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Military

Stout Deploys to Relieve Gonzalez in Sea Swap

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050912-05
Release Date: 9/12/2005 4:18:00 PM

By Journalist 2nd Class Natividad Davis, Public Affairs Center Norfolk

NAVAL STATION NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- The crew of the Naval Station Norfolk–based guided-missile destroyer USS Stout (DDG 55) deployed Sept. 9 to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR), where they will relieve the crew currently serving aboard the Norfolk–based USS Gonzalez (DDG 66) as part of the Navy's “Sea Swap” initiative.

Sea Swap is designed to provide an increase of forward Navy presence, keeping a single Navy ship hull present in an area for up to a year and changing out its crew every six months, flying them to the ship's forward location.

Cmdr. Jack Noel, Stout’s commanding officer, said preparing was made easier after consulting with another experienced commanding officer from the West Coast.

“Early on during the process, I had the opportunity to meet with one of the previous commanding officers from the West Coast swap,” said Noel. “He came up with three to four pages of lessons learned that served as our template; it was very beneficial.”

The crew rotation scheme would extend individual ship deployments from six months to a year while holding crew deployments at six months. A relief crew is sent out five-and-a-half months into deployment while a crew is flown in from a sister ship to man the deployed ship.

The Sailors of Stout and Gonzalez, along with USS Laboon (DDG 58), will complete the three-phase deployment around March 2006.

Noel said that with 14 months to prepare, the crew is ready for deployment.

“The swap won’t have a negative impact on the crew’s morale,” said Noel. “The general pulse of the crew is they’re ready to go and looking forward to deploying.”



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