MEDITERRANEAN SEA (NNS) -- Guided-missile destroyer USS Bainbridge (DDG 96) departed the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations, after more than six months on station conducting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation off the Horn of Africa, Jan. 9.
Bainbridge spent 193 days at sea and conducted six port visits in support of maritime partnerships with Seychelles, Greece, Spain, Italy and Israel.
While in Seychelles, Bainbridge Sailors volunteered by planting mangrove seeds, building a dam, and constructing bird hides for Nature Seychelles, a wildlife sanctuary in the archipelagic nation. The ship also assisted five Somali fisherman stranded at sea to return home safely.
"This was a very rewarding deployment and I am extremely proud of the hard work and discipline that Bainbridge Sailors exhibited throughout our seven months on station," said Commanding Officer, Cmdr. David J. Pearson. "We saw the importance of forward presence by the U.S. Navy and are very proud of the fact that we played a critical role in the Navy's maritime security mission and maritime partnership efforts."
Bainbridge entered the theater in July, transiting through the Mediterranean Sea and Suez Canal, and remained off the Horn of Africa for the majority of her time in the 6th Fleet area of operations.
"The support Bainbridge provided to the mission was immeasurable," said Commander, Destroyer Squadron 60, Capt. James Aiken. "Every single Sailor on that ship made an impact and improved the safety and security in the region, from the CO down to the most junior enlisted, and I thank them."
Sailors onboard Bainbridge showed not only pride in their personal achievements, but in the mission this team executed during the deployment.
"I feel very good knowing that our presence here has made a difference," said Boatswain's Mate Seaman Dylan Hunton. "There are so many people in the world that look up to us; they know we're here to protect them. That makes this job worth it."
During their time at sea, many Sailors excelled on an individual level, helping one another achieve various watchstanding and warfare qualifications, as well as other major career milestones. Seventy-two Sailors earned their Enlisted Surface Warfare qualification, 19 Sailors reenlisted, and 41 advanced in rate during this deployment.
"These Sailors have a lot to be proud of. From rescuing mariners in distress, to building partnerships with other nations, and ultimately securing the seas for free passage, the quintessential role of a U.S. Navy warship, the achievements of this crew will be etched into the developing legacy and proud history of Bainbridge," said Pearson of his crew's accomplishments.
USS Bainbridge is the fifth ship to be named after Commodore William Bainbridge, Commanding Officer of the frigate USS Constitution during the War of 1812. The ship was commissioned in November, 2005 and has been forward-deployed five times to the 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operations. Bainbridge will return to its homeport of Norfolk, Va.