In this file photo, USS Howard (DDG 83) fires its 5-inch gun during a live-fire drone exercise (DRONEX) in the South China Sea as part of they Malaysia phase of exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) in June, 2011. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian A. Stone)

SAN DIEGO - The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Howard (DDG 83) is scheduled to depart Naval Base San Diego Dec. 2 on an independent deployment to the Western Pacific.

Howard is a multi-mission ship designed to operate independently or with an associated strike group. While deployed, Howard will conduct Theatre Security Cooperation and maritime presence operations with partner nations.

"Though the crew will miss friends and families, Howard is deploying at the peak of readiness," said Cmdr. David Zook, Howard's commanding officer. "We look forward to serving the nation."

Howard is named in honor of Marine Corps 1st Sgt. Jimmie E. Howard, a combat veteran of both Korea and Vietnam who was awarded the Medal of Honor, Silver Star and three Purple Hearts during his 27 years of service.