USS Cape St George
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Cape St. George, Benfold, Halsey Return Following Six-Month Deployment

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW/AW) Donnie Ryan, Peleliu Expeditionary Strike Group Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- USS Cape St. George (CG 71), USS Benfold (DDG 65) and USS Halsey (DDG 97) returned to San Diego Nov. 3 following a six-month deployment as part of the Peleliu Expeditionary Strike Group (PELESG).

PELESG ships, which deployed from San Diego May 4, conducted maritime security operations (MSO) and theater security cooperation activities in the 5th and 7th Fleet Areas of Operation.

Capt. Jon Padfield, commander, Amphibious Squadron 3 (COMPHIBRON 3) and leader of the PELESG, said that Cape St. George and Benfold supported MSO through presence activities and interaction patrols in the Arabian Gulf, while Halsey conducted MSO near the Horn of Africa.

"Expeditionary strike groups deploy in order to give fleet commanders the assets to accomplish a wide variety of contingency operations including the delivery of combat forces, humanitarian assistance and non-combatant evacuations in addition to MSO," said Padfield.

"The Sailors and Marines of the Peleliu Expeditionary Strike Group operated alongside our coalition partners to help provide security and stability in the region."

According to Cmdr. Thomas Disy, Benfold's commanding officer, the deployment provided an opportunity for the crew to use the skills and equipment they had trained on in real-world operations.

"We accomplished every tasking assigned by both 5th and 7th fleet commanders, including counter-piracy, weapons interdiction, maritime community engagement and security operations," said Disy. "As proud as I am of their performance at sea, I'm equally proud of their flawless performance ashore while acting as U.S. ambassadors during our six port visits to foreign nations."

During the deployment, Benfold made port visits to Phuket, Thailand; Manama, Bahrain; Hong Kong and Sasebo, Japan. Cape St. George stopped in Penang, Malaysia; Manama, Bahrain; and Brisbane, Australia. Halsey visited Penang, Malaysia; the Seychelles; as well as Fremantle/Perth and Sydney, Australia.

Cmdr. Robert Beauchamp, who assumed command of Halsey during the deployment, said he was proud to have served alongside the men and women of the crew.

"Their energy, commitment and passion continue to impress and at times, even surprise me," said Beauchamp. "No goal was too lofty, whether training for a professional qualification, studying for an advancement examination or working towards a college degree on their personal time while deployed."

"While this deployment was full of highlights, there is none greater than returning home, to the open arms of family and friends," added Beauchamp.

Dozens of friends and family members of the crews will also arrived in San Diego after joining the ships Oct. 27 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii for a scheduled "Tiger Cruise" on the last leg of the deployment.

The other ships that make up the PELESG, USS Peleliu (LHA 5), USS Dubuque (LPD 8) and USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52), are scheduled to return to San Diego Nov. 4.

Story Number: NNS081104-14 Release Date: 11/4/2008 6:51:00 AM

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