PEARL HARBOR - Rear Adm. Frank Ponds sent a Bravo Zulu message May 23 to commanding officers and crews of his forward-deployed ships from Hawaii operating in the Seventh Fleet area of operation, USS Chosin (CG 65), USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) and USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60).
As commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, Ponds oversees eleven homeported ships at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. His message to his three deployed ships was inspired by upcoming commemorations, including Memorial Day and the anniversary of the Battle of Midway.
Ponds' message to commanding officers, Capt. Patrick Kelly, USS Chosin; Cmdr. Justin Orlich, USS Chung-Hoon; and Cmdr. Luke Frost, USS Paul Hamilton reads:
"Memorial Day is upon us and with Independence Day following closely in the wake, it is a fitting opportunity for me to express sincere appreciation for the outstanding job you and your crews are doing in executing our missions at sea and ashore.
"Memorial Day marks the start of the summer season for most Americans. As we prepare for vacations, family get-togethers, and barbecues I want you to know that the sacrifices of your Sailors and their families is not lost on those of us back home. On behalf of all Americans I thank you all for keeping our nation safe.
"It is fitting that our three deployed MIDPAC ships are all executing the mission in the Seventh Fleet AOR, as June 4-7 marks the 71st anniversary of the Navy's and the Nation's most historically significant naval victory. The Battle of Midway changed the tide of the War in the Pacific and the course of world history. While we are not currently at war in the Pacific, your actions in keeping our sea lanes open for commerce, providing a stabilizing force in the region, and engaging with regional partners and allies are no less meaningful and will also have a lasting effect on world history.
"Please share with your crews and their families our sincere appreciation. We anxiously look forward to welcoming you back to the Pearl Harbor waterfront. Continue to sail safe!"
Chosin and Chung-Hoon deployed from Pearl Harbor last month and are expected to be away from its homeport throughout the summer. Paul Hamilton deployed Sept. 21, 2012.