Today USS Gary returned from a six and a half month deployment to Fourth Fleet in support of the on-going Counter Narcotics mission. GARY was responsible for six disruptions and three seizures preventing four tons of narcotics valued at over 140 million dollars from reaching the US. GARY visited Columbia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Panama and participated in exercises and operations underway involving the Canadian, Columbian, Guatemalan, and Panamanian Navies.
Commanding Officer, CDR Christopher Budde had this to say, “I'm very proud of the performance of this crew on deployment. Their diligent efforts made a positive impact on the flow of illegal narcotics to the U.S. They made a commitment to improving the ship and delivered through hard work on the condition of the spaces and training in every warfare area. I must also recognize the outstanding support provided by our families. Throughout the deployment they supported their Sailors and each other. This made a real contribution to our mission success. I am very grateful for the Crew's and Families' dedication.”
From the Executive Officer, CDR Kurt Kyle, “After over 6 months of deployment, we are so grateful for the love and support our family and friends have provided us. This crew worked really hard and resulted in an extremely successful deployment that made an impact on the war on drugs and foster relationships with our partner nations.”
Command Master Chief, Master Chief Montes states, “As we come to the end of our deployment and in behalf of the CPO Mess, I want to express a heartfelt thank you to the crew of USS GARY. Thank you for your service and for all the hard work that you put in while deployed. To family and friends, thank you for your continued support which allowed GARY to have a very successful deployment. We are all happy to return home and spend some well deserved time with our loved ones.”
GARY’s success was due to expert technicians and operators keeping the ships systems up and running throughout the entire deployment. After the long days at sea, the crew also participated in three community relations projects in Panama, including cleaning up a middle school in Panama City.
Many personal goals were met by the crew on their deployment, GARY held a 250 and 500 mile run club, a weight loss competition, and mini triathlon in the middle of the ocean.
The Sailors did heavy mental lifting; some completing college courses and others working on personal qualifications. 51 Sailors completed their Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist qualification, which represents a working knowledge of their ship and Naval Heritage.