USS Halsey (DDG 97) approaches the pier at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, May 14. (U.S. Navy/ATAN Joshua Markwith)

PEARL HARBOR - The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97) returned to its homeport, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, May 14, after a seven-month deployment to the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operation.

Halsey departed Pearl Harbor, Oct. 16, to join the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group.

During its deployment, Halsey supported maritime security operations, freedom of navigation operations, and theater security cooperation efforts in the South China Sea, Arabian Sea, and surrounding waters.

“The crew performed absolutely phenomenally throughout this deployment,” said Cmdr. David L. Reyes, Halsey’s commanding officer. “We’ve led from the front with every exercise and operation we’ve conducted and I’m extremely proud of every Sailor in our crew.”

Throughout the deployment, Halsey conducted numerous freedom of navigation operations, strait transits, and several high-value asset escort missions in 5th Fleet.

Halsey participated in the trilateral exercise Intrepid Sentinel with Royal Australian Navy and French Marine Nationale, improving interoperability in multiple warfare areas. The crew later participated in exercise Guardian Sea with the Royal Thai Navy, enhancing the anti-submarine capabilities of both navies.

Halsey successfully completed port visits to Santa Rita, Guam; Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain; Muscat, Oman; Changi, Republic of Singapore; and Phuket, Thailand.

“It almost felt like a completely different world compared to being back home but I definitely enjoyed it,” said Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 2nd Class Termaine Pruitt. “I feel I really built a lot of strong bonds this deployment and I’m already looking forward to revisiting some of the places.”

While in port, Sailors participated in community service projects, enjoyed rest and recreation, and participated in tours presented by the ship’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation program.

Sailors renovated sidewalks in Guam, painted buildings at American Mission Hospital in Manama, and prepared meals at Willing Hearts Soup Kitchen in Singapore.

“Even though you’re out at sea, it still feels good being able to give something back to the community when you get the chance,” said Culinary Specialist 2nd Fernandez Boose. “Just talking to locals in the area helps you realize that we’re not all that different.”

As Halsey steamed home, Sailors were looking forward to returning to their homes and families.

“It’s definitely going to be weird at first,” said Pruitt. “It’s going to feel great though, being able to go home after work every day or the little things like driving and just relaxing with friends.”

The Theodore Roosevelt Strike Group consisted of aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), Halsey, USS Higgins (DDG 76), USS Preble (DDG 88), and USS Sampson (DDG 102).

A Sailor prepares to greet his family during the USS Halsey (DDG 97) homecoming celebration. (U.S. Navy/ATAN Joshua Markwith)