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Ships in Nimitz Strike Group Surface Action Group depart

Sailors from four guided-missile destroyers in the Nimitz Strike Group Surface Action Group (SAG), will depart for a Western Pacific deployment on Monday.

San Diego-based USS Higgins (DDG 76), USS Stockdale (DDG 106), USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110), and Commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 23 will join Everett, Wash.-based USS Shoup (DDG 86), already under way.

The SAG will deploy with approximately 1,200 Sailors and will focus on maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts, which help establish conditions for regional stability.

The Nimitz Strike Group is led by Rear Adm. Pete Gumataotao, Commander, Carrier Strike Group 11, a 1981 graduate of the United States Naval Academy.

"We've had very rigorous training and certification to prepare us to execute any mission," Gumataotao said, "I'm very confident in Warrior Team 11 and especially DESRON 23 Sailors - they will do us proud."

Today, in a separate announcement, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert announced that Gumataotao has been nominated for promotion to rear admiral (upper half) and will be assigned as assistant deputy chief of naval operations for operations, plans and strategy in Washington, D.C.

In November 2012, the Navy announced a delay in deployment as the result of an emergency maintenance requirement for USS Nimitz (CVN 68) related to her cooling pumps. This delay does not affect the Nimitz Strike Group SAG deployment.

U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Eastern Pacific from the West Coast of North America to the international date line and is responsible for providing realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy.

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