SAN DIEGO - The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) is scheduled to return to San Diego, May 23, after a deployment to the 5th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility.
Bunker Hill, along with USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and USS Halsey (DDG 97), got underway on Nov. 30, 2011, for a deployment to the Western Pacific and Middle East.
"The Bunker Hill team is excited to return home to San Diego after completing a very successful deployment. The crew executed a broad spectrum of missions over the last six months while serving as Air Defense Commander for Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1," said Capt. Michael Ford, commanding officer of Bunker Hill. "During the course of our six-month deployment, we supported Operation Enduring Freedom, participated in multi-national exercises with key strategic partners, and supported theater security cooperation efforts in multiple areas."
After a transit through the Pacific Ocean, conducting training and patrols, Bunker Hill arrived in the North Arabian Sea for three months of operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. During that time the strike group provided air support to coalition ground troops deployed to Afghanistan.
In April, after completing its time in the Middle East, Bunker Hill participated in Malabar 2012, an annual exercise with the Indian Navy. In preparation for the at-sea portion of the exercise, Bunker Hill conducted a port visit to the city of Chennai, the fourth largest city in India. During the visit, Commander, Carrier Strike Group 1, Rear Adm. T. K. Shannon, hosted a reception aboard Bunker Hill. The event brought together distinguished visitors from the Indian navy and Chennai society, along with U.S. Navy and U.S. government officials, for an evening of goodwill and cooperation.
The Indian navy and strike group then spent a week operating at sea conducting maneuvering drills and joint boarding team operations, as well as air, surface and sub-surface interoperability training.
Bunker Hill also made port visits to a variety of other locations during the course of the deployment including Guam; Hong Kong; Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates; Fremantle, Australia and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. During these visits, Bunker Hill Sailors took part in a wide variety of community relations projects ranging from structure preservation and sporting events to interaction with learning-disabled students.
"Community relations projects gave Bunker Hill Sailors an opportunity to interact with the local people at each port of call while volunteering their time," said Lt. James Dewey, Bunker Hill's chaplain.
This was Bunker Hill's second Western Pacific/Arabian Gulf deployment in the last 18 months, having served as the primary escort for USS Carl Vinson since 2010.