EVERETT — The Kidd is back in town.
The Arleigh Burke-class Navy destroyer arrived at its Everett homeport Friday morning, bringing a crew of more than 370 sailors home. Dozens of families waited with signs and flags to welcome home their spouses, parents and children.
The ship’s commander, Matthew Noland, has been in the Navy almost 20 years. But he’s only gotten a handful of days like this.
“It feels great to be back,” he said.
Noland had only been a commander for a few weeks when the USS Kidd went to sea on June 1. During the routine deployment, the Kidd was showing allies the country’s commitment to security in the vast Indo-Pacific region, he said. The ship’s motto: “On To Victory.”
This was the sailors’ second deployment in the past two years. The first lasted nine months; this one about four. Back-to-back extended periods at sea is uncommon, Noland said.
Asked how those last few months have been, Danita McLeod made an exasperated sound. She was waiting for her husband, Ian, alongside her son, 4, and daughter, 3.
“Time has just been blurred,” she said. “One on top of another is tough.”
McLeod, who lives in Lake Stevens, said she was now just excited to have her husband back.
Julie Canuel reunited with her husband Juan. As she waited for him, she held a sign reading, “The One Where My Sailor Is Home.”
The couple, who live in Mill Creek, had only communicated by email during his voyage. She said it’s tiring.
“There’s nothing to do but wait every day,” Canuel said. “You start counting down the days.”
Commissioned in 2007, the destroyer is one of a few named after Isaac Kidd, who was killed at Pearl Harbor in 1941. He was the first American flag officer to die in World War II.
Before the ship could be placed into active service, however, it was partially flooded on the Gulf Coast during Hurricane Katrina, delaying deployment.
Over the past 15 years, the Kidd has been a part of a couple of several high-profile operations. In 2012, it rescued 13 Iranian sailors held captive by Somali pirates for over a month. In 2014, it was the second Navy ship deployed in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
Last year, the Kidd became the second Navy ship at sea to report an outbreak of COVID-19 among sailors.
In a 2019 report, U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett, advocated for Naval Station Everett as the best location for future home-porting due to its modern shipyard and natural deepwater port.
“For its modern facilities, welcoming community and high quality of life,” Naval Station Everett “has rightly earned a reputation as the ‘Sailor’s Choice,’” wrote Larsen, a member of the House Armed Services Committee.
In June, the Navy announced Everett as the future homeport for the first ships of a next generation of guided missile frigates.
Jake Goldstein-Street: 425-339-3439; email@example.com. Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet.
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