USS Cape St. George deploys for maritime exercises - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

USS Cape St. George deploys for maritime exercises

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The guided-missile cruiser USS Cape St. George departed San Diego Monday for deployment to the Western Pacific and Indian oceans.

The vessel's 350 officers and sailors will take part in a biennial major naval exercise known as RIMPAC -- for Rim of the Pacific -- and conduct missile defense and maritime security operations, according to the Navy.

The 24th multinational maritime exercise in the series will take place from June 26 to Aug. 1 in and around the Hawaiian Islands.

The amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu is scheduled to leave San Diego on Tuesday for RIMPAC and a Western Pacific deployment.

More than 25,000 personnel from 23 nations in 48 surface ships, six submarines and more than 200 aircraft are set to participate in this year's RIMPAC exercise, according to the Navy. Navy officials said the participating nations would use a wide range of capabilities pertaining to disaster relief, maritime security and naval combat.

"The crew has trained and worked extremely hard to get the ship ready for deployment," said Capt. Mike Doran, the commanding officer. "Cape's officers and crew are enthusiastic about representing our country and the Navy at RIMPAC, and then operating in the U.S. Seventh Fleet (region)."

Two detachments from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron Seven Eight based at Naval Air Station North Island will embark with the 567-foot-long ship.

The Cape St. George last deployed two years ago, when it passed through the Strait of Hormuz into the Persian Gulf at a time when Iran was threatening to close the narrow shipping lane during tensions over that nation's nuclear program. The cruiser circumnavigated the globe during that deployment.

The Cape St. George is named for a World War II battle on the night before Thanksgiving 1943 in which U.S. Navy destroyers led by Capt. Arleigh Burke sank three Japanese destroyers that were evacuating troops from the Solomon Islands, and heavily damaged a fourth enemy vessel.

Burke later became chief of naval operations, and a current class of U.S. destroyers bears his name.

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