The Pearl Harbor-based guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Murphy will join the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson Strike Group on its current deployment to the western Pacific, the Navy announced last week.
More than 6,000 sailors assigned to the strike group left San Diego on Thursday and Friday.
The deployment marks the second time the Vinson Strike Group will operate throughout the Indo-Pacific region under command and control of the 3rd Fleet. The strike group became the first in recent history to demonstrate the command and control construct called 3rd Fleet Forward when units completed a six-month deployment last year.
Ships deploying from 3rd Fleet to the western Pacific traditionally shift to 7th Fleet after crossing the international date line. The 3rd Fleet Forward program expands the 3rd Fleet's control of ships and aircraft across the western Pacific and beyond the international date line to India, enabling the U.S. 3rd and 7th fleets to operate jointly across a broad range of missions.
"I look forward to the strike group further demonstrating 3rd Fleet's evolving operational role across the Indo-Pacific region," said Rear Adm. John Fuller, the strike group commander, in a statement. "We are trained and ready to execute our mission."
The strike group includes Carrier Air Wing 2, the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain and guided-missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer. They will pick up the Murphy en route.
Meanwhile, the Pearl-based, guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper entered the 7th Fleet area of operations on Thursday on an independent deployment. The Hopper will conduct missions with regional allies.
Hopper and Michael Murphy, both Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, are multimission ships with anti-air, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare capabilities. They have vertical launch tubes that can accommodate SM-2 missiles, Tomahawk cruise missiles and anti-submarine rockets; torpedo tubes; a Phalanx close-in weapons system; and two Seahawk helicopters.
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