Pearl Harbor Welcomes USS Zumwalt

April 08, 2019

More than 77 years ago, the American naval base at Pearl Harbor was the site of a devastating surprise attack that launched the United States into World War II. In the years since, parts of Pearl Harbor have been dedicated as a national memorial while the rest has remained an active naval base. Pearl Harbor is home—whether temporary or permanent—to hundreds of different military vessels of all types. The latest to make a call at Pearl Harbor was USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000), a high-tech destroyer that was launched in October of 2013 and commissioned into service on October 15, 2016.

A New Type of Warship

The keel of USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) was laid down on November 17, 2011

The keel of USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) was laid down on November 17, 2011

USS Zumwalt was ordered as part of a naval program that was started in the early 1990s. Intended to replace the antiquated Iowa-class battleships, which were long out of production, Zumwalt-class destroyers were designed to be able to attack ground forces from near the shore. Though this was the intent, warfare changed quite a lot since the 1990s. Land bombardment was a major part of combat in the Pacific Theater during World War II, and had a place in military strategies since, but the more recent focus on missile-based defenses means the lower-tech land-based weapons which Zumwalt was designed to combat are no longer the primary threat.

Originally intending to commission 32 of the Zumwalt-class destroyers, the Navy cut its order back to just three, and shifted their focus to Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, a more traditional type of vessel that was prevalent before the introduction of USS Zumwalt.

About USS Zumwalt

Official badge of USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000)

Official badge of USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000)

The USS Zumwalt is a $4 billion destroyer designed with 80 vertical launch cells capable of launching Tomahawk and Evolved Sea Sparrow missiles, Vertical Launch Anti-Submarine rockets, and standard missiles. At 610’ long, the high-tech destroyer, which is notable for the unique shape of its hull, is 100’ longer and 13’ wider than the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. She’s named for Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, who served as Chief of Naval Operations during the Vietnam War.

USS Zumwalt at Pearl Harbor

USS Zumwalt’s arrival at Pearl Harbor is part of the destroyer's tour across the Pacific. Departing from her home port in San Diego, Zumwalt set sail on March 8, 2019 toward British Columbia, arriving three days later. The ship and her crew of about 175 remained in Canada for a short time before setting sail for Ketchikan, Alaska. She arrived there on March 23 and almost immediately set off again, this time to make her longest journey across the Pacific in her career. This leg took Zumwalt and her crew to Pearl Harbor, marking the first time she called at the historic Oahu harbor.

USS Zumwalt will remain in Pearl Harbor as part of her tour of the Pacific before continuing on to her next leg, which has not yet been disclosed.

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