US Navy guided-missile destroyers USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) and USS Mitscher (DDG 57) returned to homeports in Mayport and Norfolk after completing their separate deployments.
The Sullivans returned to Mayport on April 18, after a three-month deployment to the European theater of operations.
This surge deployment followed a 2021 deployment with the Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth strike group (CSG-21), from which The Sullivans returned home just before Thanksgiving.
The Sullivans was in sustainment when it departed Naval Station Mayport in January 2022. Ships in the sustainment phase of the Optimized Fleet Response Plan remain ready for contingency tasking before entering a maintenance phase.
“Despite the dynamic schedule and demanding operational tasking, The Sullivans crew displayed resiliency, grit and determined self-sufficiency to accomplish all missions,” said Cmdr. James Diefenderfer, Jr., commanding officer of The Sullivans. “We are incredibly proud of our team’s accomplishments.”
The crew navigated over 20,000 nautical miles, operating in the Irish, North and Baltic Seas, and conducted 12 sea and anchor details, 11 underway replenishments, and port visits to Copenhagen, Denmark; Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Ponta Delgada, Portugal; and Rota, Spain.
While deployed, The Sullivans participated in NATO Exercise Dynamic Guard 2022 in the North Sea. Dynamic Guard, hosted by Norway, is a biannual, multinational electronic warfare exercise series designed to provide tactical training for the NATO Response Force and NATO national units. For the first time in three years, two U.S. vessels participated to further enhance the ongoing cooperation, strength and interoperability between NATO Allies.
The Sullivans continued operations with three NATO countries within Standing NATO Maritime Group (SNMG) 1, which was comprised of the German Navy Type 702 Berlin-class replenishment ship FGS Berlin (A1411), the Royal Netherlands Navy Karel Doorman-class multi-purpose frigate HNLMS Van Amstel (F831) and the Royal Danish Navy Iver Huitfeldt-class frigate HDMS Peter Willemoes (F362).
In the case of USS Mitscher, 300 sailors arrived home to Naval Station Norfolk on April 16, following a surge deployment to the European theater of operations.
Mitscher rapidly deployed in January to join the Harry S. Truman carrier strike group (HSTCSG) in the US 6th Fleet area of operations.
This was the ship’s second homecoming in several months. Mitscher returned from an extended nine month deployment with the Dwight D. Eisenhower CSG in September 2021.
While deployed, the ship conducted presence operations and defense of the HSTCSG with the Greek, Italian, Norwegian and Turkish navies.
Both destroyers operated under the command if the US 2nd Fleet during their deployments. Reestablished in 2018 in response to the changing global security environment, the 2nd Fleet develops and employs maritime forces ready to fight in the Atlantic and Arctic.