By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Robert Stirrup, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs
PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- More than 300 Sailors aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60) arrived pierside, following a seven-month deployment to the Western Pacific; they were greeted by friends and family at Naval Station Pearl Harbor Aug. 21.
Paul Hamilton departed Pearl Harbor Jan. 20 as a part of the Mid-Pacific Surface Combatant Operational Employment (MPSCOE) program. Paul Hamilton also participated in exercises Arabian Gauntlet and Nautical Union while in the 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility.
Cmdr. Brent Smith, commanding officer of Paul Hamilton, noted the great teamwork that the ship's Sailors demonstrated throughout the deployment. "The crew did an absolute marvelous job of performing their roles and duties," said Smith. "When Paul Hamilton was tasked to do something, the crew pulled together and worked very well as a team."
Friends and families of Paul Hamilton Sailors were very excited to see the crew return home. "I could barely sleep last night knowing that my husband was going to be home today," said the wife of a Paul Hamilton Sailor. "This has been a long seven months, but I am so glad that he is returning home safely," added another wife of a Paul Hamilton Sailor.
Sailors were thrilled to be home as they walked off the ship and into the arms of their loved ones. "I'm really excited to be home and see my newborn son," said Fire Controlman 1st Class Joe Sardos. "I've been anxious to return home since the day he was born, and it feels absolutely great to hold him."
The MPSCOE program calls for all of the Hawaii-based surface combatants to focus on the Western Pacific by conducting intermediate or advanced training and regular deployments in the area.
Guided missile destroyers provide multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities and can operate independently or as part of carrier battle groups, surface action groups or amphibious ready groups.
For more news from Commander, Navy Region Hawaii, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnrh/.