By Ensign Marina Nanartowich
USS Carney Public Affairs
Capt. Glenn Kuffel, Deputy Commodore of the First Combined Destroyer Squadron (1-CDS), made a three-day visit to USS Carney (DDG-64) the first week of February. For Captain Kuffel, a prior Carney Commanding Officer, and who currently wears two hats as Deputy Commodore for 1-CDS as well as Deputy Commodore for Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 14 back in Mayport, the visit was like coming home.
The Deputy Commodore made visits to USS Mason (DDG-87) and USS Hopper (DDG-70) before stopping by Carney. All three ships form under 1-CDS as part of Carrier Strike Group 10 in the Arabian Gulf. 1-CDS is a multi-national squadron led by Commodore Steven Holt of the Royal Navy and serves as an experiment for possible future combined strike groups by.
Kuffel commanded Carney from May 2007-November 2008. Since that time, Carney has been upgraded, her mission has changed and her crew is new, but several Carney Nation traditions prevail.
"A little of the old is kept, but there is new growth as well so she does not stay stagnant," he said. "The spirit of Lanny King, Carney's first commanding officer is alive still today."
Carney embraces this spirit and the crew has been very successful throughout deployment, working hard to achieve the mission at hand, although that mission has evolved over the years.
During command, Kuffel led Carney through a seven-month Fifth Fleet deployment, taking her to the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Gulf of Oman primarily in an anti-piracy and anti-human smuggling mission.
During that deployment Carney spent a mere 42 hours in the Arabian Gulf - a striking difference from Carney's current Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) and Maritime Security Operations (MSO) missions, keeping her bound to the Arabian Gulf.
In 2015, Carney's mission will have her change homeport to Rota, Spain. Mayport has been home to Carney since her commissioning in 1996.
"The crew is going to have a blast in Europe, but I am sad to see her leave Mayport," he added.
Kuffel said he was grateful to have the chance to visit Carney.
"I am really glad this opportunity opened up," Kuffel commented. "Not very many former commanding officers get the opportunity to come back to their ship when she is forward deployed."
He went on to explain that he will take his experience with 1-CDS back to DESRON 14. He said that no matter the years of service one may have, "you remain a Sailor at heart: you like going out to sea; you like pulling into new ports."
As Carney approaches the halfway point in her Arabian Gulf deployment, the crew welcomed the visit from the Deputy Commodore.
"While I appreciated Capt. Kuffel's visit, I think the crew enjoyed it more," said Cmdr. Eddie Crossman, Carney's commanding officer. "They loved hearing the genesis of the Carney Nation and the Carney traditions. If I did not know better, from the crew's excitement I would have thought we had a movie star visiting! Everyone wanted a picture with him."
The bright spirits of Carney Nation were noticed by the Deputy Commodore, who commented "the camaraderie that has always made Carney special is still here. You can see it in the Sailors' eyes."
It is this camaraderie among the Carney family that makes the Carney Nation so unique.