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Mobile Bay departed San Diego in route to U.S. 7th Fleet Jan. 3, 2022 to support maritime security and enhance regional stability in the Indo-Pacific. The cruiser served as the air and missile defense commander for CSG-3 and the primary escort for the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). The ship participated in a multitude of joint and combined exercises in the region, including exercises Jungle Warfare, Noble Fusion and Valiant Shield Upon returning to U.S. 3rd Fleet area of operations, Mobile Bay took part in exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2022.
Midway through deployment, Mobile Bay held a change of command at-sea and transferred the title of commanding officer from Capt. Jeremy Gray to Capt. Brandon Burkett. Burkett said he witnessed an exceptional level of performance from Mobile Bay Sailors throughout the remainder of the deployment and could not have inherited a more ready and capable crew.
“Mobile Bay Sailors have seldom been alone this deployment, often working tirelessly alongside many allies and partner nations to accomplish key missions in both the Philippine Sea and South China Sea, displaying the kind of interoperability that defines us as a powerful Navy,” Burkett said. “Their daily sacrifice and steadfast duty fills me with admiration and the families they’ve had to part from during this deployment can be justifiably proud of the incredible work they’ve done protecting U.S. interests in the Indo-Pacific.”
For the duration of the deployment, the ship’s hangar bay was home to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 71. While aboard, the squadron conducted more than 1,000 hours of flight operations. Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 14 facilitated multiple helicopter recovery and fast-rope drills onto Mobile Bay with Sailors assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 3 embarked on Abraham Lincoln.
During RIMPAC 2022, Mobile Bay integrated with Sea Combat Commander Task Force (CTF) 170, an embarked team consisting of personnel from the Royal New Zealand Navy, Royal Australian Navy, U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps. Applying experience from Mobile Bay’s South China Sea presence operations, the ship met training opportunities in the multi-national exercise with the same distinction as real world scenarios.
“USS Mobile Bay and HSM-71 trained with many allies in anti-submarine warfare (ASW) during RIMPAC events,” said Lt. Austin Phillips, a pilot from HSM 71. “Having already tracked submarines throughout deployment, our ASW unit was well prepared for the events.
Working in combination with ships from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, Royal Canadian Navy and Philippine Navy, as well as partner nation air assets, Mobile Bay and its helicopters found, tracked and performed simulated kills against U.S. submarines to successfully complete the exercise.”
While deployed, Mobile Bay executed 50 replenishments-at-sea. Operating weekly with Commander Task Force (CTF) 71, the ship conducted multiple fueling-at-sea evolutions with three partner nation vessels, Abraham Lincoln and 15 military sealift command ships. In total, Mobile Bay received eight million gallons of fuel and 675 pallets of stores.
An integral part of U.S. Pacific Fleet, U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Indo-Pacific and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary to flawlessly execute our Navy’s role across the full spectrum of military operations—from combat operations to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. U.S. 3rd Fleet works together with our allies and partners to advance freedom of navigation, the rule of law, and other principles that underpin security for the Indo-Pacific region.
For more Mobile Bay information, please visit the ship’s website at https://www.surfpac.navy.mil/cg53/ or www.dvidshub.net/unit/CSG3.