USS Fitzgerald returns
The USS Fitzgerald passes North Island Naval Air Station on Tuesday morning. Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Maria Llanos

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald returned to Naval Base San Diego Tuesday after a seven-month deployment that spanned the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea.

The Fitzgerald departed San Diego on Jan. 3 as part of the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group before detaching to conduct independent operations.

In the final weeks of its deployment, the destroyer fired a Standard Missile 3 in the exercise Pacific Dragon off Kauai in the Hawaiian Islands. The SM3 missile successfully intercepted a short range ballistic missile in a test of the destroyer’s defenses.

“We operated successfully across a wide spectrum of operations with allies and partners around the world and displayed the immense capability of Fitzgerald sailors and the U.S. Navy,” said Cmdr. David Catterall, the warship’s commanding officer.

Among the allied Navies whose ships joined in exercises with the Fitzgerald were those of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka, Australia and Japan.

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