USS Carney Sailors Decorated for Red Sea Actions, Maersk Pausing Shipping in Region

January 2, 2024 6:18 PM
Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. 5th Fleet, presents a combat medal to a sailor assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG-64) while the ship was in Bahrain, Jan. 2, 2023. US Navy Photo

Sailors serving aboard guided-missile destroyer USS Carney’s (DDG-64) were recognized for their actions in downing Houthi drones and missiles in October and December, Navy officials acknowledged on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Naval Forces Central Command commander Vice Adm. Brad Cooper awarded two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, which included one for Carney commanding officer Cmdr. Jeremy Robertson, and three Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals. Cooper also awarded the Combat Action Ribbon to Carney’s sailors.

The awards come for the crew’s actions on Dec. 16, when Carney shot down 14 Houthi-launched unmanned aerial vehicles in the Red Sea, according to the post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

This is the second award presented to members of Carney’s crew for actions in the Red Sea. For Carney’s actions on Oct. 19, when the crew used SM-2s to shoot down three land attack missiles and several drones fired from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen, 21 crew members received awards. Robertson received the Bronze Star Medal, a Navy spokesperson told USNI News.

“On Oct. 19, 2023, the Carney crew executed critical air and missile defense duties in the Red Sea, ensuring that the Combined Forces Air Component Commander could effectively deter regional actors from horizontally escalating the crisis in the Levant. The team defended the ship and their Shipmates from a complex air attack, manifested in the form of multiple hostile air threats traversing the Red Sea, spanning a three-hour interception engagement,” a Navy spokesperson told USNI News in a statement on Tuesday.

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG-64) defeats a combination of Houthi missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles in the Red Sea, Oct. 19, 2023. US Navy Photo

While the awards were combat decorations, the Pentagon has been ambiguous as to whether the downed missiles and attack drones were specifically targeting U.S. warships.

The awards were presented during a Dec. 11 visit by U.S. Central Command commander Army Gen. Michael Kurilla, who presented the awards along with more than 1,000 pounds of barbecue airlifted to the destroyer via MH-60.

U.S. ships in the Red Sea, including Carney, have continued to shoot down a number of Houthi-launched attack missiles and drones in the Red Sea, as tensions have flared up in the Middle Eastern body of water while Houthi forces attack commercial ships that they say are tied to Israel, or heading to or from the country. Houthi spokesperson Yahya Sare’e has taken to X multiple times to say that the Houthi attacks are in support of Palestine and the people of Gaza.

Shipping company Maersk is once again pausing all shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, the company announced Tuesday following a New Year’s Eve Houthi attack on MV Maersk Hangzhou. Helicopters from USS Gravely (DDG-107) and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) responded to the ship’s distress call and were fired upon by Houthi forces. The helicopters returned fire with Hellfire missiles, killing 10 Houthis, USNI News reported.

Other shipping companies, including Hapag-Lloyd, have also announced pauses or rerouting due to Houthi attacks on commercial ships. Maersk had resumed shipping in the Red Sea after a temporary pause before the Dec. 31 attack.

On Tuesday, the U.K. Maritime Trade Operations reported three explosions near a merchant ship north of the Bab el Mandeb off the coast of Assab, Eritrea.



Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio is a reporter with USNI News. She has a master’s degree in science journalism and has covered local courts, crime, health, military affairs and the Naval Academy.
Follow @hmongilio

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