SASEBO, Japan (NNS) -- The forward deployed amphibious dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42) returned to Commander Fleet Activities Sasebo (CFAS), Nov. 14, following a scheduled three-month patrol.
While on patrol, the ship operated with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Japanese Self Defense Force (JSDF), Naval Beach Unit 7, the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), 4th Marine Regiment, and 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.
"The deployment was challenging, but we met every challenge the way that we always do, by putting our best foot forward," said Command Master Chief Samuel Olmstead. "I believe that the most successful piece of this deployment was the integration between the junior Sailors and junior Marines. We completed a lot of operations together. We were able to train a generation of Sailors and Marines how to conduct amphibious operations during this deployment. A large amount of recognition goes to the ship's crew, their hard work to accomplish the mission, complete qualifications and grow as a team."
Germantown participated in several exercises during the patrol. This included the Amphibious Integration Training, Certification Exercise for the 31st MEU, Amphibious Landing Exercise 2015, Blue Chromite and Keen Sword.
"These exercises are absolutely essential for us to not only showcase our capabilities to our allied partners, but also to learn from them and hone our skills," said Cmdr. Gary Harrington, Germantown's commanding officer. "This was the first deployment for a large number of my Sailors, as we spent the better part of the past year completing training and certification requirements and performing maintenance in preparation for the inspection by the Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV). This deployment validated all our hard work over the past year and their performance was exceptional."
In addition to passing INSURV, Germantown and crew achieved many significant qualifications throughout the patrol, including certifications in engineering, combat systems, operations, search and rescue and visit, board, search and seizure.
"It was a very successful deployment and I realized how much I love being out to sea," said Seaman Donnovon Angevine. "During this deployment, I was able to get all my damage control qualifications, I achieved my Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist (ESWS) qualification and I qualified as helmsman, so now I can drive the ship!"
Over the course of three months, 71 Sailors earned their ESWS qualification, three officers earned their Surface Warfare Officer (SWO) qualification and six officers earned their Officer of the Deck (OOD) qualification.
The ship moored at CFAS and will make preparations for its upcoming ship's restricted availability (SRA) period. The SRA will take approximately three months and allows the ships crew, contractors and Intermediate Maintenance Facility to work on maintaining, updating and replacing many of the ship's systems.
"SRA is an opportunity to do the deep maintenance repairs that are required to have successful deployments over the next 24 months," said Lt. Cmdr. John Stahley, Germantown's chief engineer. "It is a time for rejuvenation for the ship's systems, which have been run hard over the past two years. During this period they are going to be working on modernizing some of the operations systems and then do some of the basic maintenance for the engineering systems."
These modernizations will prepare the ship for continued successful patrols, supporting security and stability operations in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.