The U.S. Navy’s Sterett-Dewey Surface Action Group (SAG) deployed from Naval Base San Diego Friday on a mission to the Western Pacific.
The Sterett-Dewey SAG, made up of guided missile destroyers USS Sterett and USS Dewey, Destroyer Squadron 31, and Helicopter Maritime Squadron 49 and 78, is heading out to conduct regional patrols and maritime security operations.
"We are building upon the successes and applying the lessons learned from the inaugural PACSAG deployment," said Capt. David A. Bretz, commander, DESRON 31. "The value of a SAG cannot be overstated. We are ready and able to support a variety of exercises and missions with our partners and allies in support of maritime stability and security in the Western Pacific."
Betty Chavez came to San Diego from Los Angles with her kids to waive goodbye to her husband, an electrician aboard one of the destroyers. She said this is the first time her children are old enough to really feel the gravity of the situation.
“I think they’re going to really feel it this time and miss him this time because the last deployment, they were still little so they don’t really remember,” Chaves said. “So there’s a lot of emotions right now for me and my kids.”
Living with a husband and father out at sea for an extended period isn’t easy, but Chavez said that her and her kids will do whatever they can to keep their sailor close, like putting up extra pictures around the house, emailing and writing letters, and sending him care packages in the mail.
"It's sad," said her son, 9-year-old Anthony Chavez when asked about how he felt seeing his father deployed.
Anthony added that while he was waving good-bye to his father, he wanted to tell him to "come back soon."
Sherri Maddel fought off tears as she explained the little things that she does to remember her husband while he’s away.
“Periodically smell his cologne, snuggling with his pillow, sleeping in his shirts,” she said. “Every morning he writes me sticky notes and leaves them on the microwave, so I taped them with packing tape so they won’t fall off.”
Maddel and her children tucked away a few cards and photos in father’s belongings for him to find as he unpacks. He’ll have those to look at if he ever missies his wife and four children. Maddel said she also sent him away with a blanket from home.
She said it was difficult to see her husband leave but she knew her family wasn't alone.
“It’s comforting to know that you’re not alone. To know that you’ve got people right there going through the same thing,” she told NBC 7.