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This Independence Day is a special one for the United States Navy.

The USS Arleigh Burke is celebrating its 25th anniversary this July 4th.

In 1991, the ship, which is the leading guided missile destroyer in the Navy, was commissioned for duty in Norfolk, Virginia.

This weekend, it returned to Norfolk to mark this impressive milestone.

Lea Gabrielle spoke to Commander Thomas E. Myers on the deck of the USS Arleigh Burke about what makes the ship so unique as a special weapons platform.

Myers explained that the ship is one of the first with a fully integrated weapons system, meaning it can engage enemies on the land, sea, air, even underwater.

He revealed that during their last deployment, they launched 30 Tomahawk missiles against ISIS targets in Syria.

"That's what we do," Myers said. "We train to fight to be proficient, so when we have to answer the national call for tasking, we're able to do that."

Commander Jason Stepp, the executive officer on the ship, said that it can be manned by just 300 sailors, meaning that they all must be highly trained and highly skilled.

"That's what makes this ship unique and the U.S. Navy unique ... the sailors are just fantastic," Stepp said.

The ship’s namesake, Admiral Arleigh Burke, was a highly distinguished combat veteran during World War II who later became the longest-serving Chief of Naval Operations.

Watch more above.


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