PEARL HARBOR (NNS) - Families and friends said goodbye as the Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60) departed from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on Nov. 30 for an independent deployment to the Middle East and Western Pacific.

"We should be okay," said Naomi Pawelczyk, a spouse of one of the Sailors aboard the ship who was at the pier with her two-year-old son as the ship sailed away. "I'm just worried about my husband. We will continue to stay in contact with each other. I know he's going to be worried about our son. I'm sure he is going to have a hard time being apart from him. We will wait for his safe return."

Georgia Pahl, another spouse at the pier, said that it was her first time seeing her husband deploying aboard Paul Hamilton.

"I'm going to hold on to positive thoughts and hope that they'll be back soon," said Pahl. "We're newly-wed. It's tough, but we have so much to look forward to when he comes back."

Commanded by Cmdr. Edward J. Eder, Paul Hamilton has a crew of about 30 officers and 223 enlisted Sailors. Paul Hamilton is deploying under the Middle Pacific Surface Combatant (MPSC) deployment concept, in which Hawaii-based ships deploy in support of operations in the Fifth and Seventh Fleet operating areas.

Guided-missile destroyers are multi-mission surface combatants, capable of Anti-Air Warfare (AAW), Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), and Anti-Surface Warfare (ASUW) missions.

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