SAN DIEGO – The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS O’Kane (DDG 77) returned home to Naval Base San Diego Feb. 6, completing an eight-month independent deployment to the 5th and U.S. 7th Fleets, U.S. 3rd Fleet Public Affairs said.
O’Kane deployed in June 2021 in support of domestic tasks, serving as the ballistic missile defense commander for Carrier Strike Group 1 while operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet and the primary ballistic missile defense asset during the US 5th Fleet.
Sailors aboard USS O’Kane lead the way by demonstrating resilience and dedication to support the mission and each other,” said Cmdr. Michelle R. Fontenot, commander of O’Kane. “As a freelance deployer serving in both the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleets, O’Kane took on every mission with success.”
While operating in the U.S. 5th Fleet, O’Kane escorted several high-value units through 30 strait transits, including the Strait of Hormuz, Bab el-Mandeb, and the Suez Canal. O’Kane has participated in several high-end exercises such as maritime security operations in support of the International Maritime Security Coalition, working with seven partner nations for security and the free flow of commerce.
O’Kane also participated in Indigo Defender, a bilateral maritime exercise between Saudi Arabian naval forces and US Naval Forces Central Command. Additionally, O’Kane conducted maritime interdiction operations; advice, search and seizure operations; and has operated alongside international navies, including the Egyptian Naval Force, Royal Saudi Navy and Indian Navy.
Following Israel’s transition from the US European Command theater to the US Central Command area of responsibility in September, O’Kane sailors were able to enjoy a visit to Haifa, further strengthening the US partnership with Israel.
O’Kane served as a key facilitator in a highly successful seizure of illicit cargo from a stateless fishing vessel during a flag check boarding under customary international law in the North Arabian Sea on December 20. O’Kane worked alongside the Cyclone-class coastal patrol vessels USS Tempest (PC 2), USS Typhoon (PC 5) and the U.S. Coast Guard’s Forward Interdiction Team to seize 1,400 AK-47s and 226,000 cartridges.
Upon completion of missions in the U.S. 5th Fleet, O’Kane entered the U.S. 7th Fleet and took part in expeditionary strike force operations with the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) and the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). The American force of more than nine ships conducted underway replenishments, including vertical and connected replenishments. O’Kane executed anti-submarine warfare operations while escorting high-value assets across the South China Sea.
“O’Kane’s tireless commitment and unparalleled performance are beyond reproach. I’m very proud of every O’Kane sailor and what we’ve accomplished as a team,” Fontenot said. “O’Kane sailors represent the fighting spirit of the Navy and it is an honor to serve them as a commander.”