Yesterday I paid a surprise visit to the USS PONCE, a tough-as-nails ship with an even tougher crew. PONCE is one of our Navy’s oldest active ships (commissioned in 1971) and had actually begun decommissioning preps before being recalled last year for one more deployment.
She got underway in August (of last year) and recently completed her 9-month deployment to the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean where she conducted maritime and theater security operations, which included no-notice tasking to support Operation ODYSSEY DAWN (Libya Ops).
There was certainly no shortage of challenges on this deployment (we talked about them here and here), but her crew pulled together as a team, stayed focused on their mission and executed without missing a beat.
With her final deployment in the history books, the “Proud Lion” will now (once again) begin her final journey to decommissioning. And while her last deployment was no “walk in the park,” I’m quite certain there could not have been a finer crew to get the job done, bring her home and carry on the proud legacy of all those who have served on PONCE before them.
I’m very glad I had the chance to walk this ship with the CO, get into the spaces with the CHENG and meet some really great “get ‘er done” Sailors.