Sunday, February 20, 2005

Two New Ships For Yokosuka

Navy officials announced the replacements for two Yokosuka-based ships leaving soon for decommissioning in San Diego, officials said last week. The guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes is expected to depart in April after nearly eight years in Yokosuka. The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Lassen will arrive to replace it around June, Navy officials announced. In June, the Spruance-class destroyer USS Cushing is expected to depart, to be replaced in September by the guided missile destroyer USS Stethem, commissioned in 1995. The ships will bring some of the latest technology to bolster the U.S. Navy’s role in supporting the mutual-defense treaty with Japan, according to Navy leaders. “The big difference is they have a greater combat capability,” said Cmdr. John Wallach, spokesman for Commander, Naval Forces Japan. “Newer, advanced Aegis combat systems and better capabilities.” The Vincennes, the Navy’s first Ticonderoga-class Aegis cruiser to operate in the Pacific Fleet, was commissioned in 1985 and holds a crew of about 362. The Lassen, commissioned in 2001, will bring a crew of 317. The Cushing, commissioned in 1979, carries a crew of 345 and has been based at Yokosuka for eight years. The Stethem carries a crew of 317. The new ships have fewer personnel aboard, and therefore fewer families will be moving to Yokosuka. “Both USS Cushing and USS Vincennes are nearing the end of their service lives,” stated a Navy release. “These ship rotations are part of the Navy’s long-range plan to routinely replace older ships assigned to the Navy’s Forward Deployed Naval Forces with newer or more capable surface combatants.” The new guided-missile destroyers currently are home-ported in San Diego.
The guided missile destroyer USS Lassen

Two new guided missile destroyers will move to Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, this year. The USS Lassen (hull number DDG-82) and USS Stethem (DDG-63), both presently based in San Diego, operate independently as multithreat offensive ships, to screen battle groups, support forces and convoys and perform strike warfare functions against inland targets, according to the Navy. They provide their own air warfare, surface warfare and undersea warfare self-defense. The ships, considered the Navy’s most versatile, are equipped with guided missiles and carry two SH-60 Seahawk helicopters.
In 1980 my Guided Missile Cruiser, USS Worden CG-18 was replaced by the USS Reeves CG-24 in Yokosuka.

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