SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The newly-commissioned Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97) departed Naval Base San Diego Aug. 4 on her maiden deployment to the Western Pacific.
Halsey set a training record this January by becoming completely certified and surge deployable in the shortest time in Navy history for an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer (DDG).
The previous four DDGs took an average of 420 days between sail-away from the shipyard and delivery to the fleet commander as a surge-ready asset. Halsey did it in 145 days, or 65 percent faster than the previous DDGs.
"The entire crew worked extremely hard for this deployment," said Ensign Darren Denyer navigator of Halsey. "We are ready and we're all very proud of doing our job."
Halsey's mission is to protect the Navy's aircraft carriers and battle groups, escort Navy and Marine Corps amphibious forces and auxiliary ships, and operate independently if necessary.
"This is the first voyage for the ship, so this will set the standard for Halsey for her future deployments," said Cmdr. John Pinckney Jr., commanding officer of Halsey. "We want to go out there and do things proper. We want to make a big impact to help and support the war on global terrorism."
Pinckney joined the Navy as an enlisted Sailor to help protect the national interest. By earning his commission, his role has changed from operating weapon systems to commanding a record-setting ship.
"I was a Fire Control Technician before, now I'm in charge of the whole ship. The responsibility is great, but the reward is even greater," said Pinckney. "I get to work with a lot of hardworking Sailors that make things happen. That's why Halsey is in good position."
Pinckney added that he expects the ship to be on station on time to support national policies.
"My personal goal is to make sure everyone is well trained and comes back safe," said Pinckney.
Halsey is capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously, and the ship contains a number of offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime defense needs well into the 21st century.
Halsey was commissioned July 30, 2005, at Naval Station North Island and named after U.S. Naval Academy graduate Fleet Adm. William "Bull" Halsey Jr., who commanded the U. S. 3rd Fleet during much of the Pacific War against Japan. The crew hopes to honor the legacy of their ship's namesake.
"A lot of sweat, discipline and training are put on for this deployment," said Boatswain's Mate 1st Class Aubrey Lavitoria. "We have everybody dedicated to get the mission completed ahead of time."
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