The , part of a new class of vessel built for combat in coastal waters, is scheduled to arrive at its local home port for the first time Wednesday, the Navy announced.
The ship departed its shipyard in Mississippi last month, went through the Panama Canal, made a stop in Mexico and completed a mine detection and clearing exercise.
"We are proud to be pulling into San Diego and bringing our ship to her homeport for the first time," said Cmdr. Gerald R. Olin, commanding officer of Independence's Gold Crew. "This is the culmination of two years of testing and hard work by this crew since commissioning, and it feels great to be almost home."
The Independence is the sister ship of, christened in January.
Littoral combat ships, all of which are scheduled to be based in San Diego, have a modular system that allows them to be fitted out for different types of missions, and they can have alternating crews – identified by colors.
The gold crew will turn the Independence over to the blue crew upon arrival at Naval Station San Diego, according to the Navy.
The vessels have been plagued by cracks and corrosion, but the Navy said the problems have been corrected.
The $37 billion program is being investigated by the Government Accountability Office. U.S. Senators John McCain, R-Ariz., and Carl Levin, D-Mich., asked for the examination to be expanded Tuesday.
Last week, legislation authored by Rep. Duncan D. Hunter, R-El Cajon, that would require the Navy to deliver a comprehensive update on the progress of the program passed the House Armed Services Committee.
– City News Service