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USS McFaul Returns from Eight-Month Deployment

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS151214-02
Release Date: 12/14/2015 9:56:00 AM

By Lieutenant j.g. Ian T. Akisoglu

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS McFaul (DDG 74) returned to her Norfolk, Virginia, homeport Dec. 14, after completing an eight-month deployment that spanned the U.S. 4th, 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility.

'Words cannot convey how proud I am of McFaul's crew and everything they have achieved during the past eight months,' said Cmdr. Michael J. Gunther, the ship's commanding officer. 'We received an unbelievable amount of support from our friends and loved ones and we can't wait to be reunited with them.'

During a ballistic missile defense (BMD) deployment that began April 22, McFaul spent the first month of deployment in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility, boosting ties with the region's partner nations. During a visit to Malaga, Spain, McFaul hosted the Admiral of the Spanish Navy. To celebrate Armed Forces Day while in Rhodes, Greece, the crew hosted senior Greek government and military officials.

After transiting the Suez Canal, McFaul joined the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group. In support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the crew participated in exercises with the navies of Great Britain, Iraq, UAE and Oman while simultaneously providing ballistic missile defense for the entire region and conducting maritime security operations with partner nations.

Following port visits to Haifa, Israel and Civitavecchia, Italy, McFaul traveled around South America, during her final phase of deployment.

While in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, members of the crew participated in components of UNITAS Atlantic 2015--a multi-national event involving the navies of the United States, Cameroon, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Senegal, Brazil, Mexico, Chile and Peru. UNITAS, which means 'unity' in Latin, is a demonstration of the U.S. commitment to the region and to the value of the strong relationships forged between our partner militaries. In addition to community relations projects at Brazilian schools, McFaul Sailors participated in subject matter expert exchanges with foreign navies.

The final days of McFaul's deployment provided an opportunity for the crew to welcome their families to participate in a Tiger Cruise during the final, three-day transit to Norfolk.

'It was an absolute thrill to have my mom on board with me,' said Lt. j.g. Yana Kupke, McFaul fire control officer. 'I got to show her what our underway routine is like and give her a real taste of Navy life.'

During her deployment, McFaul steamed 42,500 nautical miles, conducted 33 replenishments-at-sea, qualified 59 Enlisted Surface Warfare specialists and eight Surface Warfare Officers, participated in seven community relations projects in five different countries, and saw 14 Sailors become fathers.

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