SAN DIEGO – USS Spruance (DDG 111), the newest destroyer to join the Navy’s Pacific Fleet, arrived in its homeport of San Diego for the first time Oct. 24.
"The majority of Spruance's crew has been preparing for this day for over two years," said Cmdr. Tate Westbrook, Commanding Officer, USS Spruance. "Bringing a new Navy Destroyer to life with a new crew is the most challenging ‘start-up’ project imaginable in any profession. This superb crew has set the processes in place for running this ship successfully that have already earned Spruance numerous ‘best-ever’ accolades, and will last for years to come. Many of these Sailors return home today after being separated from their families in San Diego for eight months. We are all thrilled to finally get to our home port, San Diego."
Crew members had their own reasons to look forward to their arrival in San Diego. “I feel really excited to get back,” said Operations Specialist Seaman Apprentice Brian Terrell of Homer, Neb. “I've been wanting to see any new movies that have come out, and I'll also be able to see my brother, who just got back from deployment for the Marines."
Operations Specialist Seaman Apprentice Nicholas Woods of Macungie, Pa. has some specific plans for his arrival. "All I can say is it feels refreshing,” he said. “Sure this was my first time out and I really enjoyed it, but everyone is always happy to finally be back home, even if they had a good time. Plus I'm getting married to the love of my life, and I wouldn't want to wait any longer to see her and make it official."
As the pre-commissioning crew, the Sailors now stationed on the Spruance were able to experience the “birth” of their ship.
"I enjoyed seeing the process of something this large being built,” said Sonar Technician 3rd Class Amanda Smith of Malta, Ohio. “I arrived in Maine towards the end of Spruance's construction. “I am very thankful to have been able to meet and work next to the men who put all of the time, effort, and talent into to building something with such detail and size."
Sonar Technician 2nd Class Christopher Bolton of Walker, La. said, "The best memory of the process for me was not the first sight of my new ship, but the long walk from the pre-commission detachment through the snow, and the anticipation of the first sight."
Spruance was commissioned at Naval Air Station Key West, Oct. 1. It is the 61st ship in the Arleigh Burke-class of Navy destroyers, and the second Navy ship to bear the name. Spruance is named in honor of Adm. Raymond Spruance who commanded Carrier Task Force 16 during the pivotal Battle of Midway in World War II.
Spruance is a multi-mission ship with a crew of 285 Sailors that carries Tomahawk cruise missiles, a 5-inch gun, sonar systems and two helicopters. Spruance is powered by four gas-turbine engines and is capable of speeds in excess of 30 knots.
Spruance, assigned to Destroyer Squadron 23, will help provide deterrence, promote peace and security, preserve freedom of the sea and humanitarian/disaster response within 3rd Fleet’s 50-million square mile area of responsibility in the Eastern Pacific, as well as supporting the Navy’s Maritime Strategy when forward deployed.