SAN DIEGO - “Moored! Shift Colors!” These words are commonplace among any command in the Navy. They are a signal to the crew that the ship has been made fast to the pier and that once again they have returned to solid ground.
However, on April 17, these same words amplified their meaning as it signaled the end to a seven-month deployment for USS Cowpens (CG 63).
For someone who has never been apart of a ship’s homecoming, the feeling is electric. New fathers meet their children for the first time, parents greet their sons and daughters with a sense of pride that can only be expressed in tears and embrace, and the crew is allowed to finally take a breath, reflect on their accomplishments, and return to normalcy.
The “Wild Bull,” an affectionate name given to Cowpens’ Commanding Officer Capt. Gregory Gombert, granted the crew a special 96-hour liberty following their return in order for the crew to enjoy their first weekend back and spend time with loved ones.
“It’s great to be back,” said Gombert. “Seven months is long time to be away from home but this crew and our families rallied and everyone performed superbly. I love command and I love my crew.”
During the deployment, Cowpens and her crew traveled more than 47,000 miles while conducting multiple joint exercises supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
“It is evident that Cowpens is the first and finest ship in the Pacific fleet,” said Lt. j.g. Cassel, Cowpens’ training officer. “It has been an honor to serve alongside such an accomplished crew and be a part of such an awesome experience.”
Now, as the weekend is over, Cowpens and her crew have returned to work. Over the next few months, her crew will perform tirelessly to keep their ship in top shape while balancing time with family, and enjoying their lives back in homeport before her next operational commitment of RIMPAC 2014.