US Navy’s Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruise USS Port Royal (CG-73) returned home to Pearl Harbor on July 18, completing her final deployment ahead of retirement this year.
Operating in the 5th and 7th Fleets, Port Royal sailed through 40,000 miles of water, concluded 9 strait transits and port visits to Guam, Sasebo, Okinawa, Singapore, Bahrain, and Kuwait.
The Port Royal crew conducted a variety of at sea operations, to include Abraham Lincoln Strike Group operations as the ballistic missile defense commander.
Port Royal tracked a live submarine, aided in the recovery of an F-35C Lightning II from the sea floor during operation Lightning Salvage, conducted combined maritime operations with the Kuwaiti Navy, and hosted VADM Cooper, Commander Fifth Fleet, along with multiple high-ranking members of the Kuwaiti military to boost international relations.
As a testament to the hard work of the crew, Port Royal ended her time in service with a Navy-wide record of 18 consecutive months on the SPY Honor Roll.
USS Port Royal is one of seven cruisers the navy has been authorized to decommission this year. The other six ships include USS Vella Gulf (CG-72), USS Monterey (CG-61), USS Lake Champlain (CG-57), USS Hué City (CG-66) USS Anzio (CG-68), and USS San Jacinto (CG-56).
The navy is also working on retiring another five ships next year, which would leave only 12 units in the fleet by fiscal year 2023.
The current plan is to have all remaining cruisers leave the fleet by 2027, in a departure from an earlier plan to modernize 11 cruisers with the aim of keeping them in service into the 2030s to have them operate as part of carrier strike groups, providing much needed air defense capability.
USS Port Royal is the youngest of the Ticonderoga-class cruisers, which started entering service in 1983. The ship is retiring after 28 years of service, having commissioned in July 1994.