NORFOLK - It's a big day for the 275 crewmembers of the guided-missile destroyer USS Gravely: they're off on their first deployment.
The ship, which was commissioned in November 2010 in Wilmington, NC, will take part in ballistic missile defense escort operations in the 6th Fleet area.
Families of the sailors were sad to see the ship and her crew leave.
LeVett Benns watched her husband leave. “Right now it’s a little scary because this is our first deployment so we don’t know what to expect,” said Benns.
Teresa Oliver’s son, Timothy, was also leaving on his first-ever deployment. She is apprehensive but proud. “I just want him to come home safe, that’s all,” she said.
Commander David W. Dry says the deployment will be an opportunity for the crew to test the skills they've gained during training.
"Gravely's crew has done an incredible job preparing the ship and themselves for this deployment,” said Dry. “We are prepared to conduct missions across the range of military operations and are eager to support the fleet commander's theater and strategic goals."
The ship is named for VADM Samuel L. Gravely, the first African-American in the U.S. Navy to command a warship, achieve flag officer rank, and to command a U.S. Navy fleet.