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USS Philippine Sea ends 10-month deployment

The USS Philippine Sea has ended a 10-month deployment, the Navy said on Thursday. Photo courtesy U.S. Navy
The USS Philippine Sea has ended a 10-month deployment, the Navy said on Thursday. Photo courtesy U.S. Navy

April 22 (UPI) -- The USS Philippine Sea has returned to Florida's Naval Station Mayport, marking the end of a nearly 10-month deployment, the Navy announced Thursday.

The guided-missile cruiser traveled nearly 60,000 nautical miles during its deployment, operating in in the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, including the Gulf of Aqaba, the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and the Arabian Gulf, according to a Navy press release.

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"When faced with many unique challenges over the past ten months, the crew not only persevered, but demonstrated unmatched resolve and an unwavering spirit of camaraderie," Capt. Kevin Hoffman, Philippine Sea's commanding officer, said in the release.

"Their resilience inspires me every day," Hoffman said.

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The vessel's deployment included multiple strait and choke point transits, including the Strait of Gibraltar, Suez Canal, and the Strait of Bab-el Mandeb.

This included 18 transits through the Strait of Hormuz, many while escorting partner military vessels and commercial shipping.

The Philippine Sea also operated as part of the Nimitz carrier group in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, and led and participated in several maritime security exercises with partner nations, the Navy said.

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"The crew worked extraordinarily hard over the last ten months amidst a global pandemic, from daily tasks to earning professional qualifications and achieving personal goals," said Cmdr. LeAndra Kissinger, the ship's executive officer.

"Everyone came together to accomplish every operational tasking as a team. Their work in the Fleet set a high bar for all future deployments," Kissinger said.

In March, the vessel ported in Bahrain for three weeks after about 20 sailors tested positive for COVID-19, which followed an investigation of possible exposure in February.

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