PEARL HARBOR - The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chosin (CG 65) returned to its homeport of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Nov. 22 from a deployment to the Western Pacific.
Commanded by Capt. Patrick Kelly, the ship and its crew of nearly 340 Sailors departed Hawaii on April 30th and conducted integrated operations with allies and partners during the ship's six-month deployment.
"Accomplishments like Chosin's are recognized by foreign navies as they admire our warfighting readiness in exercises and sustainment at sea," said Rear Adm. Rick Williams, commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific(MIDPAC). "An important lesson is how our ships attract great partners and inspire like-minded nations to share interests, commit to ideals of freedom, and agree to work together for the common good."
In October, Chosin participated in the International Fleet Review held in Sydney, Australia. Additionally, the ship's crew participated in a number of multilateral-fleet-training exercises conducted along the coast of Australia.
"It was an honor for Chosin to represent the United States Navy in a contingent of more than 20 international warships that joined the Royal Australian Navy in their most significant commemorative event of the last 100 years," said Kelly. "I was especially excited for Chosin's Sailors as this was, for many, a once-in-a-lifetime experience."
Sailors aboard the Chosin echoed the captain about the importance of the port call to Austrailia and how for some it was the highlight of their trip.
"We visited Japan, Korea multiple times, the Philippines, and the highlight of the cruise was in Australia, where we hit three ports and represented the Navy in the International Fleet Review," said Lt.j.g Benjamin Fong, food service officer. "I wanted to join the Navy to deploy, so that wasn't difficult for me but it is good to be home, the basic comforts and everyone being able to see their families again is really great after seven months away."
Throughout the summer, Chosin conducted theater security operations with partner nations while providing deterrence, promoting peace and security, and preserving freedom of the seas.
"I am proud of our Chosin team," Kelly said. "And we are all thankful for the strong support of our families and loved ones throughout the deployment."
Sonar Technician (Surface) 2nd Class Joseph Maglione, a Sailor assigned to the Chosin, talked about how he felt about being on deployment.
"This was my first deployment, and it turned out to be really fun - especially our port visits to Australia and Hong Kong," said Maglione. "We did a lot of good things and although I had a great time, I am glad to be home."
Among the many guests was Korean War veteran and member of the Chosin Few, Robert Talmadge, who has attended several Chosin homecomings.
"I've been able to make every deployment I think, except one of them when the ship came in unexpectedly," said Talmadge. "The group is usually here in a larger number but we're all in our 80's, and so not all of us are operating as well. In 1983, veterans of the Chosin war decided to start their own organization and one of the first things they did was ask the secretary of the Navy to name a ship, fighting ship after the Chosin reservoir."
Chosin is one of 10 surface ships currently assigned to Commander, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific.
The ship is the first U.S. Navy warship named in commemoration of the First Marine Division's heroism at the Chosin reservoir in the Korean War, considered the most savage battle of modern warfare. The ship's motto is "invictus," Latin for invincible or unconquered.
U.S. Navy guided-missile cruisers are primarily multi-mission (air warfare, undersea warfare, naval surface fire support and surface warfare) surface combatants capable of supporting carrier strike groups and amphibious forces, operating independently, and serving as flagships of surface action groups.
Commander, U.S. Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific leads and manages the overall warfighting capability of the Surface Combatant Force homeported at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. MIDPAC ships support U.S. Pacific Fleet in leading America's rebalance to the Pacific.
U.S. Third Fleet leads naval forces in the Eastern Pacific from the West Coast of North America to the international date line.