By Ensign Robert J. Dixon Jr., USS Gravely Public Affairs
NORFOLK (NNS) — The Aegis guided-missile destroyer USS Gravely (DDG 107) returned home to Naval Station Norfolk Nov. 18 marking the successful completion of her nine-month maiden deployment.
Gravely deployed to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations Feb. 15.
She supported maritime security and theater security operations in the eastern Mediterranean Sea and conducted missions in support of Operations Sharp Sentry, Atlantic Sentry, and Active Endeavor.
While on station, Gravely participated in exercises to increase interoperability between the U.S. Navy and our allies. Specific events included conducting an exercise with the Hellenic Navy and U.S. Special Operations Forces, as well as bilateral exercises with the Israeli Navy. Gravely also conducted joint naval exercises and crew exchanges with naval forces from France, Great Britain and Egypt, reinforcing the ability to operate with our partners in the region.
Throughout her maiden deployment Gravely steamed over 45,000 nautical miles, and along with her embarked air detachment, Helicopter Maritime Strike (HSM) 74, Detachment 1, conducted over 1,200 mishap-free hours of flight operations to include more than 400 landings and four medical evacuations.
Gravely’s ports of call included visits to Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Spain, and Portugal, where the crew was able to visit the Rock of Gibraltar, Rome’s Coliseum and Vatican, Jerusalem’s Old City and Western Wall and ancient Greek ruins. Gravely crew members also participated in community relations projects in Santorini and Souda Bay, Greece and in Haifa, Israel, building ties with members of the local communities.
Gravely, commissioned November 2010, is the 57th Arleigh Burke-Class Aegis destroyer and is named in honor of Vice Adm. Samuel L. Gravely Jr. (1922-2004), the first African American commissioned from the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps. He became the first African American to command a U.S. Navy warship [USS Theodore E. Chandler (DD-717)], to command an American warship under combat conditions [USS Taussig (DD-746)], and to command a major naval warship [USS Jouett (DLG-29)]. He was the first African-American admiral, rising to the rank of Vice Admiral, and the first African American to command a U.S. Fleet (Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet).
For more news from Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/surflant/.