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USS Bunker Hill, USS Russell Return To San Diego

USS Bunker Hill, assigned to the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group, and...

Photo by Specialist 3rd Class Nicholas V. Huynh / U.S. Navy

Above: USS Bunker Hill, assigned to the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group, and the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group participate in dual-carrier operations in the Philippine Sea on June 23, 2020.

The guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill and the guided-missile destroyer USS Russell returned to their home port of San Diego Wednesday after a deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in the Indian and Pacific oceans.

The ships are part of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group and departed on a deployment to the region on January 17, military officials said.

"While this deployment has been unlike many deployments of the past, the Bunker Hill team is excited to return home to San Diego after completing a very successful deployment," said Capt. Shea Thompson, commanding officer of Bunker Hill. "The crew executed a broad spectrum of missions over the last six months while serving as Air Defense Commander for Carrier Strike Group 9. During the course of our six-month deployment, we supported multiple freedom of navigation operations directly enhancing maritime security in the Indo-Pacific. I couldn't be more proud of this high-powered team."

Both Bunker Hill and Russell's primary mission was conducting maritime security operations while in the 7th Fleet in the Indo-Pacific region. Both ships also engaged in theater security cooperation engagements and multiple joint exercises with the U.S. Marine Corps and Air Force.

"The nature of our deployment has been unique by any measure," said Cmdr. Ryan Rogers, commanding officer of the Russell. "The crew exceeded all expectations and professionally executed all tasking during our mission in the Western Pacific, and I am extremely proud."

Bunker Hill and Russell participated in Expeditionary Strike Force operations in the Philippine Sea in March with the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and the USS America Expeditionary Strike Group.

Both Bunker Hill and Russell participated in dual carrier strike group operations in June.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic inhibited many scheduled port visits, both Bunker Hill and Russell were able to visit several "safe haven" ports. Bunker Hill made port visits in Saipan, Vietnam and Guam while Russell was able to visit Sasebo and Yokosuka in Japan, and Guam, the navy said.

Prior to the pandemic, sailors participated in community relations events and experienced local culture in Vietnam, Sasebo, and Saipan.

The USS Theodore Roosevelt will return to San Diego on Thursday morning.

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