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YOKOSUKA, Japan - The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile-destroyer USS Milius (DDG 69) arrived at U.S. Fleet Activities Yokosuka, to become part of the Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF) in Japan, May 22.
The arrival of Milius to the 7th Fleet adds another upgraded Aegis Baseline 9 destroyer to the waterfront in Yokosuka.
"The crew has trained extremely hard to get the ship fully certified and ready for tasking," said Milius commanding officer, Cmdr. Jennifer Pontius. "There is a lot of planning and preparation that goes into getting a ship ready to forward deploy and to transition a crew and their families overseas; I could not be prouder of this crew and their hard work."
Milius moored pierside to the sounds of the 7th Fleet Band's fanfare and cheers from family and friends.
On hand to welcome Milius to their new home Tuesday, were senior members of the naval forces leadership in Yokosuka, including Fleet Activities Yokosuka's commanding officer, Capt. Jeffrey Kim.
"Fleet Activities Yokosuka is very happy to welcome the entire Milius team, including their families, to their new home," said Kim, who oversees the U.S. Navy's largest overseas installation.
"As a community, we look forward to supporting USS Milius as one of 13 Forward Deployed Naval Force ships stationed here in Yokosuka."
"My crew and I are very excited to arrive in Yokosuka today and join this elite team of Forward Deployed Naval Forces," said Pontius. "For more than 50 years, the U.S.-Japan alliance has been the foundation of peace, security and the cornerstone of U.S. engagement in the region. We aim to foster and strengthen that bond with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the local community."
The excitement of service overseas wasn't lost on the crew who, after months of preparation, are anxious to explore their new home and be reunited with their families.
"I'm not just going to confine myself to base," said Information Systems Technician 2nd Class, Tanisha Canedo, who looks forward to Japan's "culture, activities and the food."
"You try to hold back the emotion but it's touching," said Information Systems Technician 1st Class Cameran Heckenlaible who was reunited with his wife and children after six months apart.
"Thank you again for welcoming us to your wonderful city," concluded Pontius to the crowds gathered at Yokosuka's berth 7 pier. "We are incredibly excited to be here and look forward to exploring and learning about the Japanese culture."
Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers perform key roles in support of carrier strike groups, expeditionary strike groups or surface action groups. Destroyers are capable of sustained combat operations supporting forward presence, maritime security, sea control and deterrence.
These combatants operate in a network centric warfare environment and execute multi-mission tasking to include air, surface, undersea, space and cyber warfare. Destroyers coordinate with units of a task group to conduct naval operations and execute the Maritime Strategy under a naval component commander.
Maintaining the most technologically advanced ships is vital to support the United States' commitment to the security, stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region.
Milius left its former homeport of San Diego, April 20.