The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Stout returned to its homeport of Norfolk, Va., on Monday after 215 days at sea. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy
Oct. 12 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Stout returned to Naval Station Norfolk, Va., on Monday, after a record 215 days at sea.
A lack of safety, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, in frequent port calls prompted its seven-month deployment in the U.S. 2nd, 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation.
Before arriving in Norfolk, the ship took on fuel and supplies in Rota, Spain, setting the record before crossing the Atlantic Ocean. Navy ships are staying at sea longer and avoiding port calls to help prevent personnel from on-shore exposure to the virus.
On Sept. 26, the ship reached 208 consecutive days at sea, exceeding the Navy's known record held by USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and USS San Jacinto, both of which also reduced port calls because of the pandemic.
The USS Stout, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, carries Tomahawk missiles, Aegis radar and surface-to-air missiles, antisubmarine rockets, Harpoon missile launchers and a crew of 277.
While at sea, the ship traveled over 60,000 nautical miles and traveled through choke points including the Strait of Gibraltar, the Suez Canal, the Bab-el Mandeb Strait and Strait of Hormuz, the Pentagon noted Monday in a statement.
It also participated in the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group's Composite Training Unit Exercise, the final certification exercise prior to deployment.
"Welcome home to USS Stout sailors, and job well done," said Vice Adm. Andrew Lewis, the U.S. 2nd Fleet commander, on Monday. "Sailors are our Navy's asymmetric advantage. As our world has faced a global health crisis, Stout has been at sea ensuring the safety and stability of key choke points and waterways, and has remained vigilant."