Preble Legacy: Sustained Forward Presence

PEARL HARBOR: The guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88) prepares to moor at its new homeport at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Preble replaced the guided-missile frigate Reuben James (FFG 57), which was decommissioned July 18, 2013. By Rear Adm. Brian Fort
Commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific

USS Preble (DDG 88) is one of our Hawaii-based warships now forward deployed to the Indo-Pacific. Like our other surface warships homeported in Pearl Harbor, Sailors aboard Preble demonstrate integrity, accountability, initiative and toughness.

On this current deployment Preble Sailors are operating in the U.S. 5th Fleet and 7th Fleet areas of operation as part of the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Carrier Strike Group 9. While in the 5th Fleet area of responsibility, Preble Sailors made international headlines when they responded and offered mariner aid to a stranded Iranian fishing vessel in December.

Preble is building on our Navy’s strong record of community outreach and cooperation in every port they visit, making connections and strengthening a network of partners. Every day, Sailors aboard Preble are carrying out their mission to maintain maritime security, build partnerships and provide deterrence as part of our Navy’s sustained forward presence. PEARL HARBOR (Aug. 14, 2014) Traditional Hawaiian dancers greet the crew of the guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88) upon the ship’s arrival at its new homeport at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Preble replaced the guided-missile frigate USS Reuben James (FFG 57), which was decommissioned July 18, 2013. Preble will serve as a middle Pacific surface combatant to aid and reinforce maritime operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Johans Chavarro/Released) Our Navy’s forward presence began with the ship’s namesake, Commodore Edward Preble (1761-1807), a veteran of the Revolutionary War, hero of Tripoli and mentor of a generation of young protégés known as “Preble’s Boys.”

President Thomas Jefferson saw the need for a stronger Navy at the end of the 18th century. The fledgling United States relied on commerce, much of it coming from the center of the maritime universe back then: the Mediterranean Sea. Commerce, however, was severely threatened.

Pirates – Barbary corsairs headquartered in Tripoli, North Africa – terrorized and captured 35 American ships and 700 sailors between 1784 and 1815.

Jefferson refused to be intimidated by threats or to be held hostage by terrorists. As soon as he was inaugurated as our nation’s third president and commander-in-chief, Jefferson ordered four warships, led by Commodore Preble aboard USS Constitution, to sail against Tripoli.

Preble’s Sailors and Marines blockaded Tripoli Harbor and then attacked their enemy with cannons, muskets, pistols, pikes, cutlasses and even tomahawks. After bitter and fiery warfare, Sailors and Marines prevailed. Pirate attacks on American and European commerce were curtailed. Our young Navy Department established its reputation as an expeditionary presence, willing to use diplomacy and force, ready to fight for freedom.

Preble and his protégés – Stephen Decatur, Charles Stewart, Isaac Hull, William and Joseph Bainbridge, David Porter, Isaac Chauncey and others – demonstrated tough, bold and relentless warfighting. […]