PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- The guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) departed Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on Oct. 20 for an independent deployment to the Western Pacific Ocean.
The ship and crew of more than 300 Sailors, assigned to Destroyer Squadron Three One (DESRON 31), are scheduled to conduct goodwill activities with partner nations along with various presence operations such as Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI) during the ship's first operational forward deployment.
"USS Michael Murphy's deployment to the Western Pacific is another example of our important role in the rebalance to Asia-Pacific and our commitment to the nation's Maritime Strategy anywhere in the world," said Rear Adm. Rick Williams, commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific. "I am confident in the capabilities and commitment of the men and women aboard USS Michael Murphy, they are ready to operate forward and lead the way."
Cmdr. Todd Hutchison, commanding officer of USS Michael Murphy, expressed confidence in his crew and his ship as the destroyer sailed for its maiden deployment.
"Team Murphy has been looking forward to this deployment for a long time," said Hutchison. "We've worked hard, and while everyone dreads the separation from family and friends, we're anxious to face the challenges of our maiden deployment, answering our nation's call. Every day we'll work hard to honor the memories of Lt. Murphy and the 18 other men that lost their lives during Operation Red Wings."
USS Michael Murphy crew was also joined by a law enforcement detachment from U.S. Coast Guard District 14, who embarked on the ship to participate in OMSI, and is scheduled to conduct maritime law enforcement operations from the ship to administer U.S. and Pacific Island Nations fisheries laws and suppress illicit activities. OMSI is a joint Department of Defense (Navy), Department of Homeland Security (USCG) and Department of Commerce (NOAA) program.
"This is my first deployment and I am upset leaving my family behind," said Fire Controlman 2nd Class Eric Welch, stationed aboard USS Michael Murphy. "But I am looking forward to seeing all of the things overseas and supporting our mission in the Navy. I am also looking forward to coming home, making a trip to Disney's with the kids and gaining back all the time that my family and I lost to the sea."
Welch's wife Ashley and kids were at the pierside to say their farewells and give goodbye hugs to their husband and father.
"Even though he will be gone for seven months and it will seem like forever, I know that he will be back in no time," said Ashley. "The kids are looking forward to when daddy gets home, we will take a family trip, so it's something to look forward to. We can't wait to have him back."
USS Michael Murphy is named for Lt. (SEAL) Michael P. Murphy, a New York native who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during Operation Red Wing in Afghanistan in 2005. Murphy was the first person to be awarded the medal for actions in Afghanistan, and the first member of the U.S. Navy to receive the award since the Vietnam War.
Michael Murphy is a multi-mission ship with anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare surface combatants capabilities; designed to operate independently or with an associated strike group.
The ship is homeported in Hawaii and is part of Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific and U.S. 3rd Fleet.