Wednesday, August 22, 2007

USS Hawes Returns from Deployment

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin L. Burleson, Fleet Public Affairs Center, Atlantic

NORFOLK (NNS) -- More than 200 Sailors from the guided-missile frigate USS Hawes (FFG 53) returned to Naval Station Norfolk Aug. 18, after a seven-month deployment.

Hawes conducted Maritime Security Operations in areas including Pakistan, China, the Horn of Africa, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Hawes commanding officer, Cmdr. Chuck Marks, didn’t hold back any praise for his crew’s efforts either.

“It’s kind of an awing and humbling experience to be the CO [commanding officer] when you have your crew performing so well, all the time, every day with a smile and a lot of enthusiasm,” said Marks.

In February, the Hawes assisted a stranded merchant vessel, whose crew was without power or food for seven days, in the Northern Persian Gulf.

“The crew probably would have died if we had not intervened,” said Marks. “They were getting to the point to where they were going to drink seawater.”

While the Hawes was performing heroic missions, their families performed their part back home. Ship Ombudsman Hilliary Gauntt, wife of Chief (Select) Electronics Technician (SW) Charles Gauntt, helped crew and family members deal with financial and medical issues, and helped new mothers adjust while their loved ones were deployed.

“It definitely helped with making the time pass because I didn’t have time to think about my husband not being home,” said Hilliary. “I was too busy taking care of other people.”

The crew of the Hawes also participated in Operation Sea Dragon IV, Exercise AMAN 2007 and Exercise Nautical Union 2007.