SAN DIEGO - Guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), will return to San Diego May 6, after an independent seven-month deployment to the Atlantic and U.S. Central Command areas of responsibility (AOR).
"This deployment was not the conventional deployment usually witnessed by a cruiser from the West Coast," said Capt. Mark Johnson, USS Lake Champlain commanding officer. "Instead of journeying across the Western Pacific as the primary air defense commander for a carrier strike group, Lake Champlain had the unique opportunity to transit east through the Panama Canal and Atlantic Ocean to U.S. Central Command's AOR as an independent deployer where we served in a myriad of roles to include counter-narcotic, counter-piracy operations, and humanitarian assistance efforts."
Lake Champlain conducted maritime security operations (MSO), which helps develop security in the maritime environment. MSO complements the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations and seeks to disrupt violent extremists' use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.
"This deployment was an overall success as our crew was able to test our combat readiness as a warship through maintenance and training exercises, and as a protector of the high seas in promoting peace and security around the globe," said Johnson.
It represented the United States in the Aman 2011 multi-national naval exercise hosted by Pakistan in the North Arabian Sea. Lake Champlain was integral in the "Together for Peace" five-day exercise in which 39 countries including Great Britain, France, China, and Japan participated. Lake Champlain served as the commander of the U.S. Task Group and led the American participation in the at sea portion.
Lake Champlain also participated in two international antisubmarine warfare exercises, with Australia and Italy which involved an Italian submarine.
During a port visit to Chania, Greece, Lake Champlain Sailors participated in several community relations projects. They cleaned up playgrounds, played sports with the children and gave away toys. During their visit to Bahrain, Sailors visited special needs children at the Regional Institute for Active Learning Center where they taught the children common English words and played basketball and soccer with them.
Lake Champlain helps provide deterrence, promote peace and security, preserve freedom of the sea and humanitarian/disaster response within 3rd Fleet's 50-million square mile area of responsibility in the Eastern Pacific, as well as supporting the Navy's Maritime Strategy when forward deployed.