At Your Service
For and about Hawaii's military

By Gregg K. Kakesako

Sunday, December 2, 2001

See also: For Your Benefit

Readiness a concern
as Navy considers
decommissioning ships

The Navy is considering early retirement of its 24 Spruance-class destroyers, which could drop the fleet below what has been considered the minimum level despite increasing demands for warships, Navy Secretary Gordon England said recently.

The destroyers, including the USS Fletcher stationed at Pearl Harbor, might be cut to make money available for other programs, such as fixing the problems of aging naval aircraft, England said. The destroyers, which are 20 to 25 years old, had been scheduled for decommissioning between 2006 and 2011. Some Navy officers have said cutting the ships from the existing fleet of 310 could drop the force below its readiness level. The Navy has said the minimum needed to meet operational demands is 305 to 310 ships.

The Spruance-class destroyers are the first large U.S. Navy warships to employ gas turbine engines as their main propulsion system.

Lt. Gen. Thomas Waskow has taken over as new commander of U. S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force, replacing Lt. Gen. Paul Hester. On Guam, Rear Adm. Patrick Dunne has become the new commander of U.S. Naval Forces Marinas. He replaces Rear Adm. Tom Fellin.

Waskow comes to Yokota from Headquarters Pacific Air Forces at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, where he was the director of air and space operations.

On Dec. 7, the 60th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, The National D-Day Museum will open its next great exhibit, "The D-Day Invasions in the Pacific." Between Dec. 7- 9, a grand opening celebration will take place with 13 public events including a Pacific Victory parade through downtown New Orleans, a World War II film festival, military reunions, a USO dance, a Pacific landing re-enactment and port visits at the Mississippi Riverfront.

Veterans from around the country were invited to ride in a Pacific victory parade which will wind through the streets of downtown New Orleans from the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and pass in review in front of The National D-Day Museum.

Gregg K. Kakesako can be reached by phone at 294-4075
or by e-mail at

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