The guided-missile destroyer USS Bainbridge is sailing back to Virginia after a seven-month deployment that included the dramatic rescue of an American ship captain held by pirates.

The Bainbridge is due back Monday at Naval Station Norfolk, where a welcome-home party of family and friends is expected to cheer on Cmdr. Frank Castellano and his crew of 300.

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In April, the Bainbridge responded when the merchant vessel Maersk Alabama was seized by pirates off the coast of Africa. The merchant ship's captain, Richard Phillips, was held hostage for several days in a lifeboat before Navy SEAL snipers aboard the Bainbridge shot and killed three pirates and rescued Phillips.

The Bainbridge also protected another American vessel, Liberty Sun, from a pirate attack.