EVERETT – The Kidd is back in town.
The Arleigh Burke-class Navy destroyer reached its homeport of Everett Friday morning and brought home a crew of more than 370 sailors. Dozens of families waited with signs and flags to welcome their spouses, parents, and children home.
The ship’s commander, Matthew Noland, has been in the Navy for nearly 20 years. But he only has a handful of days like this.
“It feels great to be back,” he said.
Noland had only been in command for a few weeks when the USS Kidd went to sea on June 1. During the routine operation, the Kidd shows the allies the country’s commitment to security in the vast Indo-Pacific region, he said. The ship’s motto: “On To Victory”.
Sailors leave the USS Kidd after returning from duty in Everett on Friday. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
This was the sailors’ second mission in the past two years. The first lasted nine months; this about four. Successive extended periods at sea are unusual, said Noland.
When asked how the past few months had been, Danita McLeod made an annoyed sound. She was waiting for her husband Ian, along with her son (4) and daughter (3).
“The time is just a blur,” she said. “One on top of the other is tough.”
McLeod, who lives in Lake Stevens, said she was just now excited to have her husband back.
Family members and friends search for loved ones when the USS Kidd docks in Everett on Friday. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Julie Canuel is reunited with her husband Juan. While she waited for him, she held a sign that read “The One Where My Sailor Is Home” in her hand.
The couple, who live in Mill Creek, had only communicated via email during their trip. She said it was exhausting.
“There’s nothing to do but wait every day,” said Canuel. “You start counting down the days.”
Commissioned in 2007, the destroyer is one of a few named after Isaac Kidd, who was killed in Pearl Harbor in 1941. He was the first American flag officer to die in World War II.
The USS Kidd returns from Everett on Friday. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Before the ship could be put into active service, however, it was partially flooded during Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast, delaying its deployment.
Over the past 15 years, the kidd has been part of several high profile operations. In 2012, it rescued 13 Iranian sailors who were held captive by Somali pirates for over a month. In 2014, it was the second naval ship used in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
Last year, the Kidd was the second naval vessel at sea to report an outbreak of COVID-19 among seafarers.
In a 2019 report, US MP Rick Larsen, D-Everett, advocated Naval Station Everett as the best location for future homeport due to its modern shipyard and natural deep-water harbor.
“Naval Station Everett has rightly earned a reputation as Sailor’s Choice for its modern facilities, welcoming community and high quality of life,” wrote Larsen, a member of the House Armed Services Committee.
In June, the Navy announced Everett as the future home port for the first ships of a next generation of guided missile frigates.
Jake-Goldstein-Strasse: 425-339-3439; [email protected] Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet.