What it’s really like aboard a US Navy destroyer on a record-breaking, 215-day deployment at sea

What it’s really like aboard a US Navy destroyer on a record-breaking, 215-day deployment at sea

Extremely boring.

Long, exhausting hours.

It sucked.

That’s how one crew member from guided-missile destroyer USS Stout described the ship’s record-breaking 215 days at sea during a deployment punctuated by COVID-19.

When Stout left Virginia’s Naval Station Norfolk in January, masks and social distancing were not part of everyday life. But as COVID-19 has upended most things, it wasn’t long until it affected Stout, nixing port calls that break up long periods underway and isolating its crew.

The Navy announced Stout’s record in late September, topping records set only weeks earlier by the aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower and guided-missile cruiser San Jacinto, also at sea longer because of COVID-19.