Thursday, November 19, 2009

USS Decatur Returns from Deployment

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The guided-missile destroyer USS Decatur (DDG 73) will return to San Diego Nov. 23 after its second six-month deployment in 18 months to the 5th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility (AOR).

"This crew has operated at the tip of the spear for months-on-end, flawlessly," said Decatur's Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Christopher Sweeney. "They have executed all six expanded core capabilities in the maritime strategy, and have an unmatched operational tempo."

Decatur was the only Ronald Reagan Strike Group ship to earn the Iraqi Defense Medal while attached to Commander, Task Force Iraqi Maritime. The ship defended the Al-Bashrah and Khawr al Amaya Oil Terminals, which account for 80 percent of the revenue used to support Iraqi reconstruction and transition. When not defending oil platforms, Decatur was attached to Commander, Task Force 152, responsible for maritime security operations, providing forward presence, and deterrence in the region.

Decatur helped strengthen partnerships and was the primary sea base for the terminals. The ship operated a small boat marina along with a heliport for parts and mail. The ship's visit, board, search and seizure teams conducted approach and assist visits with local dhows, and interdicted narcotics. Decatur was also the primary Ballistic Missile Defense asset in the Persian Gulf for a portion of their time there.

While in the 7th Fleet AOR, Decatur participated in a short-notice homeland defense mission as a primary BMD asset. Also, keeping with the ship's motto of "in pursuit of peace," while conducting a Theater Security Cooperation port visit to Thailand, the crew performed community relations events; they also conducted military-to-military engagement with subject matter expert exchanges', and operational planning for at-sea operations.

"The crew was resilient and always ready," said Sweeney. "We brought 505 feet of persistent American will to the maritime domain, and made a lasting impact on the forward deployed combatant commanders and our coalition partners."

Decatur helps provide deterrence, promote peace and security, preserve freedom of the sea and humanitarian/disaster response within 3rd Fleet's 50-million square mile area of responsibility in the Eastern Pacific, as well as supporting the nation's maritime strategy when forward deployed.