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Local families say goodbye to USS Halyburton sailors

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Updated: 1/15 11:30 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It's the final go 'round for the USS Halyburton and for its last deployment the ship is equipped with a crew ready for big drug takedowns.

After a short hiatus, the Halyburton is back on the water and heading to the Carribean. Their mission is to target drug trafficking routes.

"We just hope they all have a safe journey as they go on their way," said Chuck Marvin, the father of one of the crew members.

It's a bittersweet goodbye. With tear-stained faces, families grabbed one last hug before a five month deployment.

"It's hard to see him leave," said Angela Saffle.

Saffle's husband is on board the ship; he will miss their 18th anniversary and the birthday for one of their three kids.

After this trip, her sailor will be home for good.

"This is our last one. We've done almost 20 years and we're about ready to retire," she said.

The USS Halyburton is also retiring, but before that her crew will join 13 other countries in a high seas counter-drug operation. It's a fitting end for the ship's storied career in service.

"They'll still be in our fleet for the next several years and as we bring in new ships, new capacities, we'll put these to bed," said Deputy Cmdr. Jon Matheson.

The ship won't be back in local waters until June. We're told crews will then remove the gear and decommission the ship for storage.
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