By MC3 Taylor A. Elberg
The guided-missile destroyer USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) returned to Naval Station Mayport from a 7-month combat deployment in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operations (AOO), Dec. 30.
Roosevelt deployed June 1 in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, maritime security operations (MSO) and theater security cooperation efforts as part of the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (Ike CSG).
"The flexibility of this crew and their willingness to execute has made this a very successful deployment," said Cmdr. Meger D. Chappell, Roosevelt's commanding officer. "Roosevelt was able to execute all assigned tasking, testing all of her mission areas. It has also been an honor to serve with the Ike CSG."
Embarked Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 48, detachment one, the Kraken, flew missions aboard Roosevelt almost daily utilizing two MH-60R Seahawk helicopters. The squadron logged 788 flight hours and 275 sorties and also provided air support for 12 strait transits and four MSO boardings.
"The Kraken completed an extremely successful deployment aboard Roosevelt, which involved a varying mission set in a dynamically changing maritime environment," said Lt. Cmdr. Peter Borszich, Roosevelt's air boss. "The crews and maintenance team also performed flawlessly."
Roosevelt's visit board search and seizure (VBSS) team participated in patrolling the area of operations in rigid-hull inflatable boats as part of MSO, conducting approach and assist visits of fishing dhows to better understand fishing patterns and establish a working rapport with locals.
"Our work in support of maritime security in the 5th Fleet AOO certainly helped bolster support for US and coalition forces in the area," said Lt. Carson Fall, Roosevelt's VBSS Officer. "People there associate our flag and our ships with safety and freedom on the seas."
Roosevelt conducted several port visits including Civitavecchia, Italy; Augusta Bay, Italy; Eilat, Israel; Manama, Bahrain; and Muscat, Oman.
"I couldn't be more proud of the amazing job we did while operating in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet area of operations," said Senior Chief Sonar Technician (Surface) Michael Elkins, Roosevelt's senior enlisted advisor. "We accomplished all our missions as a team, and we are returning home as a team."
Roosevelt boasts six first-time fathers among the crew, including Operations Specialist 2nd Class Mark Lechlak.
"This deployment has been very dynamic, and we've been able to experience everything this ship can really do," said Lechlak. "It's been a great learning experience. Now, I'm ready to get back home and spend some time with my family who I miss very much."
Roosevelt will turn its attention to a leave and maintenance period, followed by a visit to the shipyards for a major overhaul that will provide the ship with the ballistic missile defense upgrade, making her to one of the most capable weapons in the fleet.