Pearl Harbor, Hawaii - USS PAUL HAMILTON (DDG 60), an Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer, returned proudly home to Pearl Harbor today after completing an accelerated and extended nine-month deployment to the 5th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility.
“Super 60,” as Paul Hamilton is known, has been deployed outside the United States for 277 days, earning the ship special distinction for her homecoming. In addition to the traditional ceremonial National Ensign being flown from Paul Hamilton’s yardarm for her return to homeport, a 242-foot Homeward Bound Pennant was also hoisted – an honor reserved only for ships that have been away from the U.S. for over nine months. According to Naval regulation and custom, the prescribed length of the pennant is one foot for each Sailor onboard the ship who has served overseas in excess of nine months.
While every Paul Hamilton Sailor is looking forward to reuniting with friends and family, nine Sailors will be meeting their newborn children for the first time. “I can’t believe I finally get to meet my new daughter,” remarked Chief Operations Specialist James Mitchell. “My wife gave birth to Desiree two months ago and I’m excited to hold her for the first time as well as give a big hug to my four other children. This will surely be one of the happiest days of my life.”
Paul Hamilton deployed on September 21, 2012 and has been conducting a wide array of operations supporting regional security, counterterrorism and combating transnational crime as partners in securing the global commons.
Since deploying in September, Paul Hamilton and her crew have experienced firsthand the culture, traditions and customs of Malaysia, Thailand, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, the Republic of the Philippines and Guam, in port visits throughout her service overseas.
“This deployment has been an adventure,” said Quartermaster First Class Petty Officer David A. Weathers. “We traveled over 43,000 miles, crossed seven oceans and seas, visited six countries and navigated some of the world’s busiest sea lanes – including the Strait of Hormuz and Strait of Malacca. I am proud of what we accomplished. It was fun and has been a good experience to travel so far, for so long. But it also feels good to be back in Pearl Harbor!”
Paul Hamilton’s performance during her demanding deployment to the Western Pacific and Arabian Gulf earned accolades from three Fleet commanders, multiple Aircraft Carrier Strike Groups and several Combined Task Force Commanders.
“We’re just awfully glad to be home and blessed to have arrived safe and sound,” said Cmdr. Luke A. Frost, Paul Hamilton’s Commanding Officer. “Hawaii has such an incredible Navy family. Every Navy family knows that ships are not the steel – Paul Hamilton isn’t made of metal, she is made up of the 298 Sailors who bring that 9,000 tons of steel to life. Our families and friends on the pier are the Paul Hamilton. Homecoming is the day we honor and celebrate each of our Sailors and each of our families, and the unbelievable commitment and sacrifice of time, talent and treasure a successful deployment demands. This is hard, important work, and we did it well. Welcome home, Paul Hamilton!”
Paul Hamilton is one of 11 surface combatants assigned to Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, Destroyer Squadron THREE ONE. The ship is homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.