NORFOLK -- They were home for Christmas, but they'll be gone for the new year.
Family and friends stood pierside Friday morning as the guided-missile destroyer USS Mahan left Naval Station Norfolk.
The ship will take part in Ballistic Missile Defense operations in the 6th fleet area - Europe and Africa after recently getting its Ballistic Missile Defense upgrade.
The Navy didn't say how long the crew would be gone.
Keri Jackson, who is expecting a baby girl in April, waved goodbye to her husband. She had this advice for other Navy wives dealing with the separation: "Keep busy, keep calm and carry on."
US Mahan is deploying independently, meaning it won't meet up with other ships.