USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116), a ship of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (IKE CSG), returned to her homeport of Naval Station Mayport on July 17 after a six-month deployment to the U.S. 5th and U.S. 6th Fleet areas of operation.
Thomas Hudner departed Naval Station Norfolk Feb. 18 with the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group after completing their six-week composite unit training exercises. The ship transited the Atlantic Ocean and entered the Mediterranean Sea on March 8 alongside the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (IKE), flagship of the IKE CSG, and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57), a ship of the IKE CSG.
“The crew exceeded each and every one of my expectations and they should be as proud of their work as I am of them,” said Cmdr. Bo Mancuso, commanding officer, USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116). “For a multitude of missions and exercises, they did it all and they did it well.”
While in U.S. 6th Fleet, Thomas Hudner, IKE and Mitscher conducted tri-lateral exercises with the Hellenic and Italian navies from March 12-16. The ship participated in Exercise Sea Shield 21, a maritime exercise that supported presence operations in the Black Sea region, alongside the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61), a ship of the IKE CSG, and with ships from 12 other NATO allied countries from March 20-23.
“I am incredibly proud of everyone’s performance and the keystone roles they played for our contribution as part of the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group’s 2021 mission,” said Cmdr. Shelby Nikitin, Thomas Hudner’s executive officer. “Serving with this crew has been an absolute pleasure.”
While in U.S. 5th Fleet, Thomas Hudner conducted maritime interdiction and security operations from late April to early May with the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Laboon (DDG 58), a ship of the IKE CSG. These operations supported regional maritime stability through counter-narcotics and counter-smuggling, to include weapons that support violent extremist organizations.
Thomas Hudner integrated with the Charles de Gaulle Carrier Strike Group and provided support to Operation Inherent Resolve while operating in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea from May 25 to June 3.
Thomas Hudner participated in BALTOPS 50, a premier, maritime-focused exercise that took place in the Baltic Region from June 6-18 with participants from 16 NATO and two U.S. partner nations. The ship also conducted bi-lateral maritime exercises with the Hellenic Navy and presence operations alongside NATO allies while in the Black Sea and continued its support to U.S. 6th Fleet mission tasking in the Norwegian Sea into early July before its return home.
“There were many daily challenges during the deployment, but we all pulled together as one strong team to get the job done. I’m glad I was able to work with all the great people here,” said Gunner’s Mate Third Class Thomas Bishop from Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. “I’m looking forward to being able to serve with my shipmates here in anything we do in the future. Our deployment put teamwork to the test and I’m glad to see that we all accomplished our mission together.”
USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72), a ship of the IKE CSG, will soon return to their homeport in Naval Station Norfolk. The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Laboon (DDG 58) a ship of the IKE CSG, returned to Naval Station Norfolk July 16. The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Mitscher (DDG 57) and USS Mahan (DDG 72) remain on deployment and will return to Naval Station Norfolk at a future date.
Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group is a multiplatform team of ships, aircraft and more than 5,000 Sailors, capable of carrying out a wide variety of missions around the globe. The Navy provides a ready, flexible force capable of responding to a broad range of contingencies.
Ships of the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, commanded by Rear Adm. Scott F. Robertson, include the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), commanded by Capt. Paul F. Campagna; the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers USS Monterey (CG 61), commanded by Capt. Joseph A. Baggett, and USS Vella Gulf (CG 72), commanded by Capt. Michael P. Desmond; Destroyer Squadron 22, commanded by Capt. Scott A. Jones, ships include the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Mitscher (DDG 57), commanded by Cmdr. Thomas McCandless, USS Laboon (DDG 58), commanded by Cmdr. Charles Spivey, USS Mahan (DDG 72) commanded by Cmdr. Chris Cummins, and USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116), commanded by Cmdr. Bo Mancuso.
Squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3, commanded by Capt. Marcos A. Jasso, embarked on Eisenhower include the “Fighting Swordsmen” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 32, “Gunslingers” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 105, “Wildcats” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 131, “Rampagers” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 83; “Dusty Dogs” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 7; “Swamp Foxes” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 74; “Screwtops” of Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW) 123; “Zappers” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 130, and a detachment from Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40 “Rawhides.”