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USS Decatur (DDG-73) is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in the United States Navy. She is named for the former naval officer Stephen Decatur, Jr. This ship is the 23rd destroyer of her class. USS Decatur was the 13th ship of this class to be built at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, and construction began on 11 January 1996. She was launched on 10 November 1996 and was christened on 8 November 1996. On 29 August 1998 she was commissioned at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland, Oregon.

Color photo of grey warship at sea
USS Decatur (DDG-73) in 2006
United States
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
Motto: In Pursuit of Peace[1]
Status: in active service
Badge: USS Decatur DDG-73 Crest.png
General characteristics
Class and type: Arleigh Burke-class destroyer
  • 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; 35 mph)
Sensors and
processing systems:
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
Aircraft carried: 1 SH-60 Sea Hawk helicopter can be embarked



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 30 January, 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 off the coast of the San Francisco Bay Area. Returning to San Diego on 23 September, the warship spent seven weeks preparing for her deployment with the John C. Stennis 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 battle group joined Central Command's to participate in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), in Afghanistan. Decatur remained with the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group for the rest of the year.

Between 17 December 2001 and 16 April 2002, Decatur escorted the Peleliu 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.

Decatur departed on her 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. Decatur made a port visit to the Seychelles for four days in November. In December 2003, Decatur seized a 40-foot (12 m) 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, her 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 aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan. Throughout the deployment, she conducted Maritime Security Operations in the Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf; participated in three major anti-submarine warfare exercises (including Arabian Shark and Valiant Shield); and as part of the French-led Task Force 473, conducted Arabian Sea operations with the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. Her port visits were Australia, Malaysia, Bahrain (twice), Oman, Thailand, and Hong Kong. She stopped in Hawaii to pick up civilians for a Tiger Cruise on her return to homeport in July.

Decatur firing a SM-3 missile in 2007

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

Up to her disbandment in 2011, the ship routinely deployed with Carrier Strike Group 7. After that point the ship may have joined Carrier Strike Group 3.[citation needed]

On Tuesday, 2 April 2013, Decatur was sent to the Western Pacific near the Korean Peninsula, to join another destroyer, John S. 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 North Korea 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 Region 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, Fitzgerald, was also made available, and radar was deployed to the area. As a show of force and as part of the drills, the U.S. 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. pledged to vigorously defend themselves.[5][6][7]

On 30 September 2018, Decatur and Chinese destroyer Lanzhou were involved in a near-collision when the two ships came within 50 yards of one another in the South China Sea.[8] The U.S. Navy accused Lanzhou of acting "in an unsafe and unprofessional maneuver in the vicinity of Gaven Reef".[9]

Coat of armsEdit


The shield has background of dark blue. In the center is a red crown. Crossing in the center of the crown is an English officer’s sword and a seax.

The traditional Navy colors were chosen for the shield because dark blue and gold represents the sea and excellence respectively. The seax signifies a series of victories by Stephen Decatur over sea forces of North African terrorist nations. The English officer's sword symbolizes Decatur's victory over HMS Macedonian during the war of 1812 in one of the greatest single ship actions of naval history. The celestial crown symbolizes anti-air warfare capabilities. The crown has five mullets for each of the ships named Decatur. It also represents Stephen Decatur's engagements against the British during the war of 1812. The color gold represents excellence, while scarlet denotes courage and sacrifice.


The crest consists of a ship’s mast and sail with a flying pennant.

The ship's mast and sail represent the heritage of the Decatur name and the Navy of Stephen Decatur's time, with the first vessel to bear his name. The mast is also in reference to the traditional pine construction of the vessels of Decatur's Navy times. The pennant is to symbolize the senior naval authority which was earned by Commodore Stephen Decatur.


The motto is written on a scroll of white that has a blue reverse side.

The ships motto is "In Pursuit of Peace".


The coat of arms in full color as in the blazon, upon a white background enclosed within a dark blue oval border edged on the outside with a gold rope and bearing the inscription "USS Decatur" at the top and "DDG 73" in the base all gold.


  1. ^ "Official USS Decatur DDG-73 Website". Retrieved 2 April 2011.
  2. ^ Starr, Barbara; Courson, Paul (19 December 2003). "U.S. links al Qaeda to Persian Gulf drug boat". CNN. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  3. ^ Ludwick, Paula M. (19 February 2007). "Surface Force Ships, Crews Earn Battle 'E'". Fleet Public Affairs, Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Pacific. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  4. ^ "AEGIS Destroyer Demonstrates Unique Anti-Missile Capability". Defense Update. 3 July 2007. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  5. ^ "North Korea in 'state of war' with South". Al Jazeera English. 31 March 2013. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  6. ^ "US Navy shifts destroyer in wake of North Korea missile threats". NBC World News. 31 March 2013. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  7. ^ Boghani, Priyanka (2 April 2013). "US sends second warship to Asia-Pacific as tensions rise with North Korea". GlobalPost. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  8. ^
  9. ^

External linksEdit