NORFOLK, Va. - There was a party on the pier at Naval Station Norfolk thismorning. A welcome home celebration for the sailors of the guidedmissile destroyer USS James E. Williams.
For six months, the ship and its crew stretched their sea legsfrom the eastern shores of Africa to the Mediterranean Sea. Themission was part counter-piracy and security, and part goodwillaccording to Commanding Officer Commander Paul Marquis.
"We spent three months in the Red Sea doing counter smugglingoperations, boarding dhows and saying hello to fishermen," hesaid.
For the Manuel family, the deployment marks their fifth andfinal.
"It's kinda bittersweet. I've been in the Navy 18-and-a-halfyears. [I'm] looking forward to shore duty and retirement andspending time with my kids and my wife," says ET1 Kevin Manuel.
After months at sea, that's something all these sailors canagree with.
The ship left Norfolk on April 20th to conduct operations in the5th and 6th Fleet area of operations, including the MediterraneanSea and Persian Gulf regions.
The USS James E. Williams has a crew of about 275 sailors.
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