215 and a coat of paint

The fifth Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer completed (more than 68 are with the fleet today, can you believe that?), USS Stout (DDG-55) rolled out of Pascagoula for the first time in 1994.

Now in her 26th year, the “Bold Knight” has been on a COVID-extended quest of sorts overseas, completing a nearly seven-month deployment in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations as part of the Nimitz and Dwight D. Eisenhower (Ike) Carrier Strike Groups with detours to serve in TF50 and TF51/5.

Without hitting a port call, relying on VERTREPS and RAS to keep up her never-ending voyage. Stout conducted two port visits in Rota, Spain, bookending a record-breaking 215 days at sea.

Stout even chalked up the first-ever “Mid-Deployment Voyage Repair period at sea,” which is something that could prove a lesson if the fleet is pressed on unending West Pac cruises in a future crisis.

She just returned to Naval Station Norfolk on 11 October, marking the end of a nine-month deployment across U.S. 2nd, 5th, and 6th Fleet areas of operation. She had left home in mid-January and has covered 60,000 miles since then. For reference, the distance around the Earth at the Equator, its greatest circumference, is 24,901 miles.

And, for sure, she looked rough when she pulled into her homeport.

This photo has been shared worldwide, showing honest rust and bust, but she could doubtless still fight if she had to

Which of course drew quick attention from Big Navy.

As noted by RADM Brad Cooper on this image posted yesterday:

Last week, USS STOUT (DDG 55) returned home after the longest consecutive period at sea in the history of the modern Navy. During this pandemic, we ask a lot of our Sailors and our families.

It’s not business as usual for any of us, but the amazing young Americans on STOUT stepped up and exceeded our every expectation. STOUT Sailors are Tough, Resilient, Self-Sufficient and Ready.

Picture taken this evening. Ship looks amazing. I couldn’t be prouder of every Sailor on this ship.

Sure, the rust is covered up, but the bluejackets who were away from home for nine months without a real reason other than “the Coof” surely deserved better.

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