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 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 ports 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 Tōhoku 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.

November 2014, USS Fitzgerald departed Yokosuka to participate in ANNUALEX 26G, the maritime component of the biennial exercise Keen Sword 2015, with the USS George Washington (CVN 73) CSG and Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), north off Okinawa, Japan.

In 2015, USS Fitzgerald carried out deployment spanning every corner of the 7th Fleet AOR including pulling into Tien Sa Port in Da Nang, Vietnam, for a four-day visit in April to participate in the 6th annual Naval Exchange Activity (NEA). In June, USS Fitzgerald departed Harbor Master Pier (HMP) West to participate in exercise Talisman Sabre 2015, off the coast of Queensland, Australia, as part of the GW CSG. Fitzgerald later participated in the biennial exercise Talisman Sabre in July.

In June of 2017, USS Fitzgerald collided with the Philippine-flagged container ship ACX Crystal, approximately 12 nautical miles southeast of Shimoda, Shizuoka Prefecture. The destroyer suffered severe damage to its forward starboard side and a large puncture below the ship's waterline, that rapidly flooded 1 machinery room and 2 berthing areas for 116 crew.  Three Fitzgerald's crew members were transferred to U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka, including the CO Cmdr. Benson who was trapped in his cabin. Seven Fitzgerald Sailors tragically lost their lives in the collision.

November 2017, USS Fitzgerald departed Yokosuka bound for Huntington Ingalls Inc in Pascagoula, Mississippi. She is now in process of repair and modernization.

In March 2020 the Fitzgