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300 Sailors Aboard USS Howard Return To San Diego Friday

The guided-missile destroyer USS Howard and its crew of about 300 were expected to return home to San Diego today from a seven-month deployment to the Western Pacific and Middle East.

Howard sailors conducted anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden, took part in a multi-national military exercise in Southeast Asia and participated in community relations events in Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand, according to the Navy.

"The crew of the Howard always put their best foot forward and it showed in the successes that we had throughout deployment,'' said Cmdr. Andree Begmann, the ship's skipper.

The Howard is named in honor of Gunnery Sgt. Jimmie E. Howard, a U.S. Marine who received the Medal of Honor for his leadership of a platoon against a battalion-size Viet Cong force.

Howard, who died in 1993, is buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. According to published reports, when the Howard sets out to sea, it passes within view of Howard's grave and the crew salutes him.

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