Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Multimission Ship Departs Pearl Harbor for WESTPAC Deployment

Family members of Sailors assigned to the Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate USS Crommelin (FFG 37) watch as the ship departs Pearl Harbor for the Mid-Pacific Surface Combatant Operational Employment program and to participate in the annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class N. Brett Morton/Released)

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- More than 200 Sailors aboard the guided-missile frigate USS Crommelin (FFG 37) departed Naval Station Pearl Harbor for a scheduled six-month deployment to the Western Pacific June 15.

While on deployment, Crommelin will support the Mid-Pacific Surface Combatant Operational Employment program and participate in the annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training Exercise to expand and increase maritime security through shared training with six Southeast Asian nations.

Crommelin will also work with the U.S. Coast Guard to monitor and deter illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in the Central and Western Pacific. The partnership is designed to protect the fragile ecosystems of Oceania along with enforcing maritime laws.

Cmdr. Kevin Parker, Crommelin's commanding officer, was very optimistic about the deployment, noting that the crew was extremely prepared for the tasks ahead.

"The crew is more than ready to fulfill their duties and responsibilities," said Parker. "We are looking forward to providing a forward presence throughout Southeast Asia along with conducting training exercises with foreign navies."

Even while Crommelin Sailors were sad to say goodbye to their families, they were ready for the challenges that may lie ahead.

"It is always difficult to leave my family for an extended period of time, but that is the nature of my job," said Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Kevin Pressren, assigned to Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 37 embarked on Crommelin.

"This is something I'm used to since this is my third deployment, but it's never easy to say goodbye."

Friends and family waved farewell from the pier as they watched their Sailors aboard Crommelin depart Pearl Harbor in route to the Pacific Ocean.

"I'm sad to see my husband leave, but I know that this is his job, and I can't wait until he gets back," said the wife of a Crommelin Sailor.

"It's not the greatest thing to see him leave, but it is something that I'm used to, and I just look forward to having him back home," added another wife of a Crommelin Sailor.

USS Crommelin is a versatile, multimission warship, able to execute a variety of operations. Originally designed to escort and protect convoys, underway replenishment groups, amphibious landing groups, and carrier battle groups, her multiple warfare systems, combined with her quick reaction and high speed capability, make her a valuable asset in today's multi-threat environment.