The guided-missile destroyer USS James E. Williams (DDG 95) returned to its Naval Station Norfolk homeport Dec. 23, completing a seven-month deployment to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation.
The ship departed May 23, to support anti-submarine exercises and operations in the North and Norwegian sea
s, as well as maritime security operations in the Arabian Gulf. The ship and crew of more than 300 Sailors, assigned to Destroyer Squadron 22, also conducted presence operations and goodwill activities with partner nations.
"I am extremely proud of this crew," said Cmdr. Allen Siegrist, the ship's commanding officer. "These Sailors performed exceptionally well in a multitude of missions and across all theaters. Their superior performance during this seven-month deployment is a testament to their dedication to country and service. I am pleased that they can be home to celebrate the holidays with their family and friends!"
During the deployment, James E. Williams transited 50,779 nautical miles, made 15 port calls in 11 different countries, conducted 11 straits transits, hosted two receptions, completed seven international maritime security exercises and conducted a swim call in the Mediterranean Sea. Additionally, the crew participated in eight community relations events in five different countries.
Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 46, Detachment Three, "The Grandmasters," was embarked throughout the deployment. Utilizing two MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopters, the air crews logged 743 flight hours and conducted 461 landings, working with the ship to track some of the most sophisticated submarines in the world.
"This deployment was both amazing and difficult," said Fire Controlman 3rd Class Matthew Kennedy, from Atlanta. "I grew very close to my shipmates and I saw all kinds of amazing countries. But, it was far from easy. It was filled with long hours and hard work. In the end, I am proud of what we have done."
Named for the South Carolina-native and most highly decorated enlisted man in the history of the Navy
, James E. Williams is a multi-mission ship with anti-air, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare capabilities, designed to operate independently or with an associated strike group.