In the file photo, Sailors aboard USS Hopper (DDG 70) operate the forward gun mount during the Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield 2011 exercise at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Feb. 23. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Mark Logico)

PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii- Guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper (DDG 70) will depart Pearl Harbor April 15 for an independent deployment to the Western Pacific and U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.

The crew of more than 275 Sailors will conduct Ballistic Missile Defense operations, as well as maritime interdiction operations and theater security cooperation.

“The crew has trained hard for this deployment,” said Commanding Officer, Cmdr Kevin Melody. “They are ready to execute any mission they may be assigned.”

“It should be exciting,” said Fire Controlman Second Class Timothy Liddell. “I’m looking forward to seeing how the area and our mission have changed since we were last over there.”

Asked if there were any expectations or anticipations for the deployment, Fire Controlman Second Class Steven Willadsen said, “I hope we can make a difference.”

Hopper helps provide deterrence, promote peace and security, preserve freedom of the seas and humanitarian/disaster response within 3th Fleet’s 50-million square mile area of responsibility in the Eastern Pacific, as well as supporting the Navy’s Maritime Strategy when forward deployed.