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Halyburton Returns From Diverse Deployment

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS061208-23
Release Date: 12/8/2006 2:54:00 PM

By Ensign Samantha Craig, USS Halyburton Public Affairs

MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- USS Halyburton (FFG 40) returned to homeport Dec. 8 after completing a variety of different missions on a five-month deployment.

Halyburton steamed more than 20,000 miles and visited nine countries during a deployment that included multiple joint exercises and a variety of opportunities to put the crew’s skills to work in multiwarfare scenarios.

“This great ship and her crew do it all,” said Cmdr. Bill Byrne, commanding officer. “Over the last five months, we exercised every imaginable warfare area, including maritime interdiction and special operations. Just as important, the crew continually proved themselves to be caring citizens and fabulous ambassadors, as they participated in several community relations projects and kicked a little tail during international athletic events. I have never seen a crew more able to adapt to the full gamut of aspects of the Navy.”

Halyburton departed Mayport June 30 with USS Carney (DDG 64) for a three-month Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) surge deployment, which included exercise UNITAS 2006, a passing exercise with Ecuador, Silent Forces Exercise (SIFOREX) and exercise PANAMAX (Panama Exercise) 2006.

The ship visited many countries along the west coast of South America and while in port, more than 75 Sailors participated in five community relations (COMREL) events. During the exercises, they trained with 28 nations in joint exercises that helped foster international operability through regional maritime forces.

After heading back through the Panama Canal, Halyburton bypassed Mayport and spent two weeks in and around Norfolk, Va., preparing for their next phase of deployment, the British-led joint training exercise, Neptune Warrior. The ship participated in a practice exercise warfare commanders conference and a group sail in the Virginia Capes operating area with Commander, Destroyer Squadron 26 and several other Neptune Warrior participating ships. Halyburton returned to Mayport Sept. 20 for a brief two-week mid-deployment maintenance availability.

Halyburton sailed Oct. 6 from Mayport with USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) and USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) to join up with various Norfolk-based ships to cross the Atlantic Ocean for waters in and around Scotland in preparation for Neptune Warrior.

Neptune Warrior was a multiwarfare NATO exercise designed to improve interoperability between allied navies, as well as to prepare the participants for a role in joint task forces and future deployments. Neptune Warrior provided very realistic scenarios, which were expertly crafted to simulate real-world conflicts. Simulated small boat attacks and intelligence updates were frequent and extremely true-to-life.

Halyburton enjoyed a brief port visit to Rotterdam, Netherlands, following Neptune Warrior prior to the two week transit back across the Atlantic. Although they were homeward bound, it was extremely busy since the stay would only be for the Thanksgiving weekend prior to getting underway for unit level training assessment– sustainment (ULTRA-S).

Halyburton’s efforts were rewarded with a well-deserved high-visibility port visit to Philadelphia in support of the 107th Army-Navy Football Game. During the weekend, more than 50 Sailors visited local high schools to talk about the Navy, and two groups visited hospitals in the city to visit with sick and injured children and make them “Honorary Sailors” by handing out certificates and command ball caps.

“I never knew how big of a deal the Army-Navy football game was,” explained Damage Controlman 3rd Class Jorge Magana. “But what was the most fun for me was getting to go to the high schools and hospitals and see how much the public looks up to us. It was a really good feeling after such a long deployment, too, where you kind of loose track about what we’re doing here in the big picture.”

The Halyburton crew hosted more than 2,000 visitors Dec. 2 and 3 on tours of the ship and hoped to make a lasting positive impression on the City of Brotherly Love.

On their final trek home from Philadelphia, Halyburton participated in one last exercise: Southeast Anti-Submarine Warfare Integrated Training Initiative (SEASWITI) in the Jacksonville, Fla., operating area.

“Join the Navy and see the world. Not many ships typify that better than Halyburton in 2006,” said Byrne. “We helped promote the CNO’s (Chief of Naval Operations) idea of a 1,000-ship Navy in the Pacific, the Caribbean and the North Atlantic. We operated like champs, enjoyed great liberty and made friends around the world. 2006 was a great year for Halyburton.”

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