Navy Fireman Dakota D. Saunders, son of Teresa L. and John S. Saunders of Lometa, Texas, along with fellow sailors and Marines aboard USS Dubuque (LPD 8), Peleliu Expeditionary Strike Group (PELSEG), homeported in San Diego, Calif., recently returned from a six-month deployment to the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operation.
During the deployment, the PELSEG conducted maritime security operations, theater security cooperation, community relations projects, and participated with coalition nations in training exercises. The 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit participated in training exercises Eager Mace and Infinite Moonlight.
Additionally, the PELSEG rescued six mariners from a sinking vessel in the Strait of Balabac and thwarted a pirate attack on a civilian merchant vessel in the Gulf of Aden.
During a change-of-command ceremony, Capt. Bruce H. Lindsey, Dubuque’s commanding officer, turned command over to Capt. Thomas E. Nosenzo, previously executive officer aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72).
Dubuque made port visits to Phuket, Thailand; Manama, Bahrain; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Hong Kong, China and Guam.
MSO help develop security in the maritime environment, which promotes stability and global prosperity. These operations complement the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations and seek to disrupt violent extremists’ use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material. The PELESG is led by Amphibious Squadron (COMPHIBRON) 3 and includes the flag ship, USS Peleliu; amphibious ships USS Dubuque (LPD 8) and USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52); the guided-missile cruiser USS Cape St. George (CG 71); and the guided-missile destroyers USS Halsey (DDG 97) and USS Benfold (DDG 65) and embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
Saunders is a 2007 graduate of Lometa High School of Lometa, Texas and joined the Navy in July 2007.
For more information on USS Peleliu, go to http://www.dubuque .navy.mil/default.aspx and the PELSEG, go to http://www.navy.mil/local/lha5/.