When the Navy takes delivery of a new ship, it's not usually a big, newsworthy event. But when the ship in question is the first of a new line of ultra-advanced, stealthy destroyers, it's worth spilling some ink over. So yeah, here's the new USS Zumwalt, and it's officially in the hands of the US Navy.
While the new destroyer is finally in the Navy's hands and is under the command of Captain James Kirk (it'll be a crime if this guy doesn't get command of the next USS Enterprise), it's still not quite ready to join the fleet. The nearly 150-strong crew needs to get certified to work aboard the Zumwalt while she remains docked at Bath Iron Works. And once the testing is complete, it's on to the real party – the October 15 commissioning ceremony, when the first Zumwalt-class ship will officially join the fleet.
"Zumwalt's crew has diligently trained for months in preparation of this day and they are ready and excited to take charge of this ship on behalf of the U.S. Navy," Capt. Kirk said in an official statement. "These are 143 of our nation's finest men and women who continue to honor Adm. Zumwalt's namesake with their dedication to bringing this ship to life."
We've seen DDG-1000, named after former Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, on a fairly regular basis over the past couple months. The team at Bath kicked off sea trials on the new ship in early December, and even those simple tests made for some interesting news. For one, engineers discovered that the Zumwalt, despite being 610-feet from bow to stern, has the radar signature of a 40- or 50-foot fishing boat. That makes it a genuine navigational hazard, especially at night or in bad weather.
The ship also took part in a rescue mission after a fishing boat captain complained of chest pains, late last year. It was too dangerous for the Coast Guard to extract the skipper from his boat via helicopter, so the Zumwalt swooped in, picked up the captain using one of its rigid-hulled inflatable boats, and took advantage of its spacious landing pad to transfer him to the chopper. Following the incident late last year, the Portland (Maine) Press Herald listed the fisherman as being in stable condition.