USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) underway in 2012
|Namesake:||William Charles Fitzgerald|
|Ordered:||22 February 1990|
|Builder:||Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine|
|Laid down:||9 February 1993|
|Launched:||29 January 1994|
|Sponsored by:||Betty Ann Fitzgerald|
|Christened:||29 January 1994|
|Commissioned:||14 October 1995|
|Motto:||"Protect Your People"|
|Nickname(s):||"Fighting Fitz", "Fightin' Fitz"|
|Status:||Undergoing repairs after a 2017 accident.|
|Class and type:||Arleigh Burke-class destroyer|
|Length:||505 ft (154 m)|
|Beam:||66 ft (20 m)|
|Draft:||31 ft (9.4 m)|
|Propulsion:||4 General Electric LM2500-30 gas turbines, two shafts, 100,000 total shaft horsepower (75 MW)|
|Speed:||>30 knots (56 km/h)|
|Sensors and |
|Electronic warfare |
|Aircraft carried:||2 Sikorsky MH-60R helicopters can be embarked|
In the early morning hours of 17 June 2017, the ship was involved in a collision with the container ship MV ACX Crystal, seriously damaging the destroyer. Seven of her crew were killed. Several others were injured, including her commanding officer, Commander Bryce Benson.
Fitzgerald's keel was laid down by Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, 9 February 1993; launched 29 January 1994; sponsored by Betty A. Fitzgerald, widow of the late Lt. Fitzgerald; and commissioned 14 October 1995, in Newport, Rhode Island. The ship was then homeported in Naval Base San Diego, California.
In early April 2004, Navy officials announced plans to deploy Fitzgerald, 14 other destroyers, and three cruisers to counter ballistic missile threats worldwide. The next month, she took part in a personnel exchange known as "Super Swap", taking aboard 141 sailors from the destroyer O'Brien and transferring 95 to join the soon-to-be-decommissioned ship's decomissioning unit. Fitzgerald sailed to Yokosuka Naval Base in Yokosuka, Japan, arriving on 30 September 2004, and joining the U.S. 7th Fleet's Destroyer Squadron 15.
In March 2011, in company with the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan, Fitzgerald was deployed off northeastern Honshu, Japan, to assist with relief efforts after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.
On 16 November 2011, while docked in Manila, Philippines, Fitzgerald hosted US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario to sign the Manila Declaration, which called for multilateral talks to resolve maritime disputes and to mark the 60th anniversary of the American–Philippine Mutual Defense Treaty.
On 1 June 2017, Fitzgerald, operating out of Yokosuka Naval Base, was noted for participating in routine exercises with Japan that were described in the media as a show of force to North Korea. She sailed with the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan, the cruiser Shiloh, and the destroyers Barry, McCampbell, and Mustin, joined by the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, cruiser Lake Champlain, and destroyers Wayne E. Meyer and Michael Murphy, and Japanese ships Hyūga and Ashigara.
About 1:30 a.m. on 17 June 2017, Fitzgerald collided with ACX Crystal, a Philippine-flagged container ship measured at 29,060 gross tons and almost 40,000 tons deadweight. Most of Fitzgerald's crew of about 300 were asleep at the time. The collision occurred about 56 nautical miles (104 kilometres; 64 miles) southwest of her homeport of Yokosuka, Japan.
The starboard side of Fitzgerald was seriously damaged. The container ship's bulbous bow penetrated the destroyer's hull below the waterline, flooding a machinery space, the radio room, and two crew berthing spaces. The captain's cabin was crushed. Seven crewmen were reported missing after the collision, but their bodies were found the next day after rescue workers gained access to flooded compartments. The injured include the ship's commanding officer and two sailors.
Within a day of the collision, investigations were begun by the United States Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, Japanese Coast Guard, Japan Transport Safety Board, and the insurers of the Crystal. The U.S. Navy's Manual of the Judge Advocate General (JAGMAN) investigation concerns the crew's operations, and is led by Rear Adm. Brian Fort, a former commander of USS Gonzalez, who now commands Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific. The U.S. and Japanese coast guards are investigating the cause of the accident.
Including costs for planned service life extension and other upgrades, repairs for the damage to Fitzgerald are expected to run about $367 million, exceeding the cost for repairs to the USS Cole (DDG-67) inflicted in the 2000 bombing by more than double, and will take over a year. Repairs on the ship will overlap with planned service life extension and electronics upgrade, but despite the need to replace portions of the ship’s AEGIS system the ship will remain in "a legacy configuration instead of upgrading to Baseline 9".
On 17 August 2017, the two senior officers and the senior enlisted sailor in charge of the naval vessel were relieved of their duties. The Navy planned to discipline up to a dozen sailors, including the commanding officer, for watchstanding failures that allowed the fatal collision.
It was announced in October that the vessel would not be upgraded to the latest version of the Aegis system.
On 28 November 2017, the destroyer was further damaged by two punctures to her hull during the loading process to the MV Transshelf, compelling her to return to Yokosuka for the punctures to be repaired.
Fitzgerald arrived at the Port of Pascagoula in Mississippi on 19 January 2018, aboard the heavy-lift transport M/V Transshelf, after a two month journey from Japan. She will spend a few days in the port, being lifted off the transport and readied for her trip to the Huntington Ingalls Industries shipyard, where she will commence an estimated two year repair.
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- Repair for USS Fitzgerald After Collision Will Cost More Than Fix to USS Cole After Terror Attack - News.USNI.org, 27 July 2017
- U.S. Navy Won’t Upgrade USS Fitzgerald to Baseline 9 Aegis Combat System - News.USNI.org, 16 October 2017
- U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs (17 August 2017). "7th Fleet Announces USS Fitzgerald Accountability Determinations". U.S. Navy. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
- "Sailors to be Disciplined". Navy Times. Retrieved December 5, 2017.
- "Huntington Ingalls Industries Selected to Repair Guided Missile Destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62)". Huntington Ingalls Industries. 23 August 2017. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
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- "Crippled US destroyer damaged by transport ship". CNN. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
- Lardieri, Alexa (November 28, 2017). "USS Fitzgerald Suffers More Damage". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved December 5, 2017.
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- Dortch, Debbie (5 February 2012). "SECNAV Names 2012 Outstanding Food Service Ney Award Winners". U.S. Navy. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
- This article includes information collected from the Naval Vessel Register, which, as a U.S. government publication, is in the public domain.
- Davies, Alex (16 June 2017). "A Navy Destroyer Collided With a Container Ship—Here's What Likely Happened". Wired.
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