PEARL HARBOR (NNS)- Arleigh Burke-Class guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) returned to its homeport Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, June 13, after a successful five-and-a-half month deployment.
While deployed to the Western Pacific under the U.S. 3rd Fleet Forward construct, Michael Murphy promoted security and stability throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. The ship was underway for nearly 150 days and conducted more than 600 flight hours with the ship's attached helicopter squadron Maritime Helicopter Strike Squadron (HSM) 37, Detachment 2.
"I am incredibly proud of the hard work and dedication the crew exhibited during this deployment with the Carl Vinson Strike Group," said Cmdr. Robert A. Heely Jr., Michael Murphy's commanding officer. "They were resilient and always up to the task."
Michael Murphy began the deployment by conducting training as part of the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group off the coast of Hawaii to improve readiness and cohesion as a strike group.
Michael Murphy then conducted an 18-day joint mission with the U.S. Coast Guard in the Central and South Pacific under the Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI) to combat transnational crimes, enforce fisheries laws and enhance regional security.
Following the OMSI mission, Michael Murphy linked back up with the strike group to conduct a routine security patrol in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, focusing on normalizing U.S. presence in the region.
"Our missions spanned from Oceania, through the South China Sea, and ended in the Sea of Japan as we strengthened our partnerships within the Indo-Asia-Pacific region," said Heely. "Team Murphy performed exceptionally well and led the fight each step of the way."
Michael Murphy conducted several exercises with Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) to build and strengthen alliances with foreign navies.
Among the exercises was a visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) exercise. Sailors from ROK Gang Gam Chan (DDH 979) conducted a VBSS boarding aboard Michael Murphy. Michael Murphy VBSS members then boarded Gang Gam Chan to complete the exercise.
"Being part of the VBSS team is pretty cool," said Operations Specialist 3rd Class Ryan Rosado. "Being able to board a warship from another country is an incredible experience. The South Koreans were very welcoming, and I am glad to have met some of them."
Over the five-and-a-half month span, Michael Murphy executed port visits in Suva, Fiji; Honiara, Solomon Islands; Port Klang, Malaysia; and Guam. A group of Sailors also visited Funafuti, Tuvalu, for a community service event. Morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) sponsored tours and events were also offered, allowing Sailors to explore the ports and experience the culture of each location.
"I went on an MWR tour in Malaysia," said Damage Controlman 3rd Class Peter Rodriguez. "We took a long bus ride through the Malaysian countryside to an elephant park. It was incredible seeing the landscape and vegetation in Malaysia. I don't think many people experienced Malaysia like I did."
Sailors also had many opportunities to participate in community service projects, with events in Fiji, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands and Guam. Sailors landscaped in Fiji, interacted with students at an intermediate school in Tuvalu, delivered extra medical supplies to a hospital in Solomon Islands and painted and picked up trash around a school in Guam.
"I participated in the Tuvalu community service event at a local intermediate school," saidEnsign Kasey Landry. "It was humbling to experience the culture of Tuvalu. I was amazed to see how passionate the teachers were, and although we were there to help their community, it was the people of Tuvalu who gave the most, humbling and embracing Michael Murphy Sailors in their homes."
Commissioned Oct. 6, 2012, USS Michael Murphy is named after former U.S. Navy SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy. Murphy was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan, June 28, 2005. He was the first person to be awarded the medal for actions in Afghanistan and was the first member of the U.S. Navy to receive the award since the Vietnam War.
Michael Murphy is part of U.S. 3rd Fleet and U.S. Naval Surface Forces. U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Pacific and provides realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy, working constantly with U.S. 7th Fleet. The forces of both fleets complement one another across the spectrum of military operations in the Pacific.