Navy ships set to arrive in San Diego Thursday - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Navy ships set to arrive in San Diego Thursday

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Two Navy ships will return to Naval Base San Diego on Thursday following separate deployments to the Western Pacific Ocean, the Navy announced Tuesday.

The guided missile cruiser USS Cowpens and the guided missile destroyer USS Spruance are each scheduled to return Thursday morning, according to Naval Surface Forces Public Affairs Office.

The 567-foot Cowpens and its crew of 400 deployed in September. In November, it provided humanitarian help in the Philippines following Super Typhoon Haiyan.

"I am very proud of the accomplishments of the crew," said Capt. Gregory Gombert, Cowpens commanding officer. "As we return home, we all look forward to spending time with loved ones."

Nicknamed the "Mighty Moo," Cowpens is named after the American Revolutionary War battle fought on Jan. 17, 1781, at the "Cowpens" in South Carolina. During the battle, American soldiers defeated a much superior force of British soldiers, giving the American Army the confidence to pursue the British from South Carolina to Yorktown, Va.

The Spruance and its crew of 260 officers and enlisted personnel left San Diego in October for its maiden deployment and spent the time supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

Commissioned more than two years ago, the 509-foot ship is named after Adm. Raymond Spruance, a cruiser division commander who substituted for the ill Adm. William "Bill" Halsey to lead an aircraft carrier task force at the Battle of Midway during World War II.

Spruance and Halsey went on to split command of the Navy's prime carrier strike force in the Pacific in later battles against the Japanese.

Spruance later succeeded Adm. Chester Nimitz as the commander of the Pacific Fleet, led the Naval War College and was the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines. He died in 1969 in Pebble Beach.

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