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Surged Ships Return to Norfolk

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050826-08
Release Date: 8/26/2005 3:01:00 PM

By Journalist Seaman Davis J. Anderson, Public Affairs Center, Atlantic

NAVAL STATION NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- USS Saipan (LHA 2), USS Nashville (LPD 13) and USS Nicholas (FFG 47) returned to Naval Station Norfolk Aug. 25 from a three-month “surge” deployment.

The ships surged May 25 under the Navy’s Fleet Response Plan (FRP). The Navy developed FRP to find new ways of operating, training, manning and maintaining the fleet so as to improve combat power and readiness, particularly in the ongoing battle against terrorism.

Unlike most ships, these three deployed with less than two months to prepare, but the Sailors on board understood why, said Vice Adm. Mark Fitzgerald, Commander U.S. 2nd Fleet, at the time of the deployment.

“Our Sailors all understand that the mission requirements they're meeting are very important to fighting the global war on terror,” he said.

Both the Sailors aboard and the families on the piers were excited for the ships’ arrival.

“I’m very excited right now. My wife is here," said Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Josue Jaramillo, a Sailor aboard Nicholas. "It’s good to be back."

“It’s exciting,” said Seaman Apprentice Brandon Bedwell, a Nicholas Sailor. “I get to see my girl, my family. It’s wonderful.”

Those involved thought the surge deployment was a success.

“The Fleet Response Plan works,” said Capt. Richard Fitzpatrick, commanding officer of Saipan. "We’re trying to stay ready.”

While underway, the ships participated in a number of exercises in support of the global war on terrorism. Saipan, along with the embarked staff of Commander, Amphibious Squadron (COMPHIBRON) 2, participated in Exercise Adriatic Engagement with forces from the Mediterranean.

Nashville, along with embarked COMPHIBRON 2, Capt. Donna M. Looney, participated in Exercise Barbary Thunder II, a joint exercise focusing on maritime interdiction operations.

Two other ships that deployed in May, the Naval Station Mayport, Fla.,-based USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) and Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Va.,-based USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44), remain deployed and will return to their respective homeports at a later date.


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