USS James E. Williams home for holidays after 7-month deployment

The guided-missile destroyer USS James E. Williams (DDG 95) arrives at its homeport on board Naval Station Norfolk. James E. Williams departed Norfolk May 23 for a scheduled deployment in the Navy's 5th and 6th fleet areas of operation. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin Wolpert/Released)

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – USS James E. Williams (DDG 95) returned to Naval Station Norfolk Saturday morning.

The guided-missile destroyer, filled with 300 sailors, completed a seven-month deployment that began on May 23.

The ship departed to the North and Norwegian seas to support anti-submarine exercises and operations, as well as maritime security operations in the Arabian Gulf. The ship and crew also conducted presence operations and goodwill activities with partner nations.

“I am extremely proud of this crew,” said Cmdr. Allen Siegrist, the ship’s commanding officer. “These sailors performed exceptionally well in a multitude of missions and across all theaters. Their superior performance during this seven-month deployment is a testament to their dedication to country and service. I am pleased that they can be home to celebrate the holidays with their family and friends!”

During the deployment, the James E. Williams transited 50,779 nautical miles, made 15 port calls in 11 different countries, conducted 11 straits transits, hosted two receptions, completed seven international maritime security exercises and conducted a swim call in the Mediterranean Sea. Additionally, the crew participated in eight community relations events in five different countries.

“This deployment was both amazing and difficult,” said Fire Controlman 3rd Class Matthew Kennedy, from Atlanta. “I grew very close to my shipmates and I saw all kinds of amazing countries. But, it was far from easy. It was filled with long hours and hard work. In the end, I am proud of what we have done.”

The James E. Williams, named for the South Carolina-native and most highly decorated enlisted man in the history of the Navy, is a multi-mission ship with anti-air, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare capabilities, designed to operate independently or with an associated strike group.

A Sailor attached to the guided-missile destroyer USS James E. Williams (DDG 95) greets his child during the ship’s homecoming celebration. James E. Williams departed Norfolk May 23 for a scheduled deployment in the Navy’s 5th and 6th fleet areas of operation. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin Wolpert/Released)