USS Zumwalt Arrives at Home Port in San Diego

The largest, most expensive destroyer ever built for the U.S. Navy resumes its voyage to San Diego.

The Navy's most technologically advanced destroyer arrived in San Diego Thursday after dealing with some glitches along the way.

The stealthy USS Zumwalt will begin installation of combat systems and further testing and evaluation in its new homeport.

The ship was commissioned in October in Baltimore and encountered some hiccups on its way to California. That included losing propulsion in the Panama Canal, necessitating a tow and repairs.

The 610-foot destroyer was built by Maine's Bath Iron Works. The ship features new technology including an electric power plant that drives the ship, an inward-sloping tumblehome hull and an angular shape to minimize the radar signature. Its integrated power system allows the ship to save energy.

That technology comes at a price. The Zumwalt's cost is more than $4.4 billion. Two more ships in the class are being built.

With its high-tech power, the ship can perform a range of deterrence, power projection, sea control, along with command and control missions, said a navy official.

All the while the imposing ship remains well hidden, carefully maintaining its stealth whether close to shore or far out in the sea.

At a news conference during the USS Zumwalt’s arrival in San Diego Thursday, U.S. Navy officials said the high-tech, sophisticated warship is “transformational” for the Navy and will provide great capability.

As a Navy city, official said San Diego is more than prepared to homeport the advanced ship.

“You can’t get a better place to come to than San Diego,” said USS Zumwalt Capt. James A. Kirk.

He called the USS Zumwalt “far and away more advanced” than any of the Navy’s other warships.

“It is a revolutionary warship,” he said. “We are fantastically pleased to bring it to San Diego.”

Kirk said the ship brings with it 147 sailors who have dedicated their lives to taking on the challenge of bringing the new, highly-advanced warship to the fleet.

“Those 147 sailors have worked very hard for almost three-and-a-half years. Some of them have been away from their families for a vast part of that time,” Kirk added. “I couldn’t be more proud to serve alongside them.”

One of those sailors aboard the USS Zumwalt was Jeremy Kluttz. As he disembarked, he was met with the smiling faces of his family – his wife, Nicole Kluttz, their two daughters and his brother, also a service member.

“It feels great [to be home]. It’s been a long trip,” he told NBC 7.

“We’re very happy to have him home for the holidays. It’s not a holiday without him,” added Nicole.

The sailor said being aboard the revolutionary warship has been a new and exciting experience. He said San Diego is most certainly “well-prepared” for USS Zumwalt.

Kluttz’s plan was to spend lots of time at home with his family but first, he told NBC 7 he was going to feed an important craving: he planned to grab some food at Phil’s BBQ.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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