USS Reuben James making final return to Hawaii

Missile frigate to be decomissioned in August

 UPDATED 3:41 PM HST May 01, 2013
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii -

The Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided missile frigate USS Reuben James will return to its homeport in Hawaii from a deployment to the Western Pacific on May 3.

During the ship's seven-month deployment, the crew of Reuben James participated in a series of bilateral maritime exercises or Cooperative Afloat Readiness and Training while conducting at-sea security scenarios, helicopter operations, a search and rescue practical and surface gunfire drills in the Seventh Fleet Area of Responsibility.

"First and foremost, thank you to the crew of USS Reuben James for your outstanding performance," said Reuben James Commanding Officer Cmdr. Daniel Valascho.  "Our motto is 'Back With A Vengeance,' but now we're back with a sense of satisfaction, knowing we did our part operating forward, strengthening partnerships and protecting freedom."

Having completed her final deployment Reuben James will be decommissioned this August after 27 years of service to the fleet.

"They maintained readiness, showed their pride and professionalism and always looked out for each other on and off duty," said Command Master Chief CMDMC(SW) Johannes J. Gonzalez. "I'm very proud of them all and I cannot think of a better crew to represent Reuben James on her final deployment."

During the ship's history it has completed deployments to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom, to the Eastern Pacific in support of counter-drug operations and it appeared in the 1990 motion picture The Hunt For Red October.

"I also want to thank all the families and friends who stood by us and prepared a native Hawaiian welcome for the entire crew. It will be great to see you all pierside," added Valascho.

Guided-missile frigates are multi-mission surface combatants, capable of Under-Sea Warfare and Surface Warfare missions. Reuben James is assigned to Commander, Destroyer Squadron 31 under Commander, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, in Hawaii.

U.S. Third Fleet leads naval forces in the Eastern Pacific from the West Coast of North America to the international date line. Joint, interagency and international relationships strengthen Third Fleet's ability to respond to crises and protect the collective maritime interests of the U.S. and its allies and partners.

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