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PEARL HARBOR - The guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) and the “Easyriders” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 37 returned to their homeport of Pearl Harbor, Aug. 19, following a successful deployment to the 3rd and 4th Fleet areas of operation.
While deployed to 4th Fleet, Chile hosted Michael Murphy and its crew of more than 350 Sailors, along with maritime forces from 11 partnering countries – including Brazil, Columbia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Germany, Honduras, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Turkey, and the United Kingdom – to participate in exercise UNITAS LX (60).
UNITAS, Latin for "unity," is the world's longest-running multinational maritime exercise. Conceived in 1959 and first executed in 1960, UNITAS is a demonstration of U.S. commitment to the region and the strong relationships forged between partnering nations and their militaries.
During deployment, the ship also participated in exercise Teamwork South, a biennial Chilean naval exercise that focuses on conducting training scenarios in intermediate and advanced anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare operations.
“Multinational operations and exercises like UNITAS and Teamwork South underpin the U.S. Navy’s collective maritime efforts in the Indo-Pacific region,” said Cmdr. Christopher Forch, Michael Murphy’s commanding officer. “The variety of operations the ship conducted during deployment demanded excellence from the crew; we operated with flexibility and professionalism that is second to none.”
Michael Murphy also conducted extensive training during its routine operations that prepared the crew to successfully rescue five stranded mariners off the coast of Peru.
“Helping spot those fishermen was easily the high point of my naval career,” said Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Ryan Buck. “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing at first, but then I saw them frantically waving makeshift flags made of jackets and pants, just to make sure we saw them.”
Michael Murphy also conducted a number of live-fire gunnery exercises – including its 5-inch gun, close-in weapons system, Mark-38 25mm machine gun, .50-caliber machine gun, M240 machine guns, and a two-day small-arms qualification – and HSM 37 tallied 266 flight hours over the course of 84 flights.
“This has been an excellent deployment,” said Forch. “Along with our allies and partners, we all operate toward the same end- continued security and stability that result in a free and open Indo-Pacific. I couldn’t be more proud of my Sailors for their accomplishments and dedication to mission.”
U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Indo-Pacific and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy. U.S. 3rd Fleet works constantly with U.S. 7th Fleet to complement one another and provide commanders capable, ready assets across the spectrum of military operations in the Pacific.