Forward-Deployed Strike Group Commander Praises Stethem Crew During Visit 
By Ensign Rebecca Speer, USS Stethem Public Affairs 
EAST CHINA SEA – Commander Battle Force 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, visited USS Stethem [which is] part of the George Washington Carrier Strike Group (GWCSG) that was on patrol in the 7th Fleet area of operations July 26.

While aboard, Montgomery visited with the Wardroom, Chief Petty Officers Mess and addressed the entire crew via shipboard announcing system to express his satisfaction in Stethem’s completion of sea trials following an extended maintenance availability and successful return to sea.

He praised the outstanding operational success Stethem displayed during recent anti-submarine warfare operations.

“You are one of our top three go-to ships,” Montgomery said.

“It meant a lot to [me] and the rest of the sonar team to be recognized for all of the work we did for the strike group,” said Lt. j.g. Eric Whishnie, Stethem’s anti-submarine warfare officer. “We are very proud of what we have accomplished and hope to do more.”

While in the Chief’s Mess, Montgomery discussed the importance of preparing for Stethem’s upcoming Bureau of Inspection and Survey Material Inspection (INSURV). He emphasized the need to prepare now so that Stethem will be ready later. He added that Stethem must always be prepared to accomplish 7th Fleet’s battle mission: supporting regional stability and freedom of navigation, and in order to do that the ship must be mechanically and administratively prepared.

“Having the Admiral sit down in our mess and have an open forum was a great opportunity to ask questions about any concerns we have,” said Chief James Downs. “Seeing how involved he is in all aspects of Stethem was very impressive and assures us that we are being well taken care of.”

Stethem is operating forward in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region with other surface combatants as part of the GWCSG.

Stethem is the thirteenth Aegis class destroyer and is named for Steelworker Second Class, and honorary Master Chief, Robert Dean Stethem, who as a passenger on TWA Flight 847 was killed by Hezbollah terrorists. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star for heroism.
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