By OS3(SW) Quintrel R. Brown
USS Halyburton Public Affairs
USS Halyburton returned home Saturday after completing a six month deployment to the COMFIFTHFLT and COMSIXTHFLT areas of responsibility with focused operations off the Horn of Africa.
Halyburton with NATO and main tasking was counter piracy operations in support of Operation Ocean Shield off the coast of Africa and the Somali Basin. Assigned to Standing NATO Maritime Group One, Halyburton‚Äôs primary mission was to deter piracy and provide maritime security. Halyburton conducted Maritime Interdiction Operations and Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance missions to gather information on local piracy.
While Halyburton was on station, one event in particular caught the attention of the international communities. Halyburton responded to a distress call from a cargo ship, Motor Vessel (M/V) Jasmine, who reported being shot at by possible pirates with assault rifles and a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG). Halyburton tracked down the suspected pirates, who were traveling in a small skiff, and boarded the craft to question the crew about their recent activity. Using the information obtained by the Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS) team, Halyburton passed the skiff off to a European Union asset who was able to detain the suspected pirates.
In a welcome home message sent from Commander, Destroyer Squadron 14 to Halyburton, Commodore Paul Flood wrote, ‚ÄúI commend you for tremendous efforts in executing Maritime Security Operations during Operation Ocean Shield and Operation Active Endeavour. From counter piracy to escort operations, you did an outstanding job as exemplified in 20 maritime security assistance approaches, four boardings, and more than 346 operational flight hours.‚Äù
Besides conducting counter piracy operations, the crew of Halyburton had to maintain their proficiency in all areas of Surface Warfare. Many drills and exercises were conducted in the areas of Damage Control, VBSS, small boat operations, Air Defense, Anti-Submarine Warfare, Electronic Warfare and live gunnery firing exercises.
But when time permitted, Halyburton planned and executed many celebrations and events to keep morale high. Over the last six months, the crew enjoyed five steel beach picnics on the flight deck, eight ice cream socials, Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinners, and multiple raffles and game nights giving away thousands of dollars in prizes. The hard work of the crew was rewarded with four award ceremonies totaling 56 awards, including 25 Navy Achievement Medals.
The Halyburton Sailors are excited to be home and will enjoy up to two weeks of leave before they begin training for their upcoming deployment.