USS Decatur returns, USS Preble deploys

SAN DIEGO - A U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer returned Friday to San Diego from an eight-month deployment, while another departed for the Western Pacific.

The USS Decatur and its crew of 33 officers, 39 chief petty officers and 210 enlisted personnel  left San Diego for the Western Pacific and Middle East on Aug. 17. While in the Persian Gulf, the crew of the 505-foot long vessel worked to strengthen ties with local mariners and maintain open shipping lanes, according to the Navy.

"I am very proud of Decatur's crew, whose sustained motivation and tactical proficiency over this deployment have made significant contributions to U.S. and U.S. Navy objectives in the 5th- and 7th Fleet areas of operation," said Cmdr. Joel Ellingson, its commanding officer.

The Decatur is the fifth American warship named for Stephen Decatur, noted for his heroism in the Barbary Wars and the War of 1812.

The USS Preble left town with a crew of 30 officers and 270 enlisted personnel for around seven month.

"It's bittersweet but it's what everybody signs up for, so you've got to take the good with the bad," sailor Victor Bukolt told 10News.

This is the first major deployment for the ship since it was overhauled in late 2011 and early 2012. It is named for Commodore Edward Preble, who led a squadron against the Barbary pirates and later formed the officer corps that led the U.S. Navy in the war of 1812. Decatur was one of Preble's subordinates.

Also Friday, the Everett, Wash.- based aircraft carrier USS Nimitz ended a San Diego visit and also left for a Western Pacific deployment.

The Nimitz will join up with the previously departed San Diego-based guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton for the long voyage.

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