NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- The USS James E. Williams shipped out Wednesday for what is becoming increasingly more common: an independent, 7-month deployment to the Fifth and Sixth fleet areas of operations.
The guided missile destroyer is not part of a larger strike group, but is on her own, shipping out on a seven-month independent deployment.
She'll head to the Mediterranean and Middle East, to provide presence, and be ready to do anti-aircraft, anti-surface and anti-submarine missions, as well as humanitarian and counter piracy missions.
"These ships are multi-mission and we train to do whatever the combatant commanders or the president ask us to do, so, we can be anywhere, anytime," said the commanding officer, CDR Allen Siegrist. "For me personally it's what I've been working for my whole life. But really for the crew, they've been working for the last year to prepare and train for this day, to go and do what the country is asking them to do. It's just an awesome experience."
The James E. Williams' 320 sailors say they're ready to get the job done.
"I'm excited, I'm extremely excited," said SNA Kayleigh Jones.
LS2 Gabriel Gardner agreed. "It's my second one," he said. "I'm looking forward to it, going to some new places I've never been before, so I'm looking forward to that."
For loved ones left behind, it's a time of pride, as well as a time of worry as their sailors head off into a dangerous world, with this deployment coming just one day after the UK terrorist attack.
"Yeah, that's anywhere in the world," said Tim Stevens, father of sailor Marissa Stevens. "And it's like you can't really live in fear."
His wife Laurie agreed. "Somebody up above is looking out for her. that's all you can really say," she said.
If all goes according to schedule, the ship and crew should return home just in time for Christmas.