The guided-missile destroyer USS Milius (DDG 69) transits the Arabian Gulf, July 18.

SAN DIEGO – The guided-missile destroyer USS Milius (DDG 69) is scheduled to return to San Diego, Sept. 11, after an eight-month independent deployment to the Western Pacific and U.S. Central Command areas of responsibility.

Milius conducted ballistic missile defense operations and participated in maritime security operations in the Arabian Gulf.

Milius enhanced relationships with foreign coastal states, provided local security to merchantmen and fishermen in international waters, and conducted approach-and-assistance visits to mariners at sea. Additionally, the ship conducted Iraqi infrastructure protection exercises with the U.S. Coast Guard, Kuwaiti navy and British Royal navy forces.

"Milius deployed to provide ballistic missile defense capabilities," said Cmdr. Nicholie T. Bufkin, commanding officer of Milius. "Our day-to-day operations were theater security cooperation conducting maritime security operations to build partnerships and good will. As a multi-mission capable destroyer, Milius was always ready to accomplish all tasking. I'm proud of the great job done by the officers and crew."

USS Milius is named in honor of Navy pilot Capt. Paul L. Milius. On Feb. 27, 1968, Milius was piloting an OP-2E observation aircraft on an armed reconnaissance mission over Laos. While conducting his mission, the aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft artillery fire. Milius elected to remain at the controls of his badly damaged aircraft, maintaining stable flight, and ordered his seven crew members to bail out, all of whom were rescued. Just before the aircraft crashed, Milius is believed to have bailed out, but rescuers were unable to locate him. Milius was declared "Missing In Action." His status was revised April 26, 1978, to "Presumed Killed In Action." He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.

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