PEARL HARBOR -- After a successful seven-month deployment, the guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) returned May 21 to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH).
Friends, families and fellow service members lined the harbor and gathered on the pier to welcome the ship home as it finished the last leg of its maiden deployment.
While deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR), Michael Murphy promoted security and stability throughout the western Pacific region. In total, the ship spent nearly 200 days underway and conducted more than 800 flight hours with the ship's attached helicopter squadron, Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 37, Detachment 4.
"Although time away from family and friends is hard, the most rewarding time in a Sailor's career is deployment when they have the opportunity to see the result of their hard work, from boot camp, to 'A' and 'C' schools, through the ship's training cycle," said Cmdr. Todd Hutchison, Michael Murphy's commanding officer.
"The crew performed magnificently and also had the opportunity to enjoy some liberty in places like Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong. We were proud to represent our nation and our Navy on deployment and are very thankful to be home," Hutchison said.
Michael Murphy began deployment by patroling the western Pacific Ocean for illegal fishing and other crimes during a joint operation with the U.S. Coast Guard known as the Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI).
From there, the ship continued operations in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, conducting security patrols and normalizing U.S. presence in the region.
Focusing on building relations and strengthening alliances with foreign navies, Michael Murphy conducted several military exchanges with ships from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), the Republic of Korea (ROK) navy and the French navy.
While operating in waters near the Korean Peninsula, Michael Murphy participated in Foal Eagle 2015, an annual defense-oriented training exercise with the ROK navy designed to increase readiness and maintain stability in the Korean Peninsula as well as promote ROK-U.S. interoperability.
One of the more memorable events of Michael Murphy's maiden deployment was the successful execution of Multi-Sail 2015, a multi-day training exercise near Guam involving several U.S. 7th Fleet assets and special operations forces (SOF) working alongside several JMSDF ships.
While embarked onboard Michael Murphy, SOF combined efforts with the crew to conduct advanced maritime interdiction operations and visit, board, search and seizure training to exercise the dynamic and far-reaching capabilities of U.S. 7th Fleet and SOF assets and operations.
In addition to underway operations, Michael Murphy made many port calls to foreign countries and cities, including Malaysia, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong. While visiting these ports, Sailors enjoyed local attractions and activities through Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) sponsored tours and events. Some of the more popular tours included white water rafting and elephant riding in Thailand, hiking Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia, trips to Disneyland and Macau while in Hong Kong, a ride on the Singapore flyer and visit to the night zoo in Singapore, and trips to Nagasaki while in Japan.
"Hitting a new port can be overwhelming because of all the places to see and activities to do. It's nice to know MWR already has tours filled with great places to visit, so I can get the most out of my liberty," said Fire Controlman 2nd Class Jonathan Carrillo. "Some of my best memories from deployment were from tours that provided an easy way to experience the local culture," he said.
Many Sailors also volunteered to participate in community relations (COMREL) projects coordinated prior to each port visit between the ship and the host country. Sailors cleaned a local beach in Malaysia, painted and landscaped for two local orphanages in Thailand, played sports with children at St. George's Girls home, and prepared meals at a soup kitchen in Singapore. They also visited with residents of the Korean Rehabilitation Center in South Korea and Po Leung Kuk Wong Chuk Hang home for the elderly in Hong Kong.
"For me, coordinating and participating in the COMRELs was a way to help project a positive image for our Navy and our country," said Chief Fire Controlman Ryan York, Michael Murphy's community relations coordinator. "The best part of it was seeing all the smiling faces and appreciation from those that we interacted with and helped throughout the deployment," York said.
Michael Murphy is named for Lt. (SEAL) Michael P. Murphy, a New York native who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during Operation Red Wing in Afghanistan in 2005. Murphy was the first person to be awarded the medal for actions in Afghanistan, and the first member of the U.S. Navy to receive the award since the Vietnam War.
Homeported at JBPHH, Hawaii, Michael Murphy is a multi-mission ship with anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare surface combatants capabilities; designed to operate independently or with an associated strike group.