Hawaii welcomes USS Halsey

USS Halsey (DDG 97) arrives at its new homeport at Pearl Harbor. Photo courtesy of USS Halsey

USS Halsey (DDG 97) arrives at its new homeport at Pearl Harbor. Photo courtesy of USS Halsey

Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific Public Affairs

The guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97) arrived Feb 14 at its new home port of Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam after a successful “hull swap” with USS Russell (DDG 59) in San Diego in January. Halsey joins 10 other surface ships of Commander, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific. Russell is now homeported at Naval Base San Diego.

Halsey and Russell turned over their respective administrative and maintenance responsibilities last month, then executed a hull swap and exchanged commands. Hull swaps, or ship rotations, are part of the Navy’s long-term plan to routinely continue upgrading the fleet.

Rear Adm. Frank Ponds, commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, welcomed Halsey and the return of the former Russell crew to Hawaii.

“I congratulate Cmdr. Gary Cave (CO of Halsey), Cmdr. Mike Weeldreyer (CO of Russell) and their crews on a smooth ship rotation-perfectly executed,” said Ponds. “We are glad to have Halsey home here in Hawaii, part of our MIDPAC waterfront team, ready to operate forward.”

Ponds said Halsey is expected to deploy in the future to provide maritime security and forward presence in the western Pacific.

“It is clear that we are committed to rebalancing forces to the Asia-Pacific. All U.S. Navy ships in the Middle Pacific, including USS Halsey and her crew, protect strategic crossroads and are well positioned to work with, and reassure, regional partners and to bring advanced combat capabilities if required,” Ponds said.

Halsey joins Commander, Destroyer Squadron 31, led by Commodore Capt. Wallace Lovely.

“Hull swaps like this are the Navy’s way to innovatively and efficiently upgrade capabilities of our older ships and at the same time optimize capabilities of platforms,” Lovely said.

“This is important in these lean fiscal times,” Lovely added. “Halsey brings strong warfighting and theater security cooperation capabilities to our team.”

As a flight 2A destroyer, Halsey can embark helicopters to provide more robust response when it deploys.

Capt. Gary Cave, Halsey commanding officer, commended the men and women of Russell and Halsey for making the hull swap a success.

“Since January 25, when we concluded the hull swap, we have focused on getting to know the nuances of our new ship, especially during our time underway. This Halsey team has shown tremendous commitment, initiative and focus throughout the process,” Cave said.

“We are extremely grateful for the continued support and understanding of our Russell-Halsey families and friends throughout this process. We all look forward to getting back home to Hawaii and introducing Halsey to the Pearl Harbor waterfront,” he said.

Halsey was commissioned July 30, 2005 at Naval Station North Island and is named after U.S.

Naval Academy graduate Fleet Adm. William “Bull” Halsey Jr., who commanded the U.S. 3rd Fleet during much of the Pacific War against Imperial Japan.

USS Halsey provides deterrence, promotes peace and security, preserves freedom of the sea and assists in humanitarian/disaster responses in support of Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet.

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