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Stethem Returns to Japan after Seven-Month Patrol

By Lt. j.g. Kyle Wagner | | Nov. 21, 2016

YOKOSUKA, Japan -- Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) returned to Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY), Japan, Nov. 17.

Stethem returned after a seven-month patrol supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

While deployed, the ship visited eight different countries, participated in nine military exercises, conducted a regular patrol in the South China Sea, served as part of the U.S. Navy's Great Green Fleet initiative, and supported Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 5.

"The entire crew performed remarkably over the last seven months," said Cmdr. Doug Pegher, Stethem's commanding officer. "They represent the best our nation has to offer. We are also extremely grateful to our families and friends ashore who supported us while we were away."

Stethem operated with navies from Brunei, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Australia, Republic of Korea, and Japan.

While underway, Stethem patrolled the South China Sea and participated in several annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercises in the southeast Asia region. The maritime operations conducted by Stethem's crew provided presence in a region critical to U.S. national security and global prosperity.

As part of the secretary of the Navy's Great Green Fleet, an initiative to deploy energy efficient systems and use alternative energy in an operational environment, Stethem transited to Australia and hosted an energy conservation event with senior officials from the U.S. Navy and Royal Australian navy. Stethem's participation in the Great Green Fleet highlighted some of the Navy's energy conservation measures, such as the use of light-emitting diode (LED) lighting aboard the ship as part of their extended deployment.

During Valiant Shield 2016, a biennial, joint-field training exercise, Stethem fired three Standard Missiles 2 (SM-2s) and certified future surface warfighting tactics. The ship also supported CSG 5 during Invincible Spirit 2016, a bilateral U.S. and ROK exercise.

Stethem is named in honor of Steelworker 2nd Class Robert Dean Stethem, a Navy diver who in 1985 was killed by Hezbollah terrorists on hijacked TWA Flight 847.

Stethem is forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, and assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.