburg (CG 64) and embarked Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 46 Detachment 9 returned to Naval Station Mayport July 28.

Gettysburg returned home after a six-month deployment with the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group in support of operations in the Gulf of Aden, Persian Gulf and as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

"We had a very successful deployment; we served 103 days under Combined Task Force 151 conducting counterpiracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and the Somali basin," said Capt. Richard A. Brown, commanding officer, USS Gettysburg. "The crew performed absolutely superbly; we captured 38 suspected pirates, the first ever [pirate] mother ship and returned 17 of those suspected pirates over to Kenya for prosecution."

While deployed, Gettysburg not only participated in counterpiracy operations and stopped a pirate attack in progress, but they also marked another milestone.

"We embarked, for the first time, a foreign flag officer on a United States warship," said Brown, referring to when Turkish Rear Adm. Caner Bener, commander, Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 embarked on Gettysburg.

"It was a[n] historic event," said Brown "What it really did was solidify the ties between the Turkish Navy and the United States Navy, and we absolutely enjoyed having him and his staff on board."

During CTF 151's three months aboard, counterpiracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin were highly successful.

Now that the Gettysburg has returned, Brown said the first priority is for his Sailors to reunite with their families and get some well-earned rest.