Navy ships come and go Monday in San Diego - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Navy ships come and go Monday in San Diego

Posted: Updated:

SAN DIEGO (CNS/CBS 8) - Sailors from one guided-missile destroyer came home to San Diego Monday following a seven-month deployment, while the crew of another headed out.

The 300 sailors of the USS Wayne E. Meyer returned Monday morning from an independent deployment to the western Pacific Ocean, along with a detachment of "Blue Hawks" from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 78, based in Coronado.

The 509-foot-long vessel maintained the Navy's presence in the region, and the sailors took part in several community relations projects at different ports-of-call.

Commanding Officer Randy Van Rossum admits he got emotional as they got closer to home.

"It definitely hit me. I had to keep my head down so I could concentrate. Once it was tied up, I'm not lying, tears rolled down. I miss my family a lot," he said.

The ship is named for the late Rear Adm. Wayne E. Meyer, considered the father of the Navy's Aegis air defense system.

The Blue Hawks flew more than 820 hours with two MH-60R aircraft in missions like anti-submarine warfare, medical evacuations and supply replenishments. They also participated in several international exercises.

Later in the day, the USS Milius set sail for an exercise that will involve vessels from Canada and Japan, and will continue on for its own western Pacific deployment.

The Navy announced last week that the 505-foot Milius is one of two San Diego-based vessels that will be transferred to Yokosuka, Japan. The Navy has been gradually rotating ships that have recently been overhauled and received technological improvements into the Asian theater.

Krista Browning fought back tears after saying goodbye to her husband, who left on board the USS Milius. She says it's the simple moments together just curled up on the couch that she will miss most.

"It's just going to be a very quiet house watching my shows without him," she said.

Cerolyn Holmes knows exactly how Krista feels. Her husband is on board the ship too.

"It's hard to sum up in a word or two. It's sad, but we know he's doing something good for the country. That helps us to get by," she said.

The Milius is scheduled to move to Japan in just under three years. The USS Benfold is set to go next summer.

The Milius is named for Navy Capt. Paul L. Milius, who ordered his seven fellow crew members to bail out as he held their badly damaged aircraft steady before it crashed over Laos in 1968. All seven were later rescued, but Milius was declared missing in action.

His body never recovered and he was later presumed killed in action. The aircraft was damaged by enemy fire. Milius was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously in 1978.

Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 Midwest Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.