USS Zumwalt reaches San Diego homeport

USS Zumwalt steams through San Diego Bay. Photo: US Navy

USS Zumwalt, the U.S. Navy’s next-generation destroyer, completed her maiden voyage reaching the new homeport of San Diego on December 8.

Zumwalt departed Bath Iron Works shipyard Sept. 7 and made several port visits to eastern U.S. Navy fleet concentration areas, such as Norfolk and Mayport, Florida.

The nearly four-month transit was not without trouble for the first-of-class warship, however.

What caused problems for the destroyer were seawater leaks in the propulsion motor drive lube oil auxiliary system.

The lube oil coolers left the ship without power twice, first time in October when the destroyer was in Norolk and the second time in November during its Panama Canal transit.

After experiencing a breakdown while transiting the Panama Canal on November 21 the ship was first towed to the former U.S. naval base Rodman and later moved to Balboa, Panama for repairs.

USS Zumwalt resumed her journey on November 30.

“We have looked forward to pulling in to San Diego for a long time,” said USS Zumwalt commanding officer Capt. James A. Kirk, about the crew’s excitement to arrive in San Diego. “I can’t express enough, how proud I am of the crew’s hard work in bringing Zumwalt to the West Coast.”

The crewmembers of Zumwalt now have the opportunity to serve and train with other San Diego sailors before they integrate into the surface fleet.

Named for Adm. Elmo R. “Bud” Zumwalt Jr., former chief of naval operations (CNO) from 1970 to 1974, the Zumwalt-class destroyer features a new electric propulsion system, a wave-piercing tumblehome hull and stealth design.

The USS Zumwalt will unfortunately not be firing its 155 mm Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP) as the shells for the weapon turned out to be too expensive due to the declining number of destroyers that are to be built. According to a Defense News report, a single LRLAP round ended up costing around $800,000.

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