By Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific Public Affairs
PEARL HARBOR– Two guided-missile destroyers will arrive at their new home port of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam this week – the USS Preble (DDG 88) is expected to pull in at 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 14, and the USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) plans to arrive at 10 a.m. on Aug. 15.
The John Paul Jones is an exchange for the former locally based guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70), which will depart for an extended docking ship repair in San Diego in the near future. Lake Erie will remain homeported out of San Diego once repairs are complete.
John Paul Jones brings updated advanced Aegis capabilities to the surface group, and will replace Lake Erie here as a rotational Ballistic Missile Defense deployer and testing ship as part of a long-range U.S. commitment to the security and stability of the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
The Preble is arriving from San Diego to replace the USS Reuben James (FFG 57), which was decommissioned in July 2013, as a MIDPAC surface combatant. As a Flight 2A destroyer, the Preble can embark helicopters to provide more robust response when it deploys.
Cmdr. Robert T. Bryans, Jr., commanding officer of the Preble, said the homeport shift will allow his ship to provide increased security and a greater forward presence in the Pacific Ocean.
“I look forward to living and serving with you in Hawaii,” he said Wednesday in a statement to the crew. “I am proud of you. I am impressed by your resilience. I thank you for doing your part in meeting the requirements of our homeport shift so that Preble can continue to meet the requirements of the Navy and the nation."
Cmdr. Andrew Thomson, the John Paul Jones commanding officer, said his crew has proven that they are ready to assume the role as the Navy's Integrated Air and Missile Defense test ship. In the coming years, the ship is expected to test newer and more advanced systems that will be used to defend the nation and allied forces overseas, Thomson said.
Rear Adm. Rick Williams, commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, welcomes both ships to Hawaii.
"It is a privilege to welcome USS John Paul Jones and USS Preble to Hawaii. I know you will bring advanced capabilities in radar and weapon systems, including Aegis ballistic missile defense and Navy Integrated Fires, and I'm grateful you're joining our team."
In a commentary to be published Friday, Williams noted the significance of both ships’ namesakes as he welcomed them to the Pearl Harbor waterfront.
"You'll find a supportive family and many friends at DESRON 31 and MIDPAC. You'll join other ships with proud namesakes and outstanding records of achievement." Williams said.
John Paul Jones was commissioned Dec. 18, 1993 and is named after American Revolutionary War Naval Captain John Paul Jones. She was built at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine.
Commissioned Nov. 9, 2002, Preble is the sixth U.S. Navy ship named after U.S. naval hero Commodore Edward Preble who fought against the Barbary pirates off the coast of North Africa in the early 1800s. Commodore Preble's efforts in the region, including leading a naval blockade of Tripoli, Libya, formed the officer corps that would later lead the U.S. Navy in the War of 1812.
Williams said both ships are expected to deploy in the future to provide maritime security and forward presence in the western Pacific.
Both ships provide deterrence, promote peace and security, preserve freedom of the sea and assist in humanitarian/disaster responses in support of Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet.