The USS Fitzgerald will be heading to Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula to repair the damage from a June collision with a container ship of the coast of Japan.
Seven members of the Fitzgerald’s crew were killed and several others were injured.
“Ingalls and all of its employees regret the tragic circumstances that will bring the ship to Pascagoula,” said Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias, “but it is an honor and a privilege to work with the Navy to return the ship to the fleet in the shortest time possible.”
Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker released a news release about the Navy’s decision to drydock the USS Fitzgerald in Pascagoula. “In looking to Ingalls for the rehabilitation of the Fitzgerald, our Navy has chosen wisely,” Sen. Wicker wrote. “Mississippi shipbuilders completed repairs on the USS Cole in 2002, and I have every confidence we will achieve the same success with the Fitzgerald, enabling the ship to return to duty as soon as possible. Given the constraints already on the Navy’s fleet, restoring the USS Fitzgerald cannot come soon enough.”
Sen. Thad Cocharn said, “I am confident our fine shipbuilders in Mississippi will undertake the repair of the USS Fitzgerald with diligence and a good measure of patriotism. Getting this destroyer back in service will show the world the resilience of the U.S. Navy.”
Bringing the Fitzgerald to Pascagoula continues Ingalls’ history of repairing Navy ships. The shipyard also repaired the frigate USS Stark (FFG 31) after it was struck by missiles from an Iraqi jet during the Iran-Iraq War in 1987 and 37 Navy personnel were killed and 21 injured. The shipyard also repaired the USS Cole (DDG 67), a guided missile destroyer in the same class as Fitzgerald, which was bombed in a terrorist attack against in 2000 while it was being refueled in the Yemen harbor. Seventeen sailors were killed and 39 injured.
The Fitzgerald was built at Bath Iron Works in Maine and launched in January 1994.
It’s been a busy week for Ingalls Shipbuilding, which redelivered the Arleigh Burke-class (DDG 51) guided missile destroyer USS Ramage (DDG 61) to the U.S. Navy on Monday, four days ahead of schedule. The ship, built by Ingalls and delivered to the Navy in 1995, arrived in Pascagoula in November for overhaul and modernization work.
Ingalls Shipbuilding also announced this week the successful completion of acceptance sea trials for the amphibious transport dock Portland (LPD 27).