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The Pioneer (MCM 9) is the 9th Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship and the second United States ship to bear that name. The keel was laid down on June 5, 1989, at Peterson Builders in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. She was christened and launched on August 25, 1990. Mrs. Sally McGuire Tobin, the wife of Rear Adm. Byron E. Tobin, served as sponsor of the ship. USS Pioneer was commissioned on December 7, 1992, at Ingleside, Texas. Lt. Cmdr. Jerald T. Balance is the first commanding officer.

In January 1993, the Pioneer began an intense shakedown year filled with numerous evaluations, training periods, exercises, and inspections. These included the first major mine warfare exercise in the western Gulf of Mexico, two visits to the Magnetic Silencing Facility in Charleston, S.C., port visits to Port Canaveral and Port Everglades, Florida, an Operational Propulsion Plant Examination (OPPE), Combat Systems Ship's Qualification Trials (CSSQT) in Panama City Op. Area, mine sweeping performance trials, Final Contract Trials (FCT), and a Logistic Management Assessment. For the remainder of 1993 and throughout 1994, MCM 9 continued its aggressive training cycle and conducted post-shakedown maintenance, repairs, and pre-deployment exercises.

February 24, 1995 USS Pioneer departed Naval Station Ingleside for a scheduled six-month deployment in the U.S. 6th Fleet Area of Responsibility (AoR). Inport Naval Annex, Bermuda, from March 21-23.

April 10, The Pioneer pulled into Portsmouth, England, for an eight-day upkeep.

During deployment, the mine countermeasures ship participated in exercise Blue Harrier '95 and made port calls to Aarhus, Denmark; Kiel, Germany; St. Petersburg, Russia; Azores, La Spezia, Italy; Cartagena, Spain; Palma de Mallorca, Spain, and Benidorm, Spain.

November 4, Lt. Cmdr. Jonathan J. Olson relieved Lt. Cmdr. William R. Edwards as CO of the Pioneer.

In January 1996, USS Pioneer joined USS Warrior (MCM 10), USS Gladiator (MCM 11) and USS Chief (MCM 14) as a training ship for the Mine Force's Rotational Crews. For the next four years, the Navy's eight MCM Rotational Crews conducted their pre-deployment training in these Ingleside-based ships before completing a six-month Arabian Gulf deployment aboard the USS Ardent (MCM 12) or USS Dextrous (MCM 13). But by early 2000, the U.S. Navy no longer manned its forward-deployed MCM ships with rotational crews, and on January 20, 2000, the MCM Rotational Crew Bravo, commanded by Lt. Cmdr. William C. Harris, became the permanent crew of the Pioneer.

In 2000, MCM 9 completed a successful CART II and N43 visit and made its way to Panama City, Florida for a Squadron 1 exercise. En route to this exercise, Lt. Cmdr. Samuel Norton relieved Lt. Cmdr. Harris as the 14th CO of Pioneer. The crew remained focussed and performed admirably during the MIW exercise. Following a brief port visit to Tampa, Florida, the ship returned to Ingleside to complete preparations for GOMEX off the coast of Corpus Christi, Texas.

September 12, USS Pioneer departed homeport for a three-month East Coast deployment, as part of the Mine Warfare Readiness Group (MIWRG) 2.

September 14, The Pioneer arrived in Beaumont, Texas, for a five-day port visit. Participated in a multi-national exercise, off the coast of North Carolina, Unified Spirit 2000 and JTFEX 00-1 from Oct. 12-22; Port call at NAB Little Creek, Va., in late November and brief stop in Key West, Fla., in early December en route to Mobile, Alabama the last port visit before returning to Ingleside on Dec. 15.

October 17, 2002 USS Pioneer, along with USS Champion (MCM 4), departed Naval Station Ingleside for a scheduled six-month eastern Pacific deployment.

December 10, MCM 9 departed Naval Base San Diego after a routine port call.

