NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - The Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story basedamphibious dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) returnedhome on Saturday from a five and a half month deployment.
The Gunston Hall left Hampton Roads on Jan. 15 as the flagshipfor Africa Partnership Station (APS) West, 2010. Right after itsdeparture, that mission was placed on hold and the ship was orderedto Haiti to take part in earthquake relief efforts.
While in Haiti, the crew, along with the embarked internationalAPS West staff, worked with the U.S. and international militariesand relief organizations to stabilize conditions at Killick CoastGuard Base.
When her role in Haiti was complete, Gunston Hall began heroriginal mission of Africa Partnership Station West, 2010. APS Westis an international initiative developed by Naval Forces Europe andNaval Forces Africa that aims to improve maritime safety andsecurity in West and Central Africa.
After completing Africa Partnership Station 2010, Gunston Hallserved as the flagship for Phoenix Express. The ship hosted severalmedical and maritime interception operations teams from Tunisia,Senegal, Algeria, Nigeria and Turkey. Other national participantsin the exercise were Spain, Greece, Italy, and Morocco. Theexercise focused on building increased multi-national cooperationand training to combat illegal activity at sea.
Gunston Hall rounded out the deployment by participating inBaltic Operations 2010 (BALTOPS). BALTOPS is an exercise designedto help strengthen regional partnerships and promote maritimesafety and security in the Baltic Sea. There she transportedamphibious craft for an amphibious landing off the coast ofEstonia, in a historic joint U.S. and Estonian Marine Corps landingin the country.
Gunston Hall is the fourth ship of the LSD 41 (Whidbey Island)class. Gunston Hall's mission is to transport U.S. Marines withtheir combat equipment to designated areas around the world, andthen to launch and support assault landing craft and helicoptersduring amphibious operations against hostile shores.
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Hampton Roads Transit customers could see higher fares to ride the bus, light rail and ferry.
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