Three San Diego-based guided-missile destroyers, including the one named for late Coronadan Vice Adm. James B. Stockdale, are scheduled to deploy to the western Pacific on Monday with the Nimitz Strike Group Surface Action Force, the Navy said.
The Navy reported a couple of months ago that the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, which lends its name to the strike group, will remain behind at its homeport of Everett, Wash., to deal with some maintenance issues.
The USS Higgins, USS Stockdale and USS William P. Lawrence will leave San Diego and meet up with the Everett-based USS Shoup at sea.
The 1,200 combined crew members who make up Destroyer Squadron 23 will focus on unspecified maritime and theater security missions, which usually involves anti-piracy and ballistic missile defense.
“We've had very rigorous training and certification to prepare us to execute any mission,” said Rear Adm. Pete Gumataotao, the commander of Carrier Strike Group 11. “I'm very confident in Warrior Team 11 and especially DESRON 23 sailors – they will do us proud.”
The USS Higgins is named for Marine Col. William R. Higgins, who served in Vietnam and was later taken hostage and killed by pro-Iranian terrorists in Lebanon.
The USS Stockdale is named for the Navy pilot and longtime Coronado resident who was a prisoner of war for eight years in Vietnam.
Vice Adm. William P. Lawrence was a naval aviator who commanded the Third Fleet and rose to deputy chief of naval operations.
– City News Service