Another 7th Fleet destroyer leaves dry dock at Yokosuka Naval Base
By CAITLIN DOORNBOS | STARS AND STRIPES Published: December 4, 2018
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — For the second time in one week, a 7th Fleet guided-missile destroyer has left dry dock at Yokosuka Naval Base.
The USS Barry finished its yearlong stint undergoing repairs and modernizations at the Navy’s Ship Repair Facility and Japan Regional Maintenance Center on Tuesday. Workers flooded the dry dock and floated the ship to its new home on the Yokosuka pier.
The Barry’s undocking came one week after the USS John S. McCain was relocated Nov. 27 from dry dock to the pier. The McCain had been undergoing repairs since February following its fatal August 2017 collision near Singapore that killed 10 sailors and caused heavy damage to the ship’s hull.
The McCain now has “a fully restored hull, a new port thrust shaft and newly constructed berthing spaces,” the Navy said in a statement last week.
The Barry had been undergoing repairs since November 2017. During that time, the crew and repair and maintenance personnel “performed work on the underwater hull structure, superstructure and propulsion plant systems,” the Navy said in a statement Tuesday. They also upgraded the destroyer’s combat systems and berthing areas.
Cmdr. Cory Dyer of Task Force 70 Maintenance, Material, Logistics and Readiness in the statement called the Barry’s Tuesday move a “major milestone,” that “brings the ship that much closer to completing” its restricted availability period.
Ships regularly go into restricted availability periods that take the vessels out of service for updates, repairs, trainings and other upkeep. The Navy said in its statement that these periods are necessary to maintain the fleet’s readiness.
“As one of the premier forward-deployed operational units, leaving dry dock brings Barry one step closer to resuming full operational capabilities,” deputy commodore of Destroyer Squadron 15 Capt. Steven DeMoss said in the statement.
The Barry and McCain’s returns to the pier also mark a significant milestone for the 7th Fleet. The Yokosuka-based force had a deficit of destroyers after the separate, fatal McCain and USS Fitzgerald collisions last year took both ships out of service. The Fitzgerald remains under repair in Pascagoula, Miss.
Yokosuka welcomed the USS Milius destroyer to its fleet this summer, but former Pacific Fleet commander Adm. Scott Swift told Stars and Stripes in 2017 that Milius was not meant to replace the Fitzgerald and McCain.
While the McCain and Barry are out of dry dock, they are not yet in active service. It’s unclear when the Barry will return to sea, but Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer told reporters in July that he expected the McCain go on patrol in the spring.