(Via Ho’okele News)
The Ticonderoga-class, guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (DDG 70) deploys to the western Pacific from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
Story and photo by MCSA Rose Forest
Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Hawaii
Sailors aboard the Hawaii-based, Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) departed Feb. 18 for a western Pacific deployment, the ship’s last while being homeported at Pearl Harbor.
Families gathered on the pier to say goodbye to loved ones, waving and holding signs. Sailors in their dress white uniforms crowded along the rails to shout their goodbyes to loved ones.
While deployed, Lake Erie will conduct theater security operations with partner nations while providing deterrence, promoting peace and security, preserving freedom of the seas and, if needed, providing humanitarian assistance/disaster response.
“We are trained and ready for deployment,” said Capt. John S. Banigan, Lake Erie commanding officer.
“I am very proud of this crew and all that they have accomplished. We have an amazing team of professionals, and I have the utmost faith in their abilities. I could not ask for a better group of Sailors to go to sea alongside.”
Lake Erie is one of 11 surface ships of Commander, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific. The ship is named in commemoration of the Battle of Lake Erie fought Sept. 10, 1815.
During the pivotal engagement, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry hoisted a crudely stitched flag bearing the dying words of his friend, Capt. James Lawrence, “Don’t give up the ship!” That motto served as the battle cry that day and continues to inspire today.
“I am very excited because I’ve never been overseas before. I am excited to navigate through some interesting ports,” said
Quartermaster 3rd Class Lane Daigle. “I can’t wait to see Japan and South Korea. Those countries have been on my bucket list since I joined the Navy.”
U.S. Navy guided-missile cruisers are multi-mission surface combatants capable of supporting carrier strike groups, amphibious readiness groups, surface action groups or operating independently.
“It’s going to be hard,” said one of the spouses, whose husband deployed with the Lake Erie. “Being away is always difficult, but it’s worth it. I’m proud of him and all his shipmates who are deploying today.”
Upon completion of this deployment, Lake Erie is expected to replace John Paul Jones as a rotational ballistic missile defense (BMD) deployer in San Diego.
Commander, U.S. Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific leads and manages the overall warfighting capability of the surface combatant force homeported at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH), Hawaii.