UPDATE 4/2/14: The guided-missile destroyer USS Stout will return to her Norfolk homeport on Friday, April 4 following a successful eight-month deployment to the 6th Fleet area of operations, the Navy said Wednesday.

NORFOLK-- Family and friends gathered to send off the crew of the USS Stout (DDG 55) on Sunday morning.

At pier four loved ones waited for over 200 sailors to deploy. Corpsman Sean James on board the USS Stout waved goodbye to his wife and to his mother.

'Always I am going to have my phone or laptop, tab or anything that has any connections for when he can reach out.,' said Navy wife Jacquonia James.

'I'm proud of him, I love the fact that he's in the military, he's doing what he's supposed to do serving his time but at the same time it's painful, that's my baby. No matter how old he gets, that's my baby,' said Marsha James, Navy mother.

The DDG heads to the med where the U.S. 6th Fleet maintains a presence of ships capable of Ballistic Missile Defense.

'Right so we won't speak on specifics of those missions, but we have a presence requirement for destroyers in the Mediterranean Sea to have this ballistic missile defense capability,' commented Captain Stephen Coughlin, Commodore Desron 2.

The Stout will be gone for the holiday season.

'Email, anything stay with family visit friends, have projects. Just live your life, take care of your babies and wait for them to come home,' said Navy wife Jessica Hoffman.

The guided missile destroyer and its crew will be gone for nine months and as the Stout pulled away loved ones told us they couldn't be prouder.

'These are my daughters, Madeline and Meagan, their daddy is the Suppo on the ship and we are very proud of team Stout. All that these guys give to their country and we're very grateful and we just want them to come home safe,' concluded Navy wife Rachel Milliet.

Stout was commissioned on August 13, 1994.

The ship was named after Rear Admiral Herald F. Stout who was awarded two Navy Crosses for his outstanding service as commanding officer of USS Claxton (DD 571) in the Solomon Islands during World War II.

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