Family members watch as the guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin arrives in San Diego after 15 years forward deployed in Japan. Navy photo

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin returned to San Diego after being stationed in Japan for 15 years.

Commissioned in San Diego in 2003, the Mustin spent three years assigned to Destroyer Squadron 23 before being forward deployed with the 7th Fleet in Yokosuka.

The Mustin will be replaced by the USS Ralph Johnson, which is currently homeported in Everett, WA.

While in San Diego, the Mustin will undergo a two-year modernization project.

“Planned maintenance availabilities like these are critical to ensuring ships are maintained and equipped to perform combat-ready tasking when called upon and achieve their expected service life,” said Cmdr. Robert Briggs, commanding officer of the Mustin.

In April, the Mustin shadowed one of China’s two aircraft carriers, and a year ago conducted a freedom-of-navigation mission in an area of the South China Sea claimed by China.

“I couldn’t be more proud of Mustin’s accomplishments,” said Briggs. “As we transition into the maintenance phase over the following months, the crew is focused on upgrading the combat systems and engineering plant, and eventually returning this warship back to sea.”

Forward deployed naval forces improve the ability for the U.S. to protect its interests while reassuring friends and allies of our commitment to peace, stability, and prosperity in the Pacific.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.