Lt. Cmdr Scott Jones was selected for early command-the 'crown jewel' of the surface warfare profession; he is headed for USS Pioneer (MCM 9), forward deployed to Sasebo, Japan.
"In literally every mission area, the officers stepped up and led from the front in ways I have never before seen," said Capt. Brad Cooper, Gettysburg commanding officer. "And the Chief's Mess -- easily the best with whom I have ever served -- just plain set the standard high. They positively motivated and inspired the crew to greater achievements, each and every day."
"We've also been exceptionally fortunate to have been a part of a great team, led by Rear Adm. Kevin Sweeney, commander, Carrier Strike Group 10 and anchored by our Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group shipmates." Having already been awarded the 2013 Battle 'E' in every mission area, the crew achieved the highest overall score during pre-deployment certifications of the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Strike Group and received the Surface Force Unit Tactics Award for excellence in all warfare areas.
Sustaining operational excellence throughout the year began with excellence in material readiness. Gettysburg's engineers have been top tier, having now gone more than 70,000 miles without a main propulsion casualty. As air and missile defense commander for the Harry S. Truman Strike Group, the ship maintained 100 percent SPY radar readiness throughout deployment, going more than nine months without a casualty. Demonstrating superb performance and dedication, the ship's culinary specialists have competed in multiple competitions, taking the prize for excellence each time. The ship's servicemen and logistics specialists have maintained 100 percent accountability throughout the year.
"It has been an incredible time to be aboard this ship," says Navy Counselor First Class Raymond Wiemer. "Our Sailors have advanced at incredible rates, all while achieving the highest levels of qualification through focus and committed teamwork. "It has been the honor of a lifetime to be a part of such a successful and positive team."
Gettysburg is only the fifth cruiser in the last 106 years to receive the award, competing against larger ships including aircraft carriers and amphibious ships. It began as a competition between American and British Sailors. In 1941, the same trophy that Gettysburg will receive, went down with the battleship USS West Virginia (BB 47), and was raised with her following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Since then, the cup has been refinished and the competition between American ships has resumed, with the silver cup representing the best of the best.
Homeported in Mayport, Florida Gettysburg recently returned from a nine month deployment with the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group to the 6th and 5th Fleet areas of responsibility. During the deployment, the award-winning crew actively participated in sustained operations with foreign navies, provided humanitarian aid for multiple stranded mariners, wrote several standard operating procedures currently in use, and checked in more than 17,000 aircraft as air and missile defense commander in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.