NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - It was chilly Monday as sailors on board the USS Cole said theirgoodbyes. The ship left Naval Station Norfolk late afternoon tobegin a seven-month deployment.
Originally scheduled to leave Friday, the ship's departure wasdelayed by the weekend's severe weather, giving sailors extra timewith their families.
"It's an emotional roller coaster getting ready to deploy," saidthe Cole's Commanding Officer Edward Devinney on Sunday. "We weregetting ready for Friday and we found out late Thursday the weatherwas pretty bad."
"I think for the most part the crew is pretty happy with acouple more days at home, with the family and for the Super Bowlweekend," Devinney added.
The extra days gave one wife and her husband time with their 19day old baby girl.
"I don't like snow I'm not from here but I was thankful for it,"she said.
With the big game behind them, the crew can now focus on thetask at hand. They'll be spending the next seven months patrollingthe Mediterranean Sea and Persian Gulf.
"We all joined the Navy to serve our country," Devinney said."It's part of the Navy and it's part of what we do."
It's been almost 10 years since tragedy struck aboard the Colewhen 17 sailors were killed and dozens of others were injured asterrorists blew a hole in the side of the ship. The Cole was dockedoff the coast of Aden. The captain of the ship says there were somany heroes on that October day. Not only those who lost theirlives, but those who helped keep the Cole afloat. It's an honorcurrent Cole Sailors carry with them everywhere they go.
"I think Cole is a very visible symbol," Devinney added. "Whenwe are out doing our mission, it's an important statement to theworld that you can't hold us down."
Sailors say while they honor the past, they look forward towriting their own chapter in the history books.
"To be here it's history here and I'm on it to make history. I'mhappy to be here to serve on board the USS Cole," says YNC TabithaCalloway.
During this deployment, the Cole will not be attached to aspecific Battle Group, enabling the ship to respond to wherever itis needed.
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