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USS Fort McHenry Returns to Mayport

USS Fort McHenry Returns to Mayport

Story by CPO Peter Lawlor on 07/21/2019

MAYPORT, Florida More than 300 Sailors assigned to the Whidbey Island-class amphibious dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) embraced their friends and families upon returning to Naval Station Mayport after completing a seven-month deployment as part of the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group, July 18.
While deployed to the Europe, Africa and the Middle East area of operations, Fort McHenry, along with embarked Marines from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), conducted maritime security operations and provided a forward naval presence in these critical regions.
“The Sailors and Marines from Fort McHenry and the 22nd MEU displayed unmatched professionalism over the course of a seven month deployment,” said Cmdr. Steve Schmidt, commanding officer of Fort McHenry. “The crew never let long days and unexpected challenges derail them from accomplishing our mission. I could not be more proud to have commanded the men and women of Fort McHenry as part of the Kearsarge ARG/22nd MEU team.”
The deployment allowed Fort McHenry Sailors to participate in various events that would not have otherwise been possible. The crew performed a burial at sea, a passing exercise (PASSEX) with Egyptian navy ships, and conducted more than 15 strait transits while deployed.
Fort McHenry capped off their deployment by participating in exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2019. BALTOPS is the premiere maritime-focused exercise in the Baltic region.
“The training we were able to accomplish during our deployment, and specifically BALTOPS, will prove important to maintaining our readiness,” said Lt. Greg Bryant, training officer aboard Fort McHenry. “I am proud of the way our crew handled every obstacle and challenge we faced during our seven months out to sea.”
Fort McHenry visited ports in a number of countries, including Romania, United Arab Emirates, Germany and Latvia. For much of the crew, the opportunity to visit these countries was a dream come true.
“I’m from a small town in upstate New York,” said Seaman Lashawnte Prince. “When I go back home, I’ll be able to tell people I’ve been to places like Dubai, Kiel (Germany) and Constanta. I’ve experienced places and cultures I never thought possible. Those experiences made all the hard work we put in during deployment worth it.”
Returning home means the crew will be able to take some time off for much needed rest and relaxation before starting the next chapter.
For more information on Fort McHenry, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/ussfortmchenry43/

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