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ESG 1 Visits Pearl Harbor

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050725-19
Release Date: 7/25/2005 7:41:00 PM

By Journalist 3rd Class Ryan C. McGinley, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 1 arrived in Pearl Harbor July 22 for a brief port visit en route to a regularly scheduled Western Pacific deployment in support of the global war on terrorism and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Commanded by Rear Adm. Michael A. LeFever, the strike group consists of six ships, a submarine, more than 30 aircraft and more than 5,500 Sailors and Marines.

“The expeditionary strike group is a new concept that has been evolved,” said LeFever. “It brings the wonderful capabilities of the amphibious ships, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), as well as a mix of combatants, a cruiser, guided-missile destroyer, frigate and a fast-attack submarine. Nowadays with the global war on terrorism, speed and execution are very critical, and so you need to be fast, agile, adaptable and lethal to be able to carry out the mission. This strike group brings that to the table.”

The port visit to Hawaii gives the ESG's Sailors and Marines an opportunity to experience the island’s culture and sights, as well as participate in community service projects with their hosts.

“Hawaii has always been a favorite port of call for our Sailors and Marines,” said LeFever. “We always enjoy the warm reception and spirit of Aloha of the Hawaiian people.”

As part of the strike group, the dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) also arrived in Pearl Harbor. Cmdr. Jonathan Harnden, commanding officer of Pearl Harbor, said that although Pearl Harbor was homeported in San Diego, the spirit of the ship lies in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

“We’re homeported in San Diego but the ship, what it’s named for, is not just a location, it’s a spirit,” said Harnden. “A spirit of all the Sailors, Marines, Airmen, Soldiers and civilians that back in December 1941 displayed just an amazing level of bravery and sacrifice.”

Harnden said he couldn’t imagine a better port visit to start off their deployment than Pearl Harbor.

“Pearl Harbor is really the home of our roots, the roots we want to instill in all these young Sailors and Marines so they know they’re the generation now that’s stepping up in this war,” said Harnden. “I can’t think of a better jumping off point before going on deployment.”

Interior Communications Electrician 1st Class Bernard Lum, stationed aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Tarawa (LHA 1) and a Pearl City, Hawaii, native, said he was excited to return to Hawaii so he could see some of his family. He said he is also excited about the deployment and the opportunity to advance his skills.

“I want to get both my warfare pins while on deployment,” he said. “It’s important because we need it for advancement and for our jobs. The more well-rounded a Sailor you are, the better.”

The guided-missile cruiser USS Chosin (CG 65) and the fast-attack submarine USS Santa Fe (SSN 763), both homeported in Hawaii, joined the strike group July 25, saying goodbye to their families and friends. LeFever said families of Sailors and Marines are an integral part of the military and their support lends to a successful mission.

“Without the families’ unending support, we would never be able to do the type of missions we do,” said LeFever. “In some respects, they become the true heroes. The love and support that they provide us allows us to focus on our mission and the job that we have at hand.”


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