By Ensign¬†B. L. Lovdahl
USS Farragut Public Affairs
Guided-missile destroyer USS Farragut (DDG 99) and embarked HSL 48 Detachment 7 returned to their homeport of Mayport, Florida on 7 April after completing a nine and a half month deployment to the 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility.
Farragut‚Äôs crew displayed exceptional professionalism, flexibility, and skill as they executed a wide range of missions over a long deployment.¬† Farragut departed Mayport, Florida June 20, 2012 and joined the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group as she crossed the Atlantic Ocean.¬† Farragut spent the first few months of her deployment strengthening U.S. foreign relations in the 6th Fleet area of responsibility during port visits to Menorca, Spain; Riga, Latvia; Tallinn, Estonia; Bod√∂, Norway; Severomorsk, Russia; Wilhelmshaven, Germany; and La Rochelle, France.¬† During these port visits, Farragut welcomed over 50 foreign dignitaries onboard for seven receptions, crew members provided numerous ship tours to hundreds of visitors, and Sailors took part in ten community relations projects.
While in 6th Fleet, Farragut participated in exercises with the French, Italian, Norwegian, and Russian navies.¬† She also embarked 15 foreign midshipmen and naval officers from Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Lithuania, and Sweden.¬† When Farragut crossed the Arctic Circle on the way to her port visit in Russia, crew members participated in a very chilly, but memorable, Blue Nose ceremony onboard.¬† Eligible ‚Äúwarm bodies‚Äù were initiated into the order of the ‚ÄúHonorable Blue Nose‚Äù in tradition with crossing the parallel- a very rare experience for members of the United States Navy.
In the fall of 2012, Farragut transitioned to the 5th Fleet area of responsibility and served with both the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group and the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group.¬† Farragut also served as the Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 flagship and embarked 17 Officers and Sailors for 3 months.¬† As the CTF 151 flagship, Farragut was responsible for providing maritime security against piracy and securing freedom of navigation to vessels in the Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin.
While serving in the 5th Fleet, Farragut made port visits to Manama, Bahrain; Jebel Ali, UAE; and Muscat, Oman.¬† She also completed naval exercises with the Saudi Arabian, Russian, and Australian navies.¬† In November 2012, Farragut participated in joint exercises in the Arabian Gulf during which she embarked the Combined Task Force 55 staff and provided vital inputs to the development of new surface warfare tactics.¬† Farragut‚Äôs visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) team conducted multiple training exercises, supported maritime interdiction operations, and completed rescue and assistance boardings of two vessels in distress.
After Farragut departed the 5th Fleet, she made her final port visit to Bar, Montenegro.¬† While in Bar, four ‚ÄúE‚Äôs‚Äù were painted on the bridge wings to signify Farragut‚Äôs selection for the 2012 Battle Efficiency Award and three Command Excellence Awards.¬† These awards recognize the hard work and dedication displayed by Farragut‚Äôs crew during the past year.
During the many months at sea, Farragut Sailors took advantage of their time to develop themselves personally and professionally.¬† More than 100 Sailors earned their Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist (ESWS) pins, 75 Sailors took college level courses provided onboard (one Sailor earned his Associate‚Äôs degree and one Sailor earned his Bachelor‚Äôs degree), more than 40 Sailors advanced to the next pay grade, 8 crew members earned their Officer of the Deck qualification, and 5 officers earned their Surface Warfare Officer pin.¬† Two crew members completed the John F. Kennedy 50-mile Endurance Run while underway in the 5th Fleet.
‚ÄúHomecoming is the greatest moment in the Navy,‚Äù said Cmdr. Glen B. Quast, commanding officer of Farragut.¬† ‚ÄúHomecoming captures pride, love, joy and satisfaction in the same moment.¬† It is a great feeling to bring every Farragut Sailor safely home to their family.‚Äù
Below are some more statistics from Farragut‚Äôs 2012-2013 deployment:
‚Ä¢More than 81,000 nautical miles traveled upon return to Mayport, Florida
‚Ä¢870 flight hours for the two embarked SH-60B‚Äôs from HSL 48.7
‚Ä¢24 straits transits, 10 of which were through the Strait of Hormuz
‚Ä¢4 Suez Canal transits
‚Ä¢37 replenishments at sea during which 760 pallets of goods and supplies were received
‚Ä¢More than 30 live fire exercises conducted at sea with small arms and major caliber weapons
‚Ä¢1,130 haircuts provided by the ship‚Äôs barbers
‚Ä¢More than 8,000 miles ran by Sailors on the weather decks and treadmills
‚Ä¢2 Sailors officially became naturalized American citizens
Despite their busy schedule, Farragut Sailors still missed being with friends and family.¬† More than 10 Sailors had children born back home and every crew member felt the challenge of being separated from loved ones for nearly a year.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôve been gone for more than nine months and I know a lot of things have changed,‚Äù said Quartermaster 3rd Class Joseph A. Peterson. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôll be cool to catch up on what I‚Äôve missed like new movies and restaurants.¬† But more than anything, I‚Äôm just excited to spend time with my wife and daughter.‚Äù
The crew will enjoy a well-deserved post-deployment leave period before commencing a summer-long maintenance period in Mayport.