USS Preble (DDG 88) file photo. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Raul Moreno Jr.)

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - The guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88) is scheduled to depart Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam March 24 on an independent deployment to the Western Pacific Ocean.

While deployed, Preble and its crew of more than 300 Sailors will conduct theater security cooperation and maritime presence operations with partner nations.

The mission of Preble is to conduct sustained combat operations at sea, provide primary protection for the Navy’s aircraft carriers and battle groups, as well as serve as escort to Navy and Marine Corps amphibious forces and auxiliary ships, and conduct independent operations as necessary.

"Preble is ready and excited to deploy and represent our Navy," said Cmdr. Jeffrey L. Heames, commanding officer of Preble. "We appreciate the support of our families here and back on the mainland, as their support helps us operate forward."

Preble is assigned to Destroyer Squadron 9 and is homeported in Hawaii as part of U.S. 3rd Fleet.

Preble was commissioned Nov. 9, 2002 and is the sixth U.S. Navy ship named after U.S. naval hero Commodore Edward Preble who fought against the Barbary pirates off the coast of North Africa in the early 1800s.

U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Eastern Pacific from the West Coast of North America to the international date line and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy.