USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) approaches the pier at Naval Base San Diego, July 2. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Alex Millar)

SAN DIEGO - The guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) arrived at its homeport in San Diego, July 2, following more than two years of restoration and modernization after the warship was damaged during a collision in 2017.

Throughout the restoration period, the U.S. Navy made it a priority to ensure Fitzgerald returned to a peak state of warfighting readiness to contribute to an agile and dynamic fleet.

“Returning Fitzgerald to the fleet has truly been a team effort,” said Cmdr. Scott Wilbur, Fitzgerald’s commanding officer. “I'm incredibly proud of what this crew has done over the last few years, bringing our ship back to the fleet. We're happy to be home in San Diego to continue our training. I'm excited for what lies ahead.”

The Fitzgerald crew completed multiple training and certification events, such as navigation assessment and light off assessment (LOA), to ensure the crew was at peak readiness to operate the ship. The crew also completed 140 simulator hours prior to starting basic phase training. Additionally, Fitzgerald already completed three of the 23 certifications, search and rescue, medical, and anti-terrorism, which are required for all naval surface ships prior to operational tasking.

While in San Diego, the crew will continue to conduct simulator and at-sea training in order to be ready to operate the ship at sea. The ship will complete extensive training and certification through basic, advanced, and integrated phases of training, in strict adherence to the results and recommendations from the SECNAV Readiness Review (SRR) and the Comprehensive Review (CR).

To restore the impacted spaces to full operations and functionality, various hull, mechanical and electrical (HM&E), combat system (CS) and command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C5I) repairs were completed. These repairs ranged from partial to complete refurbishment of impacted spaces, to replacement of equipment such as the radar and electronic warfare suite; the ship also received HM&E, CS and C5I modernization upgrades.

Due to the extent and complexity of the restoration, both repair and new construction procedures were used to accomplish the restoration and modernization efforts.

"The Huntington Ingalls Team in coordination with Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet and Naval Sea Systems Command has ensured USS Fitzgerald is a repaired, modernized and capable warship," said Capt. Jay Clark, Commander, Destroyer Squadron 1, where Fitzgerald is assigned. "The Fighting Fitz' Crew is resilient, competent and ready to succeed in the extensive system validations, training, and certifications needed for follow on high-end operations."

Prior to departing Pascagoula for San Diego, Fitzgerald’s crew began a pre-movement sequester on May 23 in accordance with U.S. Navy pre-deployment guidelines—compliance with Navy and CDC guidance is critical to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

A Sailor aboard USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) throws a line to the pier as the guided-missile destroyer arrives. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Alex Millar)

Crew member Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 3rd Class Caleb Hillman holds his daughter for the first time after the arrival of USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62). (U.S. Navy/MC2 Alex Millar)

USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) transits San Diego Bay, July 2. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Kevin C. Leitner)