Aircraft carrier strike group, with 6,000 sailors and Marines, makes Hawaii port call
By WILLIAM COLE | The Honolulu Star-Advertiser (Tribune News Service) | Published: April 28, 2018
The destroyer USS Preble is back home in Pearl Harbor and thousands of sailors and Marines are on the town with the arrival today of an aircraft carrier strike group and big amphibious assault ship.
Aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and two other support ships are making a final port call in Hawaii after deploying to the Western Pacific and Middle East, the Navy said. The carrier left San Diego on Oct. 6. The overall strike group had 6,000 sailors and Marines.
The amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard also stopped at Pearl Harbor as part of its transit from Sasebo, Japan, to San Diego, which will be its new home port.
Preble left Hawaii on Oct. 16, operated with the Theodore Roosevelt strike group, and participated in a three-carrier strike force exercise with the Roosevelt, USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan in the Sea of Japan in a show of force against North Korea.
On Dec. 16 about 60 miles off the coast of Iran, the Preble rendered aid to a stranded Iranian fishing vessel, the Navy said. Distressed mariners were seen waving their hands at a Sea Hawk helicopter from the Preble. The Navy said the seas were too rough to allow for a safe boarding, but the Preble stayed with the stricken ship until a local rescue ship arrived.
“Our crew instantly shifted from underway operations to mariner assistance, and it was great to see that kind of readiness in action,” Cmdr. Allen Maxwell Jr., the Preble’s commander, said afterward.
Preble made port visits in Guam, Bahrain, Dubai, Singapore and the Philippines, the Navy said.
About 70 aircraft with the Theodore Roosevelt flew 1,164 combat sorties in support of Operations Inherent Resolve and Freedom’s Sentinel.
Amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard was deployed to Japan for six years. The USS Wasp, which can launch the Marine Corps’ F-35B Joint Strike Fighter, replaced the Bonhomme Richard in Japan.
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Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Nathan Orr assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88) meets daughter for the first time upon return to homeport at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii after a successful seven-month deployment to the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility.
SOMERS STEELMAN/U.S. NAVY PHOTO