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Howard Sails on First Deployment with ESG

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS060920-06
Release Date: 9/20/2006 9:53:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman James Seward, USS Boxer Public Affairs

USS HOWARD, At Sea (NNS) -- The guided-missile destroyer USS Howard (DDG 83) departed from San Diego Sept. 13 for a deployment as part of Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 5 in support of the global war on terrorism.

This is Howard’s first deployment with an ESG and third overall deployment since the ship’s commissioning in 2001.

“It is great to be a part of a strike group that has the power to forward project with Marine forces,” said Cmdr. James Morgan, Howard’s commanding officer.

Howard’s crew spent the last year preparing for the deployment. During that time, they successfully completed their Composite Training Unit Exercise and Joint Task Force Exercise, certifying them ready for deployment.

“The crew aboard Howard has worked extremely hard to prepare for this deployment,” said Lt. Cmdr. Richard W. Koenig, executive officer of Howard. “This is what we live for.”

Howard, along with USS Benfold (DDG 65) and USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), are responsible for protecting the strike group from enemy submarines. The ships will conduct anti-submarine warfare (ASW) exercises with the rest of ESG 5 while transiting to the Western Pacific.

“Conducting ASW operations tests the strike group’s ability to react to an underwater threat,” said Morgan. “It is also important to recognize the rising submarine threat of robust, enemy navies.”

Howard is an Aegis weapons system equipped destroyer that protects the strike group from enemy combatants. The Aegis weapons system allows Howard Sailors to simultaneously keep track of airborne and underwater objects while collecting, evaluating and displaying combat information. The Aegis system aboard Howard also helps in sharing combat information with strike group ships, along with firing missiles and torpedoes.

“Howard is out here to help win the global war on terrorism and eradicate the terrorist threat at all costs,” added Morgan.

Howard is scheduled to conduct several exercises with Canadian and Indian navies in addition to ASW operations with ESG 5.

“Working with our foreign counterparts is imperative to our mission, because it builds alliances with countries that also face the threat of terrorism,” said Morgan. “Knowing how to operate with allied navies helps keep us battle ready.”

ESG 5 is comprised of Howard, USS Boxer (LHD 4), USS Dubuque (LPD 8), USS Comstock (LSD 45), USS Benfold (DDG 65) and USS Bunker Hill (CG 52). The strike group also includes Amphibious Squadron 5, the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Coast Guard Cutter Midgett (WHEC 726) and Canadian Frigate HMCS Ottawa (FFH 341).

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