USS Lassen to arrive at new home Yokosuka on Friday
The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Lassen, the latest ship to relocate to Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, was scheduled to arrive in Yokosuka on Friday, Navy officials said.
The ship replaces the USS Vincennes, which departed Yokosuka in April for San Diego, where it will be decommissioned, according to Navy leaders.
The Lassen was commissioned in 2001 and carries a crew of almost 300, 85 of whom crossed over from Vincennes earlier this year.
The ship is named for Clyde Everett Lassen, the first naval aviator and fifth person in the Navy to be awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery in Vietnam.
Lassen, who achieved the rank of commander during his career, died in 1994, one year before the Navy ordered the destroyer that bears his name.
In 1968, as a lieutenant flying a search-and-rescue helicopter, Lassen rescued two downed aviators in North Vietnamese territory in what was described as “one of the most daring feats of flying to come out of the Vietnam conflict,” according to the ship’s Web site.
He safely evacuated the missing pilots amid heavy fire and arrived aboard his ship with only five minutes’ worth of fuel remaining, the Web site said.
According to Northrop Grumman, owner of Ingalls Shipbuilders, the company that built the ship, Aegis destroyers are multipurpose ships capable of offense and defense that can operate independently or in a carrier group.
The ships protect carriers, escort amphibious ships and aid in logistics.
The Lassen carries two Sea Hawk helicopters, Tomahawk and standard missiles that can be launched using the versatile “vertical launching system,” and the Phalanx Close-In Weapons System.
The ship has advanced undersea defense systems and four gas turbine engines that allow it to travel faster than 30 knots, according to its manufacturer.
The ship also carries the Light Airborne Multipurpose System, or LAMPS, an integrated ship-to-air antisubmarine warfare control system.
The ship joins another newcomer in Destroyer Squadron 15, the USS Stethem, which arrived in June and replaced the USS Cushing.
Navy officials have said the two new ships are part of an overall plan to move more modern and Aegis-capable ships to the forward-deployed naval forces.