JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii
- The Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate USS Reuben James (FFG 57) returned to its homeport May 3 from a deployment to the western Pacific.
It is likely the ship's final deployment prior to decommissioning this summer.
During the ship's seven-month deployment, the crew of Reuben James participated in a series of bilateral maritime exercises or Cooperative Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) while conducting at-sea security scenarios, helicopter operations, a search and rescue practical, and surface gunfire drills in the Seventh Fleet area of responsibility.
"First and foremost, thank you to the crew of USS Reuben James for your outstanding performance," said Reuben James Commanding Officer Cmdr. Daniel Valascho. "Our motto is 'Back with a Vengeance,' but now we're back with a sense of satisfaction, knowing we did our part operating forward, strengthening partnerships and protecting freedom."
Having completed its final deployment Reuben James will be decommissioned this August after 27 years of service to the fleet.
"I'm very proud of them all and I cannot think of a better crew to represent Reuben James on her final deployment," said Command Master Chief CMDMC(SW) Johannes J. Gonzalez. "They maintained readiness, showed their pride and professionalism and always looked out for each other on and off duty."
During the ship's history it has completed deployments to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom, to the Eastern Pacific in support of counter-drug operations, and it appeared in the 1990 motion picture The Hunt For Red October.
Hundreds of family members and friends were on hand and cheered as the ship came in sight at the Bravo Piers. The ship's family readiness group made lei for each of the crew members and a giant blue-and-gold lei for the bow of the ship.
"I also want to thank all the families and friends who stood by us and prepared a native Hawaiian welcome for the entire crew. It was great to see you all pierside," added Valascho.
The guided-missile frigates are multi-mission surface combatants, capable of Under-Sea Warfare (USW) and Surface Warfare (SW) missions. Reuben James is assigned to Commander, Destroyer Squadron 31 under Commander, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, in Hawaii.
For more information visit the ship's website: http://www.public.navy.mil/surfor/ffg57/Pages/default.aspx