BALBOA, Panama (NNS) -- Two weeks into its maiden voyage across the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John Finn (DDG 113) has visited three nations and demonstrated proficiency in a variety of warfare areas as the crew sails to its homeport of San Diego.
Launched March 28, 2015, and christened May 2, 2015, John Finn sailed away from Ingalls Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, June 2. As the 63rd Arleigh Burke-class guided missile-destroyer, John Finn boasts an array of advancements and capabilities that further amplify the importance of the "Greyhounds of the Fleet." As the Navy's first dedicated new construction Aegis Weapons System Baseline 9 platform, John Finn will be able to respond to a multitude of threats and provide Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) capability incorporating Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) 5.0 and Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air (NIFC-CA). Deployable worldwide, it will become an invaluable asset in our nation's repertoire, capable of responding to any threat, anywhere, at any time.
Two days after leaving Mississippi, the ship held its first steel beach picnic, followed by a brief stop in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for fuel. After Cuba, John Finn called on Cartagena, Colombia, for its first official port visit, where the crew enjoyed amenities offered by the local nationals. On June 9, Rear Adm. Sean Buck, Commander, U.S. 4th Fleet, toured the ship, welcoming the crew to the area of operations.
The following evening, the crew hosted Colombian naval officers and midshipmen, continuing to strengthen the long-standing partnership between the United States and Colombia.
Shortly after departing Cartagena, John Finn continued its westward journey, linking up with a sister ship, USS Rafael Peralta (DDG 115), to travel through the Panama Canal, June 13. Rafael Peralta was built at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, and like John Finn, is sailing west to its homeport of San Diego. The two ships are part of the Flight IIA restart initiative, and together were able to practice communications, maneuvering, and camaraderie during their transit.
Part of U.S. 3rd Fleet and U.S. Naval Surface Forces, John Finn was placed in commission on June 2 and is scheduled to have a commissioning ceremony at U.S. Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, July 15.