EVERETT — It was an Everett welcome Friday afternoon for the sailors of the USS McCampbell, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.
As they arrived after a short trip from Portland, Oregon, a naval band roared with tunes like The Beatles’ “Come Together” and “Hard To Handle” by The Black Crowes. Meanwhile, wind at Naval Station Everett blew plastic Easter eggs all over the ground and canopies drifted.
As the 509-foot ship and its crew of over 300 came in, the rain started to pour.
This was the scene as families reunited, giving them a taste of what springtime in Everett has to offer.
As Celine Durham waited for her husband Emmanuel, she said the weather reminded her of her native Chicago.
Nick Fletcher and his wife Hannah moved here with their son a couple weeks ago. Nick had to go back to Portland to sail up with the ship.
His son held a sign saying, “Welcome home.”
The couple is expecting to add to their family soon. Hannah said she is 35 weeks pregnant. They plan to live here for a few years now that the ship’s home port is Everett.
Commissioned in 2002, the ship had been undergoing some modernization in Portland for the past 18 months. That included improvements to the hull and wireless communications as well as weapon upgrades.
Before going to Portland, the McCampbell was deployed in Yokosuka, Japan, for over a dozen years.
Now that it’s in Everett, modernization work is expected to continue here.
“We are looking forward to training alongside our new neighbors and eager to work hard back out at sea,” the ship’s commanding officer, Steven Zielechowski, said in a press release.
Local leaders have made the push to get more ships home-ported in Everett. U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett, authored a report in 2019 making the case for the base due to its modern shipyard and natural deepwater port.
In June, the Navy announced Everett as the future home port for the first ships of a new generation of guided missile frigates.
And in November, Larsen’s office announced the McCampbell and its crew would be moving to Everett.
“Naval Station Everett, its crews and their families are part of the fabric of our community and their contributions to our city and nation are greatly valued,” Mayor Cassie Franklin said in a statement at the time. “It will be an honor to welcome the USS McCampbell to our beautiful city.”
The McCampbell joins a growing manifest of Navy vessels based in Everett. The USS John Paul Jones and its crew of over 330 arrived in August. The more than 370 sailors of the USS Kidd returned in late September after four months at sea. The USS John S. McCain came last month. And there’s the Gridley, Momsen and Sampson.
Like the McCampbell, all those ships are Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.
The new ship is named after aviator David McCampbell, who received a Medal of Honor for his service in World War II. In 1944 in the Philippines, he shot down nine enemy planes, an American record for a single mission. The ship’s motto: “Relentless in Battle.”
In 2009, the McCampbell pursued a North Korean cargo ship. And in 2011, it assisted with relief efforts after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.