Tuesday, January 19, 2010

USS Reuben James Deploys to the Western Pacific

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Robert Stirrup, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- More than 250 Sailors aboard the guided-missile frigate USS Reuben James (FFG 57) departed Naval Station Pearl Harbor for a deployment to the Western Pacific Jan. 15.

Reuben James, one of eight ships assigned to Commander, Destroyer Squadron 31, will be on an independent deployment to the 7th Fleet area of responsibility.

While on deployment, Reuben James will be conducting various missions, including a joint fisheries patrol with the U.S. Coast Guard and local nations in Oceania to protect vital natural resources. The ship will conduct humanitarian relief and goodwill projects and participate in several multinational military exercises to build relationships and strengthen regional stability.

Reuben James' commanding officer, Cmdr. David Miller, was very optimistic about the deployment, noting that the crew and the ship are readily prepared for the tasks ahead.

"It has been a tough past few months with all the inspections, but the crew is more than prepared for this deployment and I have no doubt that they will perform nothing short of outstanding," said Miller. "We're ready to go and we're proud to serve."
Miller also said that Reuben James will have the opportunity to lend a hand to the local communities during port visits.

"We will make quite a few stops while on the deployment where we'll take the time to help out underprivileged communities in foreign countries with community relations projects," said Miller.

Friends and family waved farewell as they watched their Sailors aboard Reuben James depart Pearl Harbor en route to the Pacific Ocean.

"It's really sad to have him leave today, but I know that this is his job," said the wife of a deploying Sailor.

"I never like to see my husband leave, but it is something that I'm used to, and I just look forward to him coming home," added another wife of a Reuben James Sailor.

U.S. Navy guided-missile frigates fulfill a protection-of-shipping mission as anti-submarine warfare combatants for amphibious expeditionary forces, underway replenishment groups and merchant convoys.