NORFOLK, Va. — USS Gonzalez (DDG 66) deployed Friday morning, two days after the guided-missile destroyer was supposed to leave Naval Station Norfolk.

The Navy still hasn't said how long the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and its roughly 300 sailors would be gone or where it's going, but we do know the guided-missile destroyer will conduct ballistic missile defense operations and work on theater security cooperation.

"I'm excited for our team, our crew. We've worked really hard to prepare for this and we're ready to answer our nation's call," said Commander Christopher Schwarz.

Families, including Alexis Elder's, were sad at the thought of saying goodbye.

"This is my first deployment, so it's kind of nerve-racking just getting used to him not being here for a while," Elder explained.

Elder's family is one of many with a sailor on the Gonzalez that is experiencing a first-time deployment. Commander Schwarz said about 60 percent of the crew is deploying for the first time.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan Leard said he's leaving behind his baby girl.

"That's probably the hardest part for me," stated Leard, who was hoping for a quick return.

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