01 September, 2009 - Over the past few days our schedule was filled with training events, maintenance, preservation and studying for upcoming advancement exams.
Last Saturday we put our guns and gunners to the test with a live firing exercise. We utilized a deployable target, known in the Navy as a "Killer Tomato" because of its red color, to provide target practice. We fired all of our guns from the large 5" mount to our .50 caliber machine guns. I have to say that the guns and gunners both performed well. As I always like to say, our gunners are the highest caliber.
This morning we assembled the crew for an awards ceremony. I presented nearly 80 awards to well deserving Sailors for their performance over the past months. There are many things to be proud of today as we look back on past accomplishments. The high training level of the crew and outstanding material condition of the ship are also a testament to the hard work put in by everyone aboard.
At the end of the ceremony I took a few minutes to thank the entire crew for their outstanding efforts, reflect on our accomplishments and also look towards the future.
We will be back home in Norfolk on Saturday and of course everyone is excited. In addition to STOUT homecoming this weekend is also Labor Day weekend, the traditional end to summer. Staying safe as we head back to join our families and friends is important to me and I expressed the need to be smart about weekend activities with the crew. Please enjoy a safe and fun weekend with your Sailors. We'll see you in a few days.