USS Leyte Gulf Returns to Norfolk from Remaining Deployment Earlier than Decommissioning in September

Guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf returned Friday to Naval Station Norfolk for the final time because the Navy prepares to decommission the warship later this 12 months.

The cruiser departed Jan. 28 from its Norfolk homeport to assist drug interdiction safety operations within the Caribbean for 3 and a half months. The 39-year-old ship, 4 years previous its anticipated 35-year service life, is scheduled to be decommissioned in September, in response to a spokesperson for Naval Floor Forces Atlantic.

“It is a profound ultimate chapter for one of many Navy’s most interesting ships, and their crew ought to be happy with all they achieved,” mentioned Vice Adm. Doug Perry, commander of Norfolk-based U.S. 2nd Fleet.

Throughout its ultimate deployment, the Leyte Gulf partnered with U.S. Coast Guard Regulation Enforcement Detachment 404 to disrupt the trafficking of 4,100 kilograms of cocaine, in response to a 2nd Fleet information launch. The staff detected and seized three sea-going vessels and a self-propelled semi-submersible with one other 2,370 kilograms of illicit medication on board. The operation resulted within the arrest of 15 narcotics traffickers.

“Our Leyte Gulf staff was prepared when referred to as upon to execute all three interdictions,” mentioned Capt. Nathan Diaz, commanding officer of the Leyte Gulf. “The profitable seizure of greater than $42 million in illicit medication is a testomony to the interoperability of our companion nations, the Coast Guard and the Leyte Gulf staff.”

All through its close to four-decade lifespan, the Leyte Gulf has deployed to the Mediterranean, the Arabian Sea, Somalia and the Indian Ocean, the Navy mentioned. Notably, it responded to the terrorist assaults of Sept. 11, 2001, setting sail for the coast of New York alongside plane service USS George Washington in assist of protection and humanitarian efforts.

The ship was constructed in 1985 and commissioned in 1987. It was named after considered one of World Struggle II’s largest naval battles, The Battle of Leyte Gulf, fought in 1944 within the Philippine Sea. The warship has been homeported at Naval Station Norfolk since 1997, in response to Naval Floor Forces Atlantic.

“This ship is stuffed with historical past. Every interval brings its personal far-off journeys, together with generations of sailors who’ve manned the helm,” Diaz mentioned. “Our final deployment was stuffed with sailors who made their very own mark on the story of this nice warship. Although our namesake comes from a battle way back, the U.S. continues to be performing with a degree of fight experience and professionalism that we’ve at all times had as we defend the homeland.”

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