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February 15, 2013 / iDriveWarships

Reasons to Love a Hull Swap: Ingenuity, Innovation, Improvement

USS Russell (DDG 59) alongside USS Halsey (DDG 97) for hull swap in San Diego

This week, the guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97) arrived to become part of the team at Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific at Pearl Harbor.

The commanding officers and crews of USS Halsey and USS Russell (DDG 59) executed a smooth ship rotation and thorough turnover last month after accomplishing an extensive availability in San Diego with her original crew. While the ship Halsey is new to the Pearl Harbor waterfront, many of the crewmembers formerly served aboard Russell. Their families are welcoming them home this week to Hawaii, along with about two dozen new crewmembers and families.

Swapping the ship but not the Sailors, an initiative beginning more than a year ago, is an innovative means of cost avoidance achieved by economy-of-scale repairs through mid-life upgrades. Simultaneously, the hull swap provided stability to our Sailors and their families by allowing them to remain in the same homeport.

USS Halsey brings different and, in some areas, improved capabilities to the middle Pacific. Halsey is capable of embarking helicopters, for example, and has improved air defense capabilities. We honor the service and achievements of Russell, and no doubt Hawaii looks forward to the capability improvements of Halsey.

USS Halsey’s namesake is Fleet Adm. William “Bull” Halsey Jr., commander of the U.S. 3rd Fleet in the Pacific War against Imperial Japan. The ship belongs in historic Pearl Harbor, where Admirals Halsey, Spruance and Nimitz once served.

USS Halsey is expected to deploy to 3rd, 7th and 5th Fleet areas of operation in support of Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet. Ships in the Middle Pacific are positioned to protect strategic crossroads, to work with and reassure regional partners, to support humanitarian assistance missions, and to bring advanced combat capabilities if required.

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