USS Bunker Hill and USS Russell return from deployment

Sailors man the rails as the guided-missile destroyer USS Russell (DDG 59) returns to Naval Base San Diego after a six-month deployment in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Woody S. Paschall)
July 08, 2020

The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Russell (DDG 59) returned to San Diego July 8 after a deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.

Bunker Hill and Russell are part of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group and departed on a deployment to the Indo-Pacific on January 17.

“While this deployment has been unlike many deployments of the past, the Bunker Hill team is excited to return home to San Diego after completing a very successful deployment,” said Capt. Shea Thompson, commanding officer of Bunker Hill. “The crew executed a broad spectrum of missions over the last six months while serving as Air Defense Commander for Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9. During the course of our six-month deployment, we supported multiple freedom of navigation operations directly enhancing maritime security in the Indo-Pacific. I couldn’t be more proud of this high-powered team.”

Both Bunker Hill and Russell’s primary mission was conducting maritime security operations while in U.S. 7th Fleet, ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific. Both ships also engaged in theater security cooperation engagements and multiple joint exercises with the U.S. Marine Corps and Air Force.

“The nature of our deployment has been unique by any measure,” said Cmdr. Ryan Rogers, commanding officer of Russell. “The crew exceeded all expectations and professionally executed all tasking during our mission in the Western Pacific, and I am extremely proud.”

Bunker Hill and Russell participated in Expeditionary Strike Force (ESF) operations in the Philippine Sea in March with the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and the USS America Expeditionary Strike Group (AMAESG) highlighting the interoperability of joint forces.

Both Bunker Hill and Russell participated in dual carrier strike group operations in June that showcased the tactical power of two individual carrier strike groups, demonstrating flexibility, endurance, firepower, maneuverability, and capability unmatched in the history of warfare.

Additionally, both Bunker Hill and Russel participated in freedom of navigation operations in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in accordance with international law.

Although COVID-19 inhibited many scheduled port visits, both Bunker Hill and Russell were able to visit several ‘Safe Haven’ ports. Bunker Hill made port visits in Saipan, Vietnam and Guam while Russell was able to visit Sasebo, Yokosuka, and Guam. Prior to the COVID pandemic, Sailors participated in community relations events and experienced local culture in Vietnam, Sasebo, and Saipan.

Bunker Hill and Russell are both home ported in San Diego, the home of the U.S. 3rd Fleet.

U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Pacific and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy. U.S. 3rd Fleet works constantly with U.S. 7th Fleet to complement one another and provide commanders with capable, ready assets across the spectrum of military operations in the Pacific.

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