The crew of the USS Antietam is scheduled to take the guided-missile cruiser to its new home port in Japan beginning Thursday, and then bring the USS Cowpens to San Diego.
The Cowpens' crew members, about 400, will run the Antietam at its new base in Yokosuka, Japan, according to the Navy. The procedure is called a "hull swap."
A Navy statement said the switch is part of a plan to move newer and more capable vessels to forward operating positions to bolster the defense of Japan and improve security in Asia and the Pacific Ocean.
However, the Cowpens – the vessel set to leave Japan – is four years newer and of the same class of cruisers, according to its online records.
“My crew has worked very hard this past year preparing Antietam for turnover with Cowpens,” said Capt. Robert Tortora, commanding officer of the Antietam. “The ship is more than ready. We very much look forward to delivering a mission-ready, upgraded cruiser to Seventh Fleet and bringing Cowpens back to San Diego.”
The 567-foot Antietam is named for the site of a bloody Civil War battle. The Cowpens is named after a Revolutionary War battle.
– City News Service