YOKOSUKA, Japan - The crew of the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54) was awarded the 2012 Battle Effectiveness ("E") Award for Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 5, May 21.
This Battle "E" distinction, earned while operating USS Cowpens (CG 63) prior to a hull swap between the two ships, is the crew's second in a row.
"The Battle "E" is a marker of excellence," said Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, Commander, Carrier Strike Group 5. "It's about striving to be the best ship in the Navy and getting it done right the first time, which is what the Cowpens crew did."
The Battle Effectiveness award is granted yearly for ships, submarines and other Navy units that demonstrate superior performance in a year-long evaluation. The evaluation is an assessment of the command's readiness to carry out its primary mission areas.
"I'm extremely proud of this crew," said Capt. Tom Disy, Antietam's commanding officer. "It's not a small achievement to meet all qualifications for this prestigious award, especially given everything we did on deployment. Every time we stepped up to the plate we hit the ball out of the park."
While justly proud of everything they worked so diligently to accomplish in 2012, the Antietam crew is enthusiastic, focused, and determined to exceed expectations during upcoming patrols.
"This is one of the hardest working crews in the Seventh Fleet," added Chief Gunner's Mate Kevin Coley. "We maintain a very high standard, and we worked harder on this past [patrol] than any crew I've seen in my 20-plus years in the Navy. We've had challenges since the hull swap, but this crew will endure, will maintain excellence, and will exceed all expectations going forward."
Antietam relieved the forward deployed Cowpens during a hull swap ceremony held at Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Feb. 5.
CSG 5, centered on USS George Washington (CVN 73) and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, includes USS Shiloh (CG 67) and Destroyer Squadron (CDS)15. Together, these units form the U.S. Navy's only continuously forward deployed (and largest) carrier strike group and are critical combat elements of the U.S. 7th Fleet.