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Captain Victorino G. Mercado served as weapons officer and combat systems officer on the USS Antietam (CG54) and was part of the Carl Vison Battle Group during Operation Southern Watch, which enforced the no-fly zone in southern Iraq. He was executive officer on the USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG54) in Japan. Next he commanded the USS Decatur (DDG 73) with the John C. Stennis Battle Group for Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and enfored the United Nations sanctions on Iraq. On his last tour, he was commander for Destroyer Squadron 21 and sea combat commander for the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group.