EVERETT — Hundreds of sailors returned to Naval Station Everett as rain fell Tuesday morning, following a seven-month deployment.
During that time, the USS Gridley crossed the Atlantic Ocean and traveled the Mediterranean, North and Norwegian seas. The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer covered about 39,000 nautical miles.
It linked up with ships from other NATO countries, including Norway, Portugal, Netherlands and Belgium. The Gridley served as the headquarters for leaders to meet, said Kristin Ching, spokeswoman for Naval Station Everett.
The mission was a chance to practice drills with NATO members, to strengthen relationships between those nations and for naval leaders to meet face-to-face.
“U.S. alliances are critical to ensuring maritime security and stability,” Gridley’s commanding officer Cmdr. Joel Uzarski said in a press release.
”They want to make sure they can interact with other navies, especially with partner nations so they are familiar with tactics but also on a personal level,” Ching said.
The Gridley also participated in Cutlass Fury 2019, the largest Canadian-led naval exercise off that country’s east coast in decades.
Ships from Naval Station Everett often go on deployment. It’s common to be gone for about six months, but every mission is different, Ching said.
For example, the USS Kidd left earlier this month for the Indo-Pacific with the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, stationed at Naval Base San Diego.
Around 10 a.m. Tuesday, dozens of people gathered on the pier in Everett to welcome the Gridley sailors home. Sunshine turned to rain as the ship sailed to the dock.