As his fellow crewmates head to the mess hall to meet their families, Seaman Sean Tender and daughter Sydney, 2, hold each other after the USS Kidd docks at Everett Naval Station on Monday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Destroyer USS Kidd arrives to new homeport in Everett

EVERETT — Naval Station Everett welcomed its fifth Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer Monday.

The USS Kidd pulled up to the pier at 4 p.m. just as the sun dropped below the clouds on the horizon. About 75 family members waited for their sailors to disembark.

Among them were Ayesha Willis and her son Josiah. Her older son, Seaman Apprentice DeMarco Wilson, was on board.

Willis, who lives in Bremerton, recently left the Navy after eight years and now works at the Washington Youth Academy. Her son enlisted in July and joined the Kidd in San Diego.

“It was all his choice,” she said. “I’m just excited he’s close. We don’t have to worry about plane tickets during the holiday.”

The Kidd, first commissioned in 2007, is the third destroyer in the past year to be reassigned to Everett. The USS Gridley arrived in July and the USS Sampson in September.

They join the two destroyers that are already here, the USS Momsen and the USS Shoup.

A sixth destroyer, the USS Ralph Johnson, is scheduled to arrive sometime in 2017. It has been under construction in Mississippi this year.

The Kidd has a full complement of about 325 sailors. Like the Gridley and Sampson, it also was previously stationed in San Diego.

Nicole Udall was waiting with her two children, Brooklynn, 4, and Eli, 2, for her husband, Petty Officer 2nd Class John Udall.

Udall said they’d moved up from California four months ago, but she and the kids had endured longer separations before.

“They do fine,”she said, while the kids blew bubbles on the pier. The weather was a different story. “It’s weird because when the sun is out, it’s not warm,” she said.

The destroyers replaced three decommissioned Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates that used to be based in Everett, the USS Ford, USS Ingraham and USS Rodney M. Davis.

The Kidd, commanded by Cmdr. Timothy Long, is the third to be named after Rear Adm. Isaac C. Kidd, the former commander of Battleship Division One who was killed when the USS Arizona was sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

Kidd was the first flag officer of the U.S. Navy to be killed in action against any foreign enemy, and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

The USS Kidd is also the only ship in the U.S. Navy that flies the Jolly Roger flag. The crew of the first USS Kidd adopted the famous pirate William Kidd as a mascot. The current crew has carried on the tradition.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

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