October 13, 2020 – USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60) crew had extra cause to celebrate the Navy’s birthday this year, as the ship returned to San Diego, Oct. 13, from a successful nine-month deployment to the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operation.
Paul Hamilton departed Naval Base San Diego January 17, and remained at sea for most of the following nine months due to operational tasking and the constraints of operating forward in the midst of the COVID pandemic.
“I could not be more proud of this crew and the great work they did in support of American interests in two strategic regions,” said Cmdr. Mark W. Lawrence, Paul Hamilton’s commanding officer. “The Phantom Warriors adapted to the challenges of operating in a COVID environment and performed brilliantly, demonstrating remarkable self-sufficiency and the will to fight that our nation expects from its Navy.”
Paul Hamilton originally deployed with the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike group to conduct security and stability operations in the western Pacific. While in 7th Fleet, the ship supported freedom of navigation through focused operations in the South China Sea. Paul Hamilton later served as 5th Fleet ballistic missile defense commander and in direct support to the International Maritime Security Construct, a coalition task force whose mission is to reinforce free access to international waters in the Middle East. While in theater, Paul Hamilton also conducted joint operations with the Army, Air Force, and Coast Guard, ultimately serving in four carrier strike groups and contributing to a host of Navy, joint, and allied objectives.
The ship traveled a total of 54,422 nautical miles as she supported missions across the globe, and the Phantom Warriors earned the title of “Steel Shellbacks” after crossing the equator with more than 255 days at sea in 2020.
As Paul Hamilton made the turn into San Diego Bay, the crew hoisted the “homeward bound” pennant, an honor given to ships who deploy for 270 or more days continuously.