PASCAGOULA, Miss. - After nearly five years of construction, the future USS San Diego (LPD 22) departed Huntington Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss., Mar. 15, and began her transit to her future homeport of San Diego.
San Diego's keel was laid May 23, 2007. She was christened June 12, 2010, and delivered to the Navy Dec. 19, 2011. Since delivery, the ship's crew moved aboard and conducted hundreds of hours of training to receive certification to operate the ship.
"Even in my short time on board, I have been impressed by the crew's level of training and professionalism," said Cmdr. Kevin Meyers, USS San Diego's prospective commanding officer. "It is an honor to sail with them to homeport and bring the newest ship to the fleet for commissioning."
San Diego is the fourth ship named for the city and the sixth ship in the San Antonio class. The ship features many new systems and features, both for mission effectiveness and crew comfort. The commissioning crew began training as early 2009 to learn the new systems and learn how to operate the ship safely back to San Diego.
"It's a new ship, a new crew, and we're all new working with each other," said Operations Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Tangie Thomas. "Most of the crew just came from basic training and don't have much ship experience. It is amazing how we've managed to work together to accomplish our goal of certification. It has been hard, but we came together as a crew and our reward will be going home."
San Diego will transit through the Panama Canal and arrive in San Diego in April. The ship will continue installing equipment and conduct training for additional certifications. San Diego is scheduled for commissioning in its namesake city in May 2012.