Destroyer USS John Finn arrives in Japan ahead of USS Shiloh’s decommissioning
Stars and Stripes March 6, 2023
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — The guided-missile destroyer USS John Finn steamed through Tokyo Bay and anchored at its new homeport Saturday, where it’s scheduled to replace a cruiser slated for decommissioning.
The ship departed its former homeport, Naval Base San Diego, on Feb. 16 and made the approximately two-week journey across the Pacific before arriving at the home of the 7th Fleet, where it joined Destroyer Squadron 15 and Task Force 71, 7th Fleet announced in a Saturday news release.
“USS John Finn is another fantastic addition to our team here in Japan,” said Capt. Walter Mainor, commander of Task Force 71, in the news release. “The dedicated crew will be a key part of our mission to work with our Allies and partners, and ensure we remain committed to maritime security in the region and uphold the promise of a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
The John Finn will ultimately replace the guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh, which is due to be decommissioned at Naval Base Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Task Force 71 spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Joe Keiley told Stars and Stripes by email Monday. Keiley declined to comment on the timeline for the Shiloh’s retirement due to operational security.
A Flight IIA variant of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers equipped with Aegis missile defense systems; the John Finn is the sixth destroyer in 7th Fleet capable of accommodating two MH-60 Seahawk helicopters via an onboard hangar.
“The forward presence of John Finn enhances the national security of the United States and improves its ability to protect strategic interests,” Keiley said in the email.
The addition of another Flight IIA destroyer falls in line with the Defense Department’s policy to place the “most capable units forward in the Indo-Pacific Region,” he said.
The John Finn made history as the first Navy warship to shoot down an intercontinental ballistic missile with an SM-3 Block IIA interceptor missile during a November 2020 test.
It previously visited the Indo-Pacific during its maiden deployment in 2021, but Keiley could not confirm if it had stopped in Yokosuka. During that tour, the John Finn transited the Taiwan Strait.
The ship, first launched in 2017, is named after Lt. John William Finn, who was the first Navy sailor to earn the Medal of Honor during World War II, according to the Navy Department of Library.
Present during the Japanese attack on Hawaii, Finn earned the award after he manned a machine gun in an exposed section of a runway of the Naval Air Station at Kaneohe Bay and continued to return fire at attacking aircraft, even while being wounded multiple times, according to the Navy.