By Capt. James A. Kirk
Commanding officer, PCU Zumwalt (DDG 1000)
With the last line taken in, PCU Zumwalt (DDG 1000) eased away from the pier and set sail from Bath, Maine, today, to join the Fleet – culminating years of effort by thousands of people. For Zumwalt’s crew, the call over the general announcing system, “Underway, shift colors” signaled the end of more than three years of training across the country in classrooms, labs and on the ship as our Navy’s next generation destroyer was being activated and tested. It marks the beginning of the ship’s life at-sea with Sailors at the helm.
BATH, Maine (Sept. 7, 2016) Facebook Live video from the Navy’s Facebook page of the Navy’s newest and most technologically advanced surface ship, future USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) departing Bath Iron Works to begin its 3-month journey to its new homeport in San Diego. (U.S Navy video/Released)
Since the beginning of 2013, 147 Sailors from across the U.S. and all walks of life have reported for duty to our pre-commissioning unit to train and ready themselves to take DDG-1000 to sea in service to their nation. To walk through the passageways of the mighty Zumwalt and see the diversity and richness of culture reflected in our ship’s Sailors affirms the ideal that inclusion strengthens our Navy as a warfighting force. The warfighters who serve aboard this ship are the living legacy of our namesake, Adm. Elmo R. “Bud” Zumwalt Jr., who dedicated his life to excellence and equality.
Our crew embodies Adm. Zumwalt’s innovative spirit. Each Sailor stands ready to adapt and master our ship’s new technology and provide operational commanders a lethal and precise instrument of naval power. Their technical expertise, teamwork and toughness –forged through training and years of experience at sea –have been on display since the Navy took custody of the ship May 20, 2016. Throughout the summer, our crew smartly executed move aboard, a series of inspections and assessments across the spectrum of operations, an engineering light off assessment and crew certifications without a hitch.
ATLANTIC OCEAN (Dec. 7, 2015) The future USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) is underway for the first time conducting at-sea tests and trials in the Atlantic Ocean. (U.S. Navy video courtesy of General Dynamics Bath Iron Works/Released)
New construction duty is challenging. It is even more so when the ship is the first in a new class with new and advanced technologies being put to sea for the first time. Our crew has taken on every challenge and conquered. These plankowners will be a part of the ship’s legacy for as long as USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) sails. They can take pride in the fact that they began the winning tradition and paved the way for future generations to succeed.
As Vice Adm. Thomas Rowden, commander, Naval Surface Force, said about our team’s resiliency during his August visit to the ship, “Shipbuilding is a tough and frustrating job, and I’m proud of how you’ve been able to not only take care of the ship, but also take care of each other.”
In departing Bath, Maine, the door closed on the first chapter of the Zumwalt’s life. After commissioning in Baltimore, Maryland, on October 15, the ship will sail to its homeport in San Diego, California. Soon after arriving, DDG-1000 will enter a post-delivery industrial availability and mission systems activation period to ready this stealth destroyer for operational testing and its maiden deployment. With all the new technology, there will undoubtedly be challenges along the way, but Zumwalt’s Sailors are exactly the right team to succeed. They are highly skilled technicians and team players who have the toughness to get the job done. I am humbled and privileged to serve alongside these men and women.
Pax Propter Vim – Peace Through Power