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USS Gary Expands Role, Trains with Expeditionary Units

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070227-07
Release Date: 2/27/2007 5:09:00 PM

By By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Donald P. Rule, Naval Media Center Yokosuka

USS GARY, At Sea (NNS) -- America’s only permanently forward-deployed frigate expanded its role Feb. 19-21 as USS Gary (FFG 51) trained with the USS Essex Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) off the coast of Okinawa, Japan.

Gary generally operates independently or as an escort for the USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) Carrier Strike Group (KHKSG). Carrier Strike Groups (CSG) normally operate far from shore in “blue water” launching their far-reaching aircraft from a relatively safe distance at sea.

ESGs, however, generally find themselves near coastlines since their ships are designed to deliver Marines and their cargo from sea to shore via amphibious vehicles. Last week Gary supported combat training and support training evolutions with the amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) and the amphibious dock landing ship USS Tortuga (LSD 46).

“For us, it’s an extension of our surface warfare training to be able to participate and learn what the other ships of the surface navy are doing,” said Gary’s Commanding Officer Cmdr. Joseph de Leon. “We’re all warships. We’re here to support each other in the different combat missions.”

Gary’s most visible event was an uncommon refueling at sea (RAS) with Essex.

“Normally we’ll take our fuel from an oiler,” said de Leon, “Various ships do have the ability to transfer fuel to other ships – the Essex, being one similar to the Kitty Hawk, has the capability of transferring fuel to ships in escort.”

Gary operates out of Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan and is assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15. Gary has been deployed since Jan. 25. These exercises follow the ship’s historic port visit to Cambodia – the first
U.S. Navy ship to visit that country in over 30 years.

Essex and Tortuga also operate out of Fleet Activities Sasebo, Japan.

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