By MC3 Gabrielle Joyner, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Hawaii
Sailors stationed aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88) waved their goodbyes to families and friends as the ship departed Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on March 24 for an independent deployment to the western Pacific.
While deployed, Preble and its crew of more than 300 Sailors are scheduled to conduct theater security cooperation and maritime presence operations with partner nations.
“Preble is ready and excited to deploy and represent our Navy,” said Cmdr. Jeffrey L. Heames, commanding officer of Preble. “We appreciate the support of our families here and back on the mainland, as their support helps us operate forward.”
The mission of Preble is to conduct sustained combat operations at sea, provide primary protection for the Navy’s aircraft carriers and battle groups, as well as serve as escort to Navy and Marine Corps amphibious forces and auxiliary ships, and conduct independent operations as necessary.
Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class Chelsea Adams-Dietz, stationed aboard USS Preble, shared her expectations of the deployment.
“I want to see different countries and the cultures of different people and just take that all in,” said Adams-Dietz. “We’re hoping to do some humanitarian work so I think I will be looking forward to doing that and help out where we can.”
Family members, friends and Sailors, assigned to various commands at Pearl Harbor, gathered pierside to show their support as they wished their best to the deploying Sailors.
“Between [my husband] and I, this is our fourth deployment,” said U.S. Air Force Reserve Lt. Col. Robin Bowman, spouse of Cmdr. John Bowman, the executive officer of Preble. “I’m excited for them because I have my warrior spirit and I cannot wait for them to return I can hear all of their cool stories.”
Preble is assigned to Destroyer Squadron 9 and is homeported in Hawaii as part of U.S. 3rd Fleet. Preble was commissioned Nov. 9, 2002 and is the sixth U.S. Navy ship named after U.S. naval hero Commodore Edward Preble who fought against the Barbary pirates off the coast of North Africa in the early 1800s.
U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the eastern Pacific from the West Coast of North America to the international date line and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy.