USS Higgins (DDG 76) departs San Diego, July 6. (U.S. Navy/Melissa K. Russell)

SAN DIEGO - The guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins (DDG 76) departed Naval Base San Diego July 6 on an independent deployment to the Western Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean and Middle East.

While deployed to the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operations, the ship and crew of more than 300 Sailors, assigned to Destroyer Squadron Two Three (DESRON) 23, will conduct presence operations and goodwill activities with partner nations.

Higgins is a multi-mission ship with anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare surface combatant capabilities; designed to operate independently or with an associated strike group.

“I am extremely pleased with our crew,” said Cmdr. Allen Johnson, commanding officer of Higgins. "They have proven themselves throughout a rigorous year-long training cycle and are fully capable to perform the mission tasking that we will be assigned."

The ship is homeported in San Diego and is part of Naval Surface Forces and U.S. 3rd Fleet.

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.