USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) departs Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Oct. 20. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Tiarra Fulgham)

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - The guided-missile destroyers USS Milius (DDG 69) and USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) departed their San Diego and Pearl Harbor homeports Oct. 20 on separate, independent deployments in the Asia-Pacific region.

Both ships will conduct presence operations and take part in goodwill activities with partner nations.

Prior to transiting to the Western Pacific and U.S. 7th Fleet's area of operations, San Diego-based Milius will participate in a task group exercise off the coast of Southern California through the end of the month, along with other U.S. Navy units and counterparts from the Royal Canadian Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.

In addition to supporting other 7th Fleet exercises and operations, Michael Murphy will participate in the Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI), hosting a law enforcement detachment aboard from U.S. Coast Guard District 14, which will conduct maritime law enforcement operations from the ship to enforce U.S. and Pacific Island nations' fisheries laws and suppress illicit activities.

"We've worked hard, and while everyone dreads the separation from family and friends, we're anxious to face the challenges of our maiden deployment, answering our nation's call," said Cmdr. Todd Hutchison, Michael Murphy's commanding officer.

The Navy announced last week that Milius will be one of two ballistic missile defense (BMD)-capable guided-missile destroyers joining the Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF), operating from Japan beginning in 2017. The other is USS Benfold (DDG 65), which will make the transition in 2015.

Guided-missile destroyers provide multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities and are designed to operate independently or with an associated strike group.

Michael Murphy is assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 31 and is part of Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific. Milius is assigned to DESRON 21.

USS Milius (DDG 69) departs San Diego, Oct. 20. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Zachary Bell)

Sailors and U.S. Coast Guardmen man the rails as USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) departs. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Tiarra Fulgham)