NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Roughly 300 sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS McFaul deployed from Naval Station Norfolk on Friday.
U.S. Navy officials said the McFaul is heading out on a regularly scheduled deployment to “conduct maritime security operations” for the next 7 months.
“We’re going to work with coalition partners, do theater security cooperation and various training events and exercises with some of our partners,” explained Commanding Officer Janet Days.
CDR Days says this will be her sixth deployment, but this time comes with a big change.
“It’s the first one as commanding officer of a warship, a tremendous amount of responsibility the Navy has placed in me but I’m ready for the challenge,” CDR Days smiled.
While she’s got a lot of experience, many sailors aboard the ship are just getting their feet wet.
“I have 34 sailors that are under the age of 21 so this is essentially their first job and first true commitment,” CDR Days stated.
Kathy Garcia says her son is one of those young sailors, with this marking his first deployment.
“I’m a wreck but I’m trying to hold it together with a smile for my baby,” Garcia said with a tear in her eye.
However, Commanding Officer Days says is advising families to rest easy, they are prepared and have all the support they need.
“I actually had a family member come up a mom and shake my hand and said ‘hey please take care of my son,’ I said absolutely he’s in good hands,” CDR Days assured.
Gallery: USS McFaul deploys from Norfolk
Officials said McFaul’s sailors are trained to conduct numerous tasks, incluing ballistic missile defense.
“The Silent Warriors of McFaul are strong, focused, resilient and self-sufficient; which is critical as we sail independently,” Cmdr. Janet Days, McFaul’s commanding officer, said in a statement.
The McFaul was commissioned in 1998 as the 24th destroyer in the Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class. The ship is named after Chief Petty Officer Donald McFaul, a Navy SEAL who died in 1989 during the U.S. invasion of Panama.
It was the first ship in the Navy named after a chief petty officer.