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USS Mitscher Returns from Deployment in South America

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070919-09
Release Date: 9/19/2007 6:17:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Marissa Kaylor, Fleet Public Affairs Center Atlantic

NORFOLK (NNS) -- More than 200 Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57) returned to their homeport at Naval Station Norfolk Sept. 18 after a six-month deployment in support of Partnership of the Americas (POA).

POA is a U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command deployment designed to support Southern Command responsibilities by focusing on enhancing relationships with regional partner nations through a variety of exercises at sea and on shore.

Mitscher stopped in many ports such as Colon, Panama; Salvador, Brazil; Montevideo, Uruguay; and Puerta Belgrano, Argentina. The ship’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Daniel Uhls, said the new places were a good change.

“Most of the Sailors, like me, have spent a lot of time in the [Persian] Gulf and it was nice to be able to see and go somewhere different and experience something new,” said Uhls.

During deployment, Mitscher Sailors were heavily involved with Project Handclasp, which is where Sailors were able to use their different abilities to help those in need by cleaning, restoring or just spending time with community members.

“I’m so happy,” said Sonar Technician Surface 1st Class(SW) Mathew Peters. "It’s great to be back. It was a good experience to help the other countries, but it’s great to be able to see my family again.”

Peters was one of the new dads and first off the ship to see his wife, three-year-old son and his five-month-old son for the first time.

“E-mails and pictures really helped me through deployment, especially not being able to see my new son in person yet,” said Peters.

Some family members were able to be with their loved ones by participating in a Tiger Cruise near the end of the deployment. This cruise allows family members and friends to experience the ship life for the last days of deployment before Sailors are reunited with their whole family.

“I would say that the relief after a six-month deployment is understandable,” said Uhls, “It’s not saying they didn’t enjoy their time at sea, but for the most part they will enjoy being here with their families.”

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