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2 Navy destroyers to deploy Friday

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(U.S. Navy)

SAN DIEGO – Two San Diego-based destroyers are scheduled to leave Friday for deployment to the western Pacific Ocean, the Navy announced Wednesday.

The USS Sterett and USS Dewey will deploy with embarked helicopter detachments from Helicopter Maritime Squadrons 49 and 78, which are based at Naval Air Station North Island.

The vessels will make up a surface action group that will be overseen by the Third Fleet throughout the deployment. Normally, ships fall under the command of other fleets as they sail into their geographic areas. The Third Fleet, for example, generally handles vessels east of the International Date Line.

The Navy tried the new concept last year and considered it a successful test.

“We are building upon the successes and applying the lessons learned from the inaugural PACSAG deployment,” said Capt. David Bretz, commander of Destroyer Squadron 31.

The value of a SAG cannot be overstated,” Bretz said. “We are ready and able to support a variety of exercises and missions with our partners and allies in support of maritime stability and security in the Western Pacific.”

The Sterett-Dewey SAG will operate with regional navies to conduct routine patrols, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation activities to enhance regional security and stability, the Navy said.

The Sterett and Dewey returned from their most recent deployments in June 2015, when they spend nine months escorting the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson.