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USS Port Royal, USS Hopper Deploy to Western Pacific

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS071115-11
Release Date: 11/15/2007 1:27:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Paul D. Honnick, Fleet Public Affairs Det. Hawaii

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Guided missile cruiser USS Port Royal (CG 73) and guided missile destroyer USS Hopper (DDG 70) departed their homeport of Pearl Harbor for a deployment to the Western Pacific Nov. 12.

Port Royal and Hopper will join the San Diego element of the Tarawa Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG), which departed Nov. 5 for a six-month deployment to the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operations in support of the global war on terrorism.

For the past few months, the crews of both ships have been hard at work performing work-ups and training drills in order to prepare for this deployment.

"It's exciting and we're ready. It's a beautiful day out here and we've been working on this for a year, we've had great family support; I'm excited and it's a great day to get underway," said Capt. David Adler, Port Royal's commanding officer.

"This is a great crew. They're highly trained and motivated and they're ready to go do our nation's business," said Cmdr. Jeffrey James, Hopper's commanding officer. "There's no other crew I'd rather go to sea with."

This deployment will be the first for many of the ships' junior crew members.

"I expect my first deployment to be long and a lot of work, but fun too," said Gas Turbine Systems Mechanic Fireman John Locklear. "I hope to see a lot of different cultures and things I've never seen before. It's just an amazing feeling that I'm going to get to see things in six months that people don't get to see in a lifetime."

According to Hopper's command master chief, teamwork was very important in preparing for this deployment.

"Primarily, I was able to link the officers and the enlisted in such a way that without us working together as a team, nothing was possible, so we have just really been one cohesive team and things have worked out really well for us," said Hopper's Command Master Chief (SW/AW) Earl Gray.

The multi-mission capable ships will play a key role in the security of the strike group.

The Tarawa ESG includes Amphibious Squadron 1, USS Tarawa (LHA 1), USS Cleveland (LPD 7), USS Germantown (LSD 42), 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and elements of Naval Beach Group 1, Port Royal, Hopper and USS Ingraham (FFG 61).

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