Thursday, August 02, 2007

Kearsarge Deploys in Support of MSO

Amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) departs Naval Station Norfolk for a deployment with Kearsarge Expeditionary Strike Group. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Patrick Gearhiser.

NORFOLK (NNS) -- The amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), departed Naval Station Norfolk July 30, as the flagship of the Kearsarge Expeditionary Strike Group (KSGESG) for a regularly scheduled six-month deployment.

Kearsarge deployed to conduct Maritime Security Operations (MSO) in support of the ongoing rotation of forward-deployed forces.

“Kearsarge Sailors, with the assistance of Tactical Training Group Atlantic and Commander Strike Force Training Atlantic, completed all certifications and requirements to be certified for deployment,” said Capt. James Gregorski, Kearsarge commanding officer.

“I am extremely proud of this crew. Kearsarge captured every training opportunity offered and performed brilliantly throughout the training cycle. While deployed in 2005, Kearsarge supported Marines simultaneously in five separate locations, from Saudia Arabia to Baghdad and thwarted an Al Qaeda rocket attack in Jordan. Once again, whether it’s defending against piracy, protecting sea lanes, providing humanitarian assistance, or transporting Marines anywhere they need to go, Kearsarge Sailors stand ready. It’s our turn and we’re happy and proud to do it again,” said Gregorski.

MSO sets the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment, as well as complements the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. These operations deny international terrorists use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.

“The challenging work up exercises allowed us to sharpen our skills and build our team work,” said Cmdr. Pete Pagano, Kearsarge executive officer. “We feel good about our readiness for the deployment. I think the scenarios provided during the exercises were very realistic and very relevant to the types of missions that we’ll be expected to perform.”

Family members and friends were on the pier to bid teary-eyed farewells and express their pride to their Sailors and Marines.

“I can’t thank family members enough for holding down the fort at home,” said Gregorski. “Not just spouses and children, but also mothers and fathers. We couldn’t do what we do out here if it wasn’t for their support."

The Kearsarge ESG includes Amphibious Squadron 8, the 22nd MEU, the amphibious transport dock USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44), the dock landing ship USS Ponce (LPD 15), the guided-missile frigate USS Carr (FFG 52), the guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78), the guided-missile cruiser USS Vicksburg (CG 69), and the nuclear fast-attack submarine USS Miami (SSN 755).