Basin American Legion Post 29 member Gene Wilenius welcomed home the USS Bunker Hill CG-52 on May 7, 2018. The Bunker Hill is a guided missile cruiser that was returning from a seven-month deployment with the USS Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group 9. Wilenius’s grandson Jeff Redland was an ensign onboard the Bunker Hill.
While deployed, Strike Group 9 and carriers USS Ronald Reagan and USS Nimitz joined in a rare three carrier exercise. The group also performed exercises with the navies of South Korea, Japan and Australia.
The US 5th and 7th Fleet Areas of Operation joined by the Roosevelt conducted exercises in international waters and the Sea of Japan. Redland said it was quite a sight to see three Strike Groups work together, and it took quite a bit of maneuvering with that many ships.
When the Bunker Hill came into port in San Diego, Redland escorted Wilenius, grandmother Elizabeth Wilenius, mother Holly Redland and brother and sister-in-law, Eric and Sydney Redland, aboard the ship.
The ship’s commander, Captain Cahill, addressed the family about Redland’s duties on the ship. Ensign Redland then took an oath and was promoted to Lieutenant JG (Junior Grade). His grandfather and brother had the honor of pinning the new bars on his shoulders.