The destroyer damaged in a 2017 collision off the coast of Japan that claimed the lives of seven sailors departed this weekend for her homeport in San Diego following more than two years of restoration and modernization.
The USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) collided with the Philippine-flagged container ship MV ACX Crystal on June 17, 2017, about 80 nautical miles southwest of Tokyo. Seven sailors drowned and three more were injured, including the ship’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Bryce Benson.
“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, in a statement. “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.”
The Ingalls Shipbuilding division’s Pascagoula shipyard in Mississippi performed the work, which included repairs to various Hull, Mechanical and Electrical (HM&E), Combat System (CS) and Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C5I) systems.
“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, in the statement.
DDG-62 is assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 1, and the crew will undergo training and certifications upon return to San Diego.
MAIN PHOTO: PASCAGOULA, Miss. (June 13, 2020) The guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) prepares to depart Huntington Ingalls Industries, Ingalls Shipbuilding division’s Pascagoula shipyard June 13 to return to her homeport in San Diego. The sail away reflects more than two years’ worth of effort in restoring and modernizing one of the Navy’s most capable warships after it was damaged during a collision in 2017 that claimed the lives of seven Sailors. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Derek Fountain/Huntington Ingalls Industries /Released)