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USS Decatur (DDG-73)
Decatur entering San Diego Harbor, 9 March 2004.
USS Decatur (DDG-73)
Career (US)
Name: USS Decatur
Namesake: Stephen Decatur
Ordered: 19 January 1993
Builder: Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine
Laid down: 11 January 1996
Launched: 8 November 1996
Commissioned: 29 August 1998
Status: in active service, as of 2022
Badge: USS Decatur DDG-73 Crest.png
General characteristics
Class & type: Arleigh Burke class destroyer
Displacement: Light: approx. 6,752 tons
Full: approx. 8,886 tons
Length: 505 ft (154 m)
Beam: 66 ft (20 m)
Draft: 31 ft (9.4 m)
Propulsion: 4 General Electric LM2500-30 gas turbines, two shafts, 100,000 total shaft horsepower (75 MW)
Speed: >30 knots (56 km/h)
  • 4,400 nautical miles at 20 knots
  • (8,100 km at 37 km/h)
  • 33 commissioned officers
  • 38 chief petty officers
  • 210 enlisted personnel
  • Sensors and
    processing systems:
  • AN/SPY-1D 3D Radar
  • AN/SPS-67(V)2 Surface Search Radar
  • AN/SPS-73(V)12 Surface Search Radar
  • AN/SPG-62 Fire Control Radar
  • AN/SQS-53C Sonar Array
  • AN/SQR-19 Tactical Towed Array Sonar
  • AN/SQQ-28 LAMPS III Shipboard System
  • Electronic warfare
    & decoys:
  • AN/SLQ-32(V)2 Electronic Warfare System
  • AN/SLQ-25 Nixie Torpedo Countermeasures
  • MK 36 MOD 12 Decoy Launching System
  • AN/SLQ-39 CHAFF Buoys
  • Armament:
  • 1 × 29 cell, 1 × 61 cell Mk 41 vertical launching systems with 90 × RIM-156 SM-2, BGM-109 Tomahawk or RUM-139 VL-ASROC missiles
  • 2 x Mk 141 Harpoon Missile Launcher SSM
  • 1 × Mark 45 5/54 in (127/54 mm)
  • 2 × 25 mm chain gun
  • 4 × .50 caliber (12.7 mm) guns
  • 2 × 20 mm Phalanx CIWS
  • 2 × Mk 32 triple torpedo tubes
  • Aircraft carried: 1 SH-60 Sea Hawk helicopter can be embarked
    Motto: In Pursuit of Peace[1]

    USS Decatur (DDG-73) is an Arleigh Burke class destroyer. The fifth ship to carry the name, Decatur was laid down on 11 January 1996 by Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine; launched on 9 November 1996, sponsored by Mrs. Joan E. Shalikashvili, wife of John M. Shalikashvili, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and commissioned 19 June 1998, Commander Mike Knollmann in command. She is named in honor of Stephen Decatur.


    Following a combination shakedown and transit cruise to the west coast, during which Decatur visited San Juan, Puerto Rico; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico she was commissioned on 19 June 1998 in Bath, Maine with the ceremony taking place 29 August 1998, at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland, Oregon. The guided-missile destroyer arrived at her new home port of San Diego on 4 September. She spent the remainder of the year conducting acoustic trials and combat system evaluations. Decatur then spent three months in a post-shakedown availability in the Southwest Marine Yard.

    In April 1999, the warship conducted a short cruise to the Northwest, visiting Decatur Island, Washington, and Vancouver, British Columbia, before returning to San Diego in early May. After a second visit to Washington in August, Decatur sent a boarding team of Damage Control Experts to assist MV Gardenia Ace—a car carrier—which had suffered a fire in her engine room.



    Upon completion of her final missile tests and sea trials, Decatur commenced her first western Pacific deployment on 7 January 2000. After stopping at Pearl Harbor to load Tomahawk land-attack missiles, the guided-missile destroyer proceeded to the Yellow Sea for Exercise Sharem 2000—a joint U.S. and South Korean naval exercise—in late January. On the 30th, the warship visited Chinhae, South Korea, and over the next two weeks also stopped at Yokosuka and Nagasaki, Japan. She then sailed south through the Taiwan Strait, made a three-day port visit to Hong Kong, and then commenced a South China Sea exercise with units of the Philippine Navy.

    In early March, Decatur visited Malaysia and Guam before sailing south across the Equator to Fiji in April. After visits to American Samoa, and numerous ports in Australia, the guided missile destroyer returned to San Diego on 8 June.

    Following upkeep and voyage repairs, the warship operated locally out of San Diego for the rest of the year.


