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USS Lake Erie Deploys to Western Pacific

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070514-04
Release Date: 5/14/2007 1:49:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman John W. Ciccarelli Jr., Fleet Public Affairs Center Detachment Hawaii

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- USS Lake Erie (CG 70) departed Pearl Harbor on May 4 to the Western Pacific in support of the global war on terrorism and to conduct maritime security operations.

The Ticonderoga-class, guided-missile cruiser and its 330-member crew will perform ship-to-ship maneuvers and be the Navy’s test platform for ballistic missile defense.

“[I’m] excited, I cannot even put it into words, seeing all the foreign countries I’ve only been able to see in books,” said Cryptologic Technician Technical Seaman Isaac Mitchell.

For Mitchell, the departure marked a call to duty to support his country.

“For my first deployment, I’m ready to get busy doing the job I was trained to do. This is the real deal and I’m hopeful to do my best for my country and the Navy,” he said.

Family members gathered pier side early in the morning to say their goodbyes and to show support for their Sailors.

“It’s so hard to watch him go. I know his job requires him to leave. I know he’s doing it for the greater good of this country and I am so proud of him,” said a wife of a Lake Erie Sailor.

For the crew of the Lake Erie, training began months ago in the form of predeployment underway periods and hours of training evolutions, preparing them for this fully operational deployment.

“Going out on deployment gives the Sailors experience beyond any other,” said Lake Erie Command Master Chief (SW/AW) Herbert M. Ellis Jr. “This is when all the hard work they put into all the training is used in a real world environment and I could not ask for a better group of Sailors.”

Modern U.S. Navy guided missile cruisers perform primarily in a battle force role. The ships are multi-mission surface combatants capable of supporting carrier battle groups, amphibious forces or operating independently and as flagships of surface action groups. Cruisers are equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles, giving them additional long-range strike mission capability.

Lake Erie will return later this summer to its homeport of Pearl Harbor to family and shipmates who will be waiting pier side to hear of their adventures serving the Navy in the Western Pacific.

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