Maiden voyage: USS John Finn transits Panama Canal

USS John Finn (DDG 113) transits the Panama Canal as part of its maiden voyage to its homeport of San Diego, California. Photo: US Navy

Future USS John Finn (DDG 113), the U.S. Navy’s 63rd Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and the first of the DDG 51 Flight IIA restart ships, has transited the Panama Canal on her maiden voyage from Mississippi to Hawaii.

Launched on March 28, 2015, and christened on May 2, 2015, John Finn sailed away from Ingalls Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, on June 2, 2017.

Two days after leaving Mississippi, the ship held its first steel beach picnic, followed by a brief stop in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for fuel.

After Cuba, John Finn called on Cartagena, Colombia, for its first official port visit, where the crew enjoyed amenities offered by the local nationals. On Friday, June 9, Rear Adm. Sean Buck, Commander, U.S. 4th Fleet, toured the ship, welcoming the crew to the area of operations.

The following evening, the crew hosted Colombian naval officers and midshipmen, continuing to strengthen the long-standing partnership between the United States and Colombia.

Shortly after departing Cartagena, John Finn continued its westward journey, linking up with a sister ship, USS Rafael Peralta (DDG 115), to travel through the Panama Canal on June 13. Rafael Peralta was built at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, and like John Finn, is sailing west to its homeport of San Diego, California. The two ships are part of the Flight IIA restart initiative, and together were able to practice communications, maneuvering, and camaraderie during their transit.

Part of U.S. 3rd Fleet and U.S. Naval Surface Forces, John Finn was placed in commission on June 2, 2017 and is scheduled to have a commissioning ceremony at U.S. Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, July 15, 2017.

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