Military News: Two from Berks return from overseas deployment

Jan. 1—The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton has returned to its home port in North Charleston, S.C., following a 94-day deployment in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa area of operations.

Hamilton's crew, which included two people from Berks County, operated in support of the U.S. Sixth Fleet and helped defend U.S., allied and partner interests.

Capt. Matthew Brown, the commanding officer, is a 1991 Wilson High School graduate who entered the Coast Guard in 1997. Ensign Kyra Hartman, a 2018 Gov. Mifflin High School graduate and 2022 Coast Guard Academy graduate, is a deck watch officer on the Hamilton.

Hamilton began its deployment with a transatlantic voyage to Rota, Spain, and met with operational commanders from U.S. Sixth Fleet. The cutter then transited through the English Channel and Danish Straits, two vitally significant waterways that provide safe passage for 15% of the world's shipping.

In the Baltic Sea region, Hamilton conducted at-sea exchanges with naval, coast guard and border guard forces of Baltic Sea allies and partners, including Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

As the first U.S. military vessel to visit Turku, Finland, in more than a decade, Hamilton hosted public tours of the cutter and held a reception for U.S. and Finnish government and military leaders. Hamilton is the first U.S. Coast Guard cutter to visit Riga, Latvia, in more than 20 years.

"It was an honor to grow the relationship between the United States and our Baltic Sea allies and partners during engagements both at sea and in port," Brown said. "By working side by side with our current and future NATO allies, we learned just how much we have in common, and we were left with a stronger appreciation for our shared values. I could not be more proud of this crew's hard work and sacrifice while serving as the United States' representatives in the Baltic."