PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - Guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60) returned to its homeport of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam June 24 following a nine-month deployment to the Western Pacific and U.S. Central Command areas of responsibility.
"We have been gone 277 days and we are just thrilled to be home to the Navy's best homeport of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii," said Cmdr. Luke Frost, USS Paul Hamilton, commanding officer. "We couldn't be prouder of the ship, but we always said this ship is not the 505 feet of steel but it's the 298 Sailors that bring that to life and we are just absolutely proud of every Sailor today, great day for the ship and the families and we are proud to be home."
USS Paul Hamilton departed Pearl Harbor Sept. 21, 2012 and has operated in the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility conducting operations supporting regional security and counter-terrorism as well as combating criminal maritime operations.
"This was my first deployment; it was longer than a normal deployment for a first one," said Electronics Technician 3rd Class Anthony Augudelo. "It was different, I've been to places I have never been to before, traveled the world and that's what I wanted to do when I joined the Navy."
The deployment also included port visits in Malaysia, Thailand, Bahrain and the Philippines, where more than 20 Filipino-American Sailors were able to spend time with their families and friends who live there.
Rear Adm. Fernandez "Frank" Ponds, commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, gave a "Bravo Zulu" message to the crew of USS Paul Hamilton. In the message Ponds commended them on their overall pride and professionalism, operational excellence, and exemplary conduct while representing the U.S. Navy and the nation in the completion of their deployment.
While returning to Pearl Harbor USS Paul Hamilton flew a 242-foot homeward bound Pennant along with the national ensign. The pennant is traditionally flown after a ship has spent 270 or more uninterrupted days underway, with each foot representing the number of Sailors aboard during that time.
Guided-missile destroyers are multi-mission anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare combatants that operate independently for the support of carriers and expeditionary and surface strike groups.
USS Paul Hamilton is one of 11 surface combatants assigned to Commander, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, Destroyer Squadron 31.