USS Ticonderoga To Make Final Deployment Before Decommissioning

The USS Ticonderoga will leave its homeport at Naval Station Pascagoula on Wednesday for its final deployment. The ship is scheduled to be decommissioned on Sept. 30.

The ship will conduct counter-drug operations in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, and later participate in UNITAS operations off the coast of South America.

UNITAS is an annual series of multinational training exercises and operations conducted by the Navy, Marine Corps, Special Operations and U.S. Coast Guard forces with their counterparts from South and Central American countries of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

The Ticonderoga is an Aegis guided-missile cruiser, one of three assigned to Destroyer Squadron 6, home-ported at Pascagoula.

Ticonderoga was built in Pascagoula, commissioned in January 1983, and was the first ship of the AEGIS guided-missile cruiser class. It was the world's first surface combatant equipped with the AEGIS combat system, the most sophisticated air defense in the world.

The current Ticonderoga is the fifth U.S. Navy ship to bear its historic name. The ship is named in commemoration of the capture of Fort Ticonderoga, on Lake Champlain in eastern New York, in May 1775, by Ethan Allen and his "Green Mountain Boys.''

One of the first military successes of the American Revolution, the seizure provided desperately needed cannons and supplies to George Washington's army.

The Ticonderoga is commanded by Cmdr. Glenn W. Zeiders III.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)