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USS Essex Completes Dry Docking Availability

27 September 2023

From Petty Officer 2nd Class Brett McMinoway, USS Essex-LHD 2 Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO - Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) undocked from the Pride of California Dry Dock at BAE Systems in San Diego, Sept. 8.
Amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) prepares to depart the Pride of California Dry Dock, BAE Systems, San Diego, Sept. 8, 2023.
Amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) prepares to depart the Pride of California Dry Dock, BAE Systems, San Diego, Sept. 8, 2023. Essex is dry docked in San Diego conducting a maintenance period to upgrade and refurbish many key systems aboard. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Brian P. Caracci)
Amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) prepares to depart the Pride of California Dry Dock, BAE Systems, San Diego, Sept. 8, 2023.
230908-N-GV721-1103
Amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) prepares to depart the Pride of California Dry Dock, BAE Systems, San Diego, Sept. 8, 2023. Essex is dry docked in San Diego conducting a maintenance period to upgrade and refurbish many key systems aboard. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Brian P. Caracci)
Photo By: MCC Brian P. Caracci
VIRIN: 230908-N-GV721-1010


Essex underwent a 12-month maintenance period to upgrade and refurbish many key systems aboard.

“While no Sailor prefers to be in the dry dock over salty breezes at sea, it is apparent that the crew here has used their time well,” said Rear Adm. Randall Peck, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 3. “The ship is looking fantastic and I’m excited to see this crew get back to sea in the near term.”

Amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) prepares to depart the Pride of California Dry Dock, BAE Systems, San Diego, Sept. 8, 2023.
Amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) prepares to depart the Pride of California Dry Dock, BAE Systems, San Diego, Sept. 8, 2023. Essex is dry docked in San Diego conducting a maintenance period to upgrade and refurbish many key systems aboard. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Brian P. Caracci)
Amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) prepares to depart the Pride of California Dry Dock, BAE Systems, San Diego, Sept. 8, 2023.
230908-N-GV721-1103
Amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) prepares to depart the Pride of California Dry Dock, BAE Systems, San Diego, Sept. 8, 2023. Essex is dry docked in San Diego conducting a maintenance period to upgrade and refurbish many key systems aboard. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Brian P. Caracci)
Photo By: MCC Brian P. Caracci
VIRIN: 230908-N-KF697-1028


The ship undocked following a change of command ceremony in August where Capt. Wayne Liebold relieved Capt. Aaron Taylor as commanding officer of Essex. Capt. Taylor led Essex through eleven months of her availability. He explained at the ceremony, which took place under the propellers of Essex in the dry dock basin, why a maintenance period is arguably the most challenging time in a ship’s life.

“We were able to overcome challenges inherent to the repair and modernization of a 30-year-old steam ship,” said Taylor. “We’re dedicated to making Essex the most sea worthy, survivable, and lethal than ever, and I think she looks pretty good too.”



Leaving the dry dock was a key milestone in the ships Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) dry docking selected restricted availability (DSRA). The ship returned to her homeport on Naval Base San Diego, where contractors and Sailors continue upgrades and maintenance pier-side.

Capt. Taylor was remorseful that he would not be with Essex as she finishes the maintenance period and returns to operations at sea. He expressed how extremely optimistic he is about the future of Essex with Capt. Liebold leading the ship and crew to remain a powerful and visible strategic asset vital to our national defense.

“I’m honored to lead this legendary ship and her remarkable crew,” said Liebold. “Our mission is vital and we are trusted with preparing Essex for any challenge. Let’s remember Fleet Admiral Nimitz’ words, ‘the function of the Navy is to carry the war to the enemy so it’s not fought on American soil’. By bringing Essex back to its operational best we’re continuing this legacy.”

For more news from USS Essex, follow us on Facebook and Instagram at https://www.facebook.com/USSESSEX, https://www.instagram/com/ussessex_lhd2, or visit https://www.surfpac.navy.mil/lhd2/
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