PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - The USS Fitzgerald took another step towards returning to the fleet as a combat-cable ship Tuesday at the Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula. The ship successfully launched and moored pier-side, which is a milestone achievement in its complex repair and restoration process.
“The complexity of this overhaul has been challenging, but our planning team at Bath Iron Works and waterfront team at HII is executing repairs and installing upgrades so that Fitzgerald returns to our Sailors lethal and mission-ready,” said Rear Adm. Jim Downey, deputy commander for surface warfare and commander at the Navy Regional Maintenance Center.
Tuesday’s achievement reflects more than a year’s worth of effort in restoring and modernizing what is considered one of the U.S. Navy’s most capable warships.
“We’re excited to have the ship back in the water, where we can begin outfitting and testing efforts in support of getting the ship and crew back underway,” Rear Adm. Downey said.
Since the ship’s arrival in Pascagoula in January 2018, work has focused on restoring the integrity of the hull and topside structures that were damaged during a collision in 2017 that claimed the lives of seven sailors.
Several different types of repairs were needed for the ship. These repairs range from partial to complete refurbishment of impacted spaces to replacement of equipment such as the radar and electronic warfare suite. The ship is also receiving modernization upgrades.
“This undocking is a step forward and brings us that much closer to getting Fitzgerald back out to sea, where the ship belongs,” said Cmdr. Garrett Miller, Fitzgerald’s commanding officer. “I’m proud of this crew’s hard work over the past year and look forward returning to the fleet with enhanced warfighting capability and lethality.”