In this file photo, USS Decatur (DDG 73) steams off the coast of Bangladesh during exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) in September 2012. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sean Furey)

SAN DIEGO - The guided-missile destroyer USS Decatur (DDG 73) will return to San Diego from a ballistic missile defense deployment to the Western Pacific Ocean and U.S. Central Command areas of operation, April 19.

While operating in U.S. 5th Fleet, the ship's boarding team conducted 88 "approach-and-visit" operations that helped strengthen U.S. Navy ties with local mariners. The ship's presence in 5th Fleet helped achieve the 5th Fleet objective of maintaining open sea lanes in the Middle East, while reassuring Gulf nations of the Navy's commitment to stability in the region.

The ship's commanding officer, Cmdr. Joel Ellingson, said, "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."

Decatur helps provide deterrence, promote peace and security, preserve freedom of the seas and provide humanitarian assistance/disaster response.

U.S. Third Fleet leads naval forces in the Eastern Pacific from the West coast of North America to the international date line.