The guided missile destroyer Winston Churchill left Norfolk today, deploying on a scheduled trip to the 5th and 6th Fleets.

Churchill is departing ahead of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group, which is expected to depart Norfolk sometime in the next week for 5th and 6th Fleet areas as well.

Churchill trained with the Truman Carrier Strike Group, and participated in last month’s 28-day Composite Training Unit Exercise, the group’s final exercise before being certified to deploy.

The ship departed Pier 11 at Naval Station Norfolk, passing through the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel this morning after a send-off from family and friends, who braved 40-degree temperatures and 20-mph winds.

The Churchill is the only U.S. Navy warship named for a modern British hero, Navy officials say.

Though it’s the first lengthy deployment for the ship since 2015, the ship did visit the British Naval Base in Faslane, Scotland, in September after participating in combined operations with the Royal Navy.

Mark D. Faram is a former reporter for Navy Times. He was a senior writer covering personnel, cultural and historical issues. A nine-year active duty Navy veteran, Faram served from 1978 to 1987 as a Navy Diver and photographer.

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