PEARL HARBOR - The guided-missile destroyer USS Russell (DDG 59) departed Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Sept. 1 for a seven-month independent deployment to the Western Pacific and U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.
With a crew of approximately 300 Sailors and commanded by Cmdr. Joseph Carrigan, Russell will conduct ballistic-missile defense operations while on deployment, be under national, combatant commander and fleet commander tasking.
"The officers and crew of USS Russell are ready to deploy. We have spent the past several months conducting intensive training and performing significant maintenance and upkeep critical to mission accomplishment," said Carrigan. "Although we depart Pearl Harbor with heavy hearts as we leave our family and friends behind, we are nevertheless excited about the task at hand. The officers and Sailors of Russell are some of the finest with whom I have known in over 18 years of service. I could not be more proud to sail with them today."
Sailors aboard Russell also expressed their excitement to get underway.
"I'm ready; I've been prepping for it," said Gas Turbine Systems Technician-Electrical (GSE) Fireman Thomas Harlan. "I'm ready to get out to sea and do my job, experience other countries and check out new cultures."
Guided-missile destroyers are multi-mission anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare surface combatants. They operate independently for support of carrier and expeditionary strike groups and surface strike groups.