NAVAL STATION MAYPORT, Fla. -- During their seven months at sea, the sailors aboard the Mayport-based USS Halyburton not only battle-tested a new unmanned drone, but also helped rescue hostages taken by pirates.
The sailors from Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 42, Det. 2 operated under Combined Task Force 508, spending their time around the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf of Aden.
"The work was hard, the hours were long and the mission was challenging and worthwhile," said CDR John Schmidt, former Halyburton commanding officer. Schmidt handed over command of the ship Tuesday.
The hostage situation was in the Gulf of Aden, where the Halyburton was part of the rescue team that freed the 13 people aboard SL Irene, which had been taken over by pirates.
The ship also patrolled the international waters off Libya to ensure illegal weapons didn't get to pro-Gaddafi forces.