October 30, 2003 Lt. Cmdr. Lance C. Esswein relieved Lt. Cmdr. Jeffrey W. James as commanding officer of Pioneer.

September 21, 2005 The Pioneer moored in a modified "heavy nest" moor of five MCM ships at Ingleside Turning Basin-Nest, in preparation for Hurricane Catrina.

September 29, USS Pioneer is currently underway as part of Joint Task Force Katrina and will conduct sonar sweeps and maritime safety checks of the shipping lanes off the coast of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi.

May 14, 2007 The Pioneer recently entered the dry-dock at Gulf Copper shipyard in Aransas Pass, Texas, for a Drydocking Planned Maintenance Availability (DPMA).

May 22, 2009 USS Pioneer arrived in its new homeport of Naval Base San Diego in San Diego, Calif., after a 32-day transit from Ingleside, Texas, in accordance with the Defense Base Relocation and Closure Commission. The mine countermeasures ship participated in Navy search efforts, off the coast of southern California and Mexico, for the HH-60 Seahawk helicopter that went down on May 19.

June 29, 2010 USS Pioneer, commanded by Lt. Cmdr. Spencer P. Austin, pulled into Pearl Harbor for a routine port call before participating in at-sea phase of exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2010; Departed Hawaii on July 29.

June 23, 2012 USS Pioneer arrived in Manama, Bahrain, aboard the M/V Tern, for a seven-month deployment with rotational crews from San Diego to provide continuous manning.

August 29, The Pioneer is currently participating in a mine countermeasure exercise in the Arabian Gulf, with the USS Sentry (MCM 3), USS Devastator (MCM 6), USS Dextrous (MCM 13) and USS Ponce (AFSB(I) 15).

March 2, 2013 USS Pioneer departed Khalifa Bin Salman Port in Hidd, Bahrain, after being loaded aboard the Military Sealift Command (MSC)-chartered heavy lift ship Super Servant III on Feb. 24, to be transported back to San Diego; Inport Sasebo, Japan, from March 28- April 8.

May 5, USS Pioneer returned to San Diego after an 11-month deployment in the U.S. 5th Fleet AoR.

May 31, 2014 USS Pioneer, commanded by Lt. Cmdr. Adam C. Soukup (Exultant Crew), departed San Diego, after recently being loaded aboard the Military Sealift Command (MSC)-chartered heavy lift ship M/V Eide Transporter, to be transported to their new homeport of Sasebo, Japan; Arrived in Yokosuka, Japan, on June 26; M/V Eide Transporter moored at Berth 7, India Basin in Fleet Activities Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, on June 30.

July 3, USS Pioneer was offloaded from heavy lift ship, during a float on/float off (FLO/FLO) operation, and moored at Berth 1, India Basin for the first time.

July ?, Lt. Cmdr. Todd B. Penrod assumed command of the MCM 9 during an exchange of command and crew ("hull swap") ceremony with the USS Avenger (MCM 1).

November 5, Lt. Cmdr. Bobby J. Rowden relieved Lt. Cmdr. Todd B. Penrod as CO of the Pioneer during a change-of-command ceremony on board the ship at Fleet Activities Sasebo.

September 5, 2015 USS Pioneer, along with the USS Warrior (MCM 10), departed Fleet Activities Sasebo for a nine-day underway.

February 4, 2016 MCM 9 returned to homeport after a three-day underway for routine training.

February 19, Lt. Cmdr. Scott A. Jones relieved Lt. Cmdr. Bobby J. Rowden as CO of the Pioneer during a change-of-command ceremony on board the ship at Berth 8, India Basin.

June 24, USS Pioneer moored at Berth 9, Fleet Activities Sasebo after a 20-day underway for routine training; Underway again on Aug. 23.

August 26, The Pioneer moored at Berth 5, Busan Naval Base for a scheduled port visit to the Republic of Korea; Returned home on Sept. 2; Underway for local operations from Sept. 13-15 and Sept. 26-28.