The USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) set sail on Friday to return to its home port in San Diego after spending over two years being restored and modernized at Huntington Ingalls Industries at their Shipbuilding division in Pascagoula.
The ship was damaged in a collision in 2017 where seven sailors lost their lives.
“Today the ‘Fighting Fitz’ is returning to the Pacific Fleet as one of our nation’s most capable warfighting platforms, marking a significant step in her return to warfighting readiness,” said Rear Adm. Eric Ver Hage, director, Surface Ship Maintenance and Modernization and commander, Navy Regional Maintenance Center.
“The Fitzgerald sailors, our Navy project teams and the men and women of Ingalls put forth a tremendous effort to restore the ship to fighting shape and did so on schedule.”
This was an extensive and complex restoration that required both repair and new construction procedures to restore and modernize the ship. During the project, the U.S. Navy maintained the priority of returning the Fitzgerald to the peak of warfighting readiness, contributing to an agile and dynamic fleet.
Restoring full operations and functionality required extensive repairs on various Hull, Mechanical and Electrical (HM&E), Combat System (CS) and Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C5I). The repairs ranged from partial to complete refurbishment of impacted spaces, to replacement of equipment such as the radar and electronic warfare suite; the ship also received HM&E, Combat System and C5I modernization upgrades.
“Completing repairs and upgrades to Fitzgerald was only possible because of the outstanding teamwork between the government and industry teams over the last 2 1/2 years. My thanks go out to everyone involved in making sure the ship is ready, and I’m especially proud of my crew’s hard work ensuring we are trained and prepared to take our ship back to sea,” said Cmdr. Scott Wilbur, commanding officer of Fitzgerald.
Before leaving Pascagoula the Fitzgerald’s crew began a pre-movement sequester on May 23 in accordance with U.S. Navy pre-deployment guidelines—compliance with Navy and CDC guidance is critical to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
The crew of the Fitzgerald completed numerous training and certification events, including the avigation Assessment and Light Off Assessment (LOA), ensuring the crew is at peak readiness to operate the ship as it returns to homeport.
The Fitzgerald is assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 1. Upon return to her homeport in San Diego, crew training and certifications will commence in support of Basic Phase Training.