USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) is an Arleigh Burke-class (Flight I) guided missile destroyer, laid down by Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine 9 Feb. 1993; launched 29 Jan. 1994; and commissioned 14 Oct. 1995 in Newport, R.I. The USS Fitzgerald was homeported in San Diego, CA.
In early 1996 USS Fitzgerald went through qualifications and trials and a Post Shakedown Availability (PSA) at Southwest Marine Shipyard in San Diego on May 20. She was underway for sea trials in Aug. then was underway for Independent Steaming Exercise off the coast of Southern California. She participated in COMPTUEX 95-5A/ITA with USS Constellation (CV 64) in Nov.
In Jan. 1997, the Fitzgerald participated in Middle East Force Exercise (MEFEX) Phase II and Fleet Exercise (FLETEX), as part of the Constellation (Connie) Battle Group. In Feb. USS Fitzgerald went on her maiden deployment in the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet Areas of Responsibility (AoR). In Aug. DDG 62 pulled into Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, for a two-day visit and to embark friends and family members for a Tiger Cruise back home.
In 1998, the Fitzgerald went underway in support of COMPTUEX for USS Constellation Battle Group, as part of ‘opposition forces’. In Nov. USS Fitzgerald left for a Middle East deployment as part of the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) BG.
In early May, 1999 the Fitzgerald returned to San Diego after a six-month underway period in the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet AoR. In Nov. USS Fitzgerald departed for a scheduled western Pacific and Arabian Gulf deployment. The Fitzgerald operated as part of multinational interception forces that boarded and diverted vessels found to be violating United Nations sanctions.
Mar. 2000 The Fitzgerald made a number of port calls at exotic locations and returned home in Apr after five-and-a-half month deployment.
The Fitzgerald went underway for Teamwork North 01 in Sep. 2001. The guided-missile destroyer supported of Operation Noble Eagle in Nov.
In Jan. 2002 DDG 62 departed for Theatre Ballistic Missile Defense (TBMD) testing. In Feb. she was in Tailored Ship's Training Availability (TSTA) and again in TBMD testing in April 1. In Jul. USS Fitzgerald departed in support of Fleet Battle Experiment-Juliet (FBE-J), which took place underneath the broad spectrum of Millennium Challenge 2002 (MC02), a congressionally-mandated experiment involving units from all of the U.S. Armed Forces.
In Mar. 2003 USS Fitzgerald departed for a scheduled deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), as part of the USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Carrier Strike Group (CSG). In Nov. the Fitzgerald returned home after an eight-month underway period. The ship provided escort of the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) during air strikes into Iraq and was later designated flagship for Commander, Maritime Interception Operations in the North Arabian Gulf. She also served an Air Defense role for U.S. and coalition ships operating in the Gulf of Oman and North Arabian Sea.
In Mar. 2004 The Fitzgerald departed for sea trials. In early April 2004, it was announced that she would be one of fifteen destroyers and three cruisers which would be deployed to counter ballistic missile threats worldwide. She arrived in Yokosuka, Japan 30 September 2004 to join the U.S. 7th Fleet after participating in a personnel exchange known as "Super Swap". 140 sailors from USS O'Brien (DD-975) transferred to Fitzgerald and 95 of Fitzgerald’s sailors joined the decommissioning unit for O'Brien. She was designated for a homeport change from San Diego to Yokosuka Naval Base in Yokosuka, Japan at this time. The Fitzgerald arrived at its new forward-deployed homeport in Sep. In Nov. and Dec. the Fitzgerald was underway for Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) operations in the Sea of Japan.
Feb. 2005 USS Fitzgerald participated in exercise Foal Eagle '05. In May USS Fitzgerald departed for a Summer Patrol, as part of the Kitty Hawk (CV 63) SG, in the western and southern Pacific. In Jun. the guided-missile destroyer participated in exercise Talisman Saber 2005.
In Mar. 2006 USS Fitzgerald completed a Drydocking Selected Restricted Availability (DSRA) period at Yokosuka Naval Shipyard then left in Apr for a Spring Patrol and in Oct. for a Fall Patrol. In Nov. the Fitzgerald took part in ANNUALEX. April 7, 2007 USS Fitzgerald participated in Exercise Malabar 07-01, with the Indian Navy, off the coast of Okinawa, Japan. In Aug. the guided-missile destroyer took part in Exercise Valiant Shield 2007. In Oct. USS Fitzgerald participated in the 19th Annual Exercise (ANNUALEX).
In Feb. 2008 USS Fitzgerald participated in an undersea warfare exercise while underway in the western Pacific with the Nimitz (CVN 68) CSG and elements from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).
Mar. 2009 USS Fitzgerald participated in Multi-Sail '09 exercise off the coast of Okinawa. In Apr. DDG 62 arrived in Qingdao, People's Republic of China, to take part in the 2009 International Fleet Review. In Sep. USS Fitzgerald returned home after a summer deployment with the George Washington (CVN 73) CSG. USS Fitzgerald participated in a multinational Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) exercise Deep Sabre II in Oct. In Dec. sailors aboard the Fitzgerald were among the first to use a new version of the Undersea Warfare Decision Support System (USW-DSS), employing it for the first time in the Ship Anti-Submarine Warfare Readiness and Evaluation Measurement (SHAREM) 163 exercise.
In Apr. 2010 USS Fitzgerald participated in the Multi-Sail 2010 exercise off the coast of Okinawa. In Nov. USS Fitzgerald departed for joint naval drills with the Republic of Korea naval forces in the waters west of the Korean Peninsula.
Feb. 2011 USS Fitzgerald participated in a Ship Anti-Submarine Warfare Readiness and Evaluation Measurement (SHAREM) exercise with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, off the coast of Okinawa. In Mar. 2011, in company with the carrier Ronald Reagan, the USS Fitzgerald was deployed off northeastern Honshu, Japan to assist with relief efforts after the 2011 T˘hoku earthquake and tsunami. In Jun USS Fitzgerald departed for a Summer Patrol as part of the USS George Washington CSG. In Jul. USS Fitzgerald participated in Talisman Sabre 2011, a joint-exercise with the Royal Australian Navy. In Oct. DDG 62 participated in joint anti-terrorism exercise Pacific Eagle 2011 with the Russian Federation Navy (RFN) forces off Mariana Islands. In Oct the Fitzgerald participated in ANNUALEX 2011. In Nov. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario were on board the USS Fitzgerald in Manila, Philippines when they signed the Manila Declaration calling for multilateral talks to resolve maritime disputes. This act also marked the 60th anniversary of the US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty.
Jan. 2012 USS Fitzgerald participated in Multi-Sail 2012, off the coast of Okinawa. In Jul the guided-missile destroyer departed Yokosuka for a Friends and Family Day Cruise. In Aug. USS Fitzgerald went on a Fall Patrol, as part of the GW Carrier Strike Group. In Sep. the Fitzgerald participated in exercise Valiant Shield 2012. In Nov. and Dec. the guided-missile destroyer departed engaged in intelligence gathering operations.