Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
USS Fitzgerald Will Be Transported Stateside For Repairs This Fall
The collision-damaged USS Fitzgerald will be transported via heavy lift ship to the United States this fall to undergo further repairs, the Navy said Tuesday.
The destroyer, which was involved in a June 17 collision with a merchant ship that killed seven U.S. sailors, will be towed stateside between mid-September and the end of October, Cmdr. Clay Doss, 7th Fleet spokesman, told Stars and Stripes.
A repair site has not been confirmed, but the Fitzgerald will remain under 7th Fleet jurisdiction while in the states, Doss said. A small portion of the destroyer’s crew will travel with the ship; however, no decision has been made regarding the remaining crew and their families.
The Navy decided to transport the Fitzgerald back to the U.S. to free up space along Yokosuka’s waterfront for other 7th Fleet ships needing maintenance, Doss said.
“The main reason why the ship was not repaired here is because it would’ve tied up those resources and tied up the dry docks,” he said. “We could do it here; it’s just more cost effective and safer to go through the heavy lift route.”
The investigation into the Fitzgerald collision is ongoing. Last June, the Navy named Rear Adm. Brian Fort as the lead investigator. Fort assumed command of Navy Region Hawaii on Aug 9.
Accidents involving the Fitzgerald and the guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam have put a strain on Yokosuka’s dry dock space. The naval base has six dry docks, two of which have been unexpectedly occupied by the Fitzgerald and the Antietam, which ran aground and spilled roughly 1,100 gallons of hydraulic fluid into Tokyo Bay in January.
A third dry dock is occupied by the USS Blue Ridge, which is undergoing planned maintenance.
In a June interview with Stars and Stripes, Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. Scott Swift said the 7th Fleet would be hard-pressed to keep the Fitzgerald in dry dock long term at Yokosuka.
“I’m concerned about keeping her in dry dock here because that dry dock is critical for us to sustain the ships that are here on the waterfront,” he said.
Doss said work will continue on the Fitzgerald while it remains at Yokosuka. Repair crews continue to remove debris, have put a new patch on the hull and are preparing the ship for its voyage stateside.
A replacement for the Fitzgerald has not yet been named, Doss said. Swift told Stripes in June he is looking for a ship to take over for the destroyer and is considering vessels outside the 7th Fleet. He said he has two candidates in mind but declined to name them.
©2017 the Stars and Stripes. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
The Marine lieutenant colonel who was removed from command of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May is accused of lying to investigators looking into allegations of misconduct, according to a copy of his charge sheet provided to Task & Purpose on Monday.
President Donald Trump just can't stop telling stories about former Defense Secretary James Mattis. This time, the president claims Mattis said U.S. troops were so perilously low on ammunition that it would be better to hold off launching a military operation.
"You know, when I came here, three years ago almost, Gen. Mattis told me, 'Sir, we're very low on ammunition,'" Trump recalled on Monday at the White House. "I said, 'That's a horrible thing to say.' I'm not blaming him. I'm not blaming anybody. But that's what he told me because we were in a position with a certain country, I won't say which one; we may have had conflict. And he said to me: 'Sir, if you could, delay it because we're very low on ammunition.'
"And I said: You know what, general, I never want to hear that again from another general," Trump continued. "No president should ever, ever hear that statement: 'We're low on ammunition.'"
This 400-pound feral hog is one of more than 1,200 that have invaded a Texas Air Force base since 2016
At least one Air Force base is waging a slow battle against feral hogs — and way, way more than 30-50 of them.
A Texas trapper announced on Monday that his company had removed roughly 1,200 feral hogs from Joint Base San Antonio property at the behest of the service since 2016.
In a move that could see President Donald Trump set foot on North Korean soil again, Kim Jong Un has invited the U.S. leader to Pyongyang, a South Korean newspaper reported Monday, as the North's Foreign Ministry said it expected stalled nuclear talks to resume "in a few weeks."
A letter from Kim, the second Trump received from the North Korean leader last month, was passed to the U.S. president during the third week of August and came ahead of the North's launch of short-range projectiles on Sept. 10, the South's Joongang Ilbo newspaper reported, citing multiple people familiar with the matter.
In the letter, Kim expressed his willingness to meet the U.S. leader for another summit — a stance that echoed Trump's own remarks just days earlier.
Constant deployments broke the Air Force's B-1 fleet. Now the service is facing a major bomber shortfall
On April 14, 2018, two B-1B Lancer bombers fired off payloads of Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles against weapons storage plants in western Syria, part of a shock-and-awe response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons against his citizens that also included strikes from Navy destroyers and submarines.
In all, the two bombers fired 19 JASSMs, successfully eliminating their targets. But the moment would ultimately be one of the last — and certainly most publicized — strategic strikes for the aircraft before operations began to wind down for the entire fleet.
A few months after the Syria strike, Air Force Global Strike Command commander Gen. Tim Ray called the bombers back home. Ray had crunched the data, and determined the non-nuclear B-1 was pushing its capabilities limit. Between 2006 and 2016, the B-1 was the sole bomber tasked continuously in the Middle East. The assignment was spread over three Lancer squadrons that spent one year at home, then six month deployed — back and forth for a decade.
The constant deployments broke the B-1 fleet. It's no longer a question of if, but when the Air Force and Congress will send the aircraft to the Boneyard. But Air Force officials are still arguing the B-1 has value to offer, especially since it's all the service really has until newer bombers hit the flight line in the mid-2020s.