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USS Lake Erie to deploy, submarine Houston returns

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The USS Lake Erie will leave Hawaii this week on its last deployment while being based at Pearl Harbor.

The Navy says the guided-missile cruiser is scheduled to depart for the western Pacific on Tuesday. The Navy says the ship’s sailors will work with partner nations to promote peace and security and provide deterrence.

When it returns, the Lake Erie is expected to head to San Diego, where it will replace the John Paul Jones as a rotational ballistic missile defense warship.

The USS Lake Erie is named in commemoration of the Battle of Lake Erie fought in 1815.

Meanwhile, in a Valentine’s Day homecoming, the submarine USS Houston returned to Pearl Harbor on Friday from a seven-month deployment to the western Pacific.

“He’s the best Valentine’s gift ever!” exclaimed Eileen Ward, wife of Lt. j.g. Coleman Ward. “I’m overwhelmed, elated and excited! We’re expecting our first child, and I’m just so excited to have him home so we can move forward and enjoy Hawaii together as a family again.”

The Los Angeles-class, nuclear-powered sub conducted a variety of operations and theater security exercises throughout the deployment. In particular, the Houston strengthened relationships with South Korea through exercises with the submarine Choi Moo Sun and the USS George Washington carrier strike group.

One sailor had an extra special homecoming waiting for him. 

Petty Officer 1st Class Fred Leonard, a sonar technician, arrived to meet his new daughter, born Sept. 3, while the sub was underway.

“I’ve been looking forward to holding my daughter for five months,” he said. “It’s great that it’s finally a reality.”

The Houston played its sister ship USS Dallas in the 1989 movie “The Hunt for Red October.”

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