Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 8:34 PM on Wednesday, June 8, 2011

USS Decatur, crew arrive today for four-day visit here

By Michael Armstrong
Staff Writer

USS Decatur, DDG-73, an Arleigh-Burke class guided missile destroyer, arrives in Homer today for a four-day visit. Based in San Diego, Calif., Decatur recently returned from a seven-month deployment in the western Pacific Ocean.

Because of heightened security conditions, no open house or public tours of Decatur will be held during her visit. Harbormaster Bryan Hawkins said armed guards will be enforcing security at the Deep Water Dock, with access to the dock prohibited. Oil containment booms also will be placed around Decatur. Mariners are asked to stay 500 yards away from Decatur.

American Legion Post 16 holds a halibut and burger cookout tonight for sailors from Decatur. The Homer trolley picks up crew members about 5 p.m. today. People interested in volunteering for the cookout should show up about 3 p.m., said legion historian Bill Sheldon, or call the post at 235-8864.

The Homer Chamber of Commerce has provided Decatur staff with a list of activities to do in the Homer area, said Monte Davis, executive director.

Built by Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, Decatur was launched in November 1996 and commissioned in August 1998. Named after naval hero Stephen Decatur, she is the fifth naval vessel to bear his name.

Decatur has had five deployments to the Persian Gulf since being commissioned and served in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

Cmdr. Shanti Sethi assumed command of Decatur in 2010. An Indian-American born and raised in the U.S., her father is from New Delhi and married an American woman.

Decatur visited Chennai, India, last March, where Sethi and other women sailors spoke to Indian college and high school students for Women's History Month.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.