The San Diego-based destroyer USS William P. Lawrence will make Pearl Harbor its new home port Monday as part of a ship swap that sent the USS Paul Hamilton to California in April, the Navy said.
“The Navy ohana in Hawaii welcomes USS William P. Lawrence sailors and families to their new home,” Rear Adm. John Fuller, commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, said in a release. “We have a robust plan in place to formally welcome our shipmates and their loved ones and show them the ‘who, what, when, where, why and how’ about living here in the 50th State.”
The William P. Lawrence deployed from San Diego in January and in February became the first U.S. warship to visit Fiji in almost 10 years. In May the guided missile destroyer conducted a “freedom of navigation” operation in the contested South China Sea’s Spratly Islands, sailing within 12 nautical miles of Chinese-occupied Fiery Cross Reef, Reuters reported.
China scrambled jet fighters in the U.S. operation to challenge excessive maritime claims by China, Taiwan and Vietnam in the region, Reuters said.
The William P. Lawrence also participated in Rim of the Pacific exercises off Hawaii in July. The Navy previously said the Paul Hamilton would be drydocked and receive extended maintenance in San Diego while moving the Lawrence to Hawaii to maintain ship presence here.
“This move supports the rebalance to the Indo-Asia-Pacific, placing our most advanced capabilities and greater capacity in that vital theater,” the Navy said in March.
William P. Lawrence and its more than 300 sailors returned to San Diego in mid-August following its seven-month deployment with the USS John C. Stennis carrier strike group.