USS Milius to deploy Monday

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SAN DIEGO — The guided-missile destroyer USS Milius is scheduled to leave San Diego Monday to take part in a naval exercise and deploy to the western Pacific Ocean, the Navy said Friday.

The Navy separately announced that the 505-foot-long ship will be one of two San Diego-based vessels that will be transferred to Japan.

The exercise will take place between Monday and Oct. 31 off the coast of Southern California, and will also involve vessels from Canada and Japan.

A similar vessel, the guided-missile destroyer USS Wayne E Meyer, is set to return to San Diego Monday from a seven-month deployment.

The Milius is named for Navy Capt. Paul L. Milius, who ordered his seven fellow crew members to bail out as he held their badly damaged aircraft steady before it crashed over Laos in 1968. All seven were later rescued but Milius was declared missing in action.

His body never recovered and he was later presumed killed in action. The aircraft was damaged by enemy fire. Milius was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously in 1978.

The transfer of the Milius to the U.S. base at Yokosuka, Japan, is set to take place in 2017, part of a shuffling of home ports that will place ships that have recently been overhauled and received technological upgrades closer to Asia.

The San Diego-based guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold will also be moved to Japan, but sooner, in the summer next year.

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