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USS Gary Returns to San Diego After 8 Years in Japan

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070926-29
Release Date: 9/26/2007 6:29:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Mark Logico, Fleet Public Affairs Center Pacific

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate USS Gary (FFG 51) returned home to Naval Base San Diego Sept. 10, after being forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan for eight years.

Gary, which played an active role as part of the Kitty Hawk Strike Group, was the only forward-deployed frigate assigned to U.S. 7th Fleet until it recently completed a hull swap and turned over with guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85).

Gary’s Commanding Officer Cmdr. Joker L. Jenkins said the transition between the frigate and the destroyer was a logical change, bringing in a more capable ship out to the forward deployed forces in Japan.

“By sending a Navy ship with ballistic missile defense capability and the Aegis weapons systems, we are increasing the capabilities out in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations,” said Jenkins.

During the transition, more than 175 Sailors made a one-to-one exchange between each ship so that their respective families would not have to transition to a new duty station.

“We had a large transition,” said Jenkins. “More than three quarters of the crew are formerly McCampbell Sailors. This was good for the interest of families who are still living in San Diego.”

Gas Turbine System (Mechanical) 3rd Class (SW) William Broughton, a former McCampbell Sailor, said he was glad to be aboard Gary and happy to be closer to his wife and 1-year-old son in San Diego.

“Gary feels different,” said Broughton. “I was on a bigger ship. But the smaller ship is a lot better because you get to know your people better. You also get to learn equipment a lot better because there’s not a lot of it.”

Sailors like Broughton who have been on McCampbell and transitioned onto Gary have been out at sea for more than four months and were glad to be back to see family and friends in San Diego.

With Gary settling in San Diego, Jenkins said the ship will be part of Destroyer Squadron 1.

“We will be going to the shipyard and get a multi-million dollar overhaul,” said Jenkins. “We will receive new engineering equipment and electronics to prepare for counter-drug operations in the late summer of 2008.”

The ship was named after the late Cmdr. Donald Arthur Gary who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1946 for his heroic actions while serving aboard USS Franklin (CV 13) as a lieutenant. During a Japanese attack on the ship, Gary was credited with saving the lives of hundreds of the crew, leading them out of the badly damaged compartments below decks.



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