    In February 2001, Decatur began various battle group and missile training off the West Coast. Following the terrorist plane hijackings and crashes in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania on 11 September, the Destroyer put to sea for Operation NOBLE EAGLE in southern California waters. Returning to San Diego on the 23d, the warship spent seven weeks preparing for her deployment with the USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) battle group on 12 November.

    The warships steamed west and, after stops at Hong Kong and Singapore, transited the Strait of Malacca on 11 December. Sailing northwest into the Indian Ocean, the battlegroup moved into Central Commands AOR to participate in Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, in Afghanistan. Decatur remained with the USS Peleliu (LHA-5) Amphibious Ready Group for the rest of the year.


    Between 17 December 2001 and 16 April 2002, Decatur escorted the USS Peleliu (LHA-5) Amphibious Ready Group—during which time her security team boarded three merchant ships (including one non-compliant boarding of M/V Francisco Dagohoy on 10 April—in support of Maritime Interdiction Operations. During this period, the warship made three short port visits to Manama, Bahrain. Departing the region on 2 May, the warship sailed for home, stopping in Phuket, Thailand; Bali, Indonesia; Dili, East Timor; Apra, Guam; and Pearl Harbor before arriving in San Diego on 8 June 2002. Decatur spent the rest of the year in upkeep or training out of San Diego.


    The Decatur departed on their third deployment overall, and second deployment to the Persian Gulf, in August 2003. She made stops in Pearl Harbor and Singapore before arriving in the Persian Gulf. The Decatur made a port visit to the Seychelles for four days in November. In December 2003, the Decatur seized a 40-foot dhow on 15 December, discovering an estimated two tons of narcotics allegedly linked to an al-Qaeda smuggling operation. The drugs had an estimated street value of 8 to 10 million dollars.[2]


    In May 2004, Decatur moved dead-stick to dry-dock, its first dry-dock period since construction.


    From May through June 2005, Decatur made a series of port visits to the Northwestern United States, including visits to Port Hueneme, Victoria British Columbia, and the Portland Rose Festival.


    In January 2006, Decatur departed for her fourth deployment (third to the Persian Gulf) as part of a Carrier Strike Group, led by the USS Ronald Reagan. Throughout the deployment, she conducted Maritime Security Operations in the Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf; participated in three major ASW exercises (including Arabian Shark and Valiant Shield); and as part of the Coalition Task Force (CTF) 473, conducted operations with the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in support of OEF. Her port visits were Australia, Malaysia, Bahrain (2x), Oman, Thailand, and Hong Kong. She stopped in Hawai'i to pick up civilians for a Tiger Cruise on her return to homeport in July.


    On 16 February 2007, Decatur was awarded the 2006 Battle "E" award.[3]

    In June 2007, Decatur tested her Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System by launching a RIM-161 Standard (SM-3). It was the first such test from a US Aegis Destroyer.[4]


    On 27 May 2008, Decatur departed on her fifth deployment overall, and fourth deployment to the Persian Gulf. She spent a significant amount of time in 7th Fleet, stopping in Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore before proceeding in to the 5th Fleet Area for duties. Departing 5th Fleet in September she transitted east, stopping in Phuket and Hawaii prior to her return to San Diego in November 2008.


    Decatur deployed from May until November, 2009. She visited Guam, Japan, Singapore, Bahrain, Dubai, and Thailand.


    French Navy helicopter lands on USS Decatur's flight deck.

    On 1 Dec 2010 Shanti Sethi was promoted from Executive Officer to Commander. She is the 12th female commander in the U.S. Navy.

    Up to its disbandment in 2011, the ship routinely deployed with Carrier Strike Group Seven.


    On 26 May 2012 CDR Joel A. Ellingson was promoted from Executive Officer to Commanding Officer of Decatur.


    On Tuesday, April 2, 2013, the USS Decatur was sent to the Western Pacific near the Korean Peninsula, to join another destroyer, the USS McCain, in response to growing threats and an increase in belligerent statements and actions by North Korea's leadership, which were made following the beginning of a joint U.S.-South Korean military drill operation and also as a result of new sanctions which were issued after it launched a rocket and then tested a nuclear bomb underground. Among these new threats were: the planned re-activation of the Yongbyon nuclear reactor, the closure of the Kaesong industrial plant along the border, a declaration that the armistice that ended the 1950s Korean War was invalid, the disconnecting of an emergency hotline to the South's leadership- perhaps the last direct communications link to the South, and putting missile batteries on standby mode to potentially strike South Korea and/or U.S. bases in Okinawa, Japan and the Pacific). A third warship, the USS Fitzgerald, is also available, if need be, and radar is being deployed to the area. As a show of force and as part of the drills, the U.S. has sent bombers and other aircraft (including the B-2 stealth bomber, capable of carrying conventional or nuclear weapons), to the region, and both South Korea and the U.S. have pledged to vigorously defend themselves.[5]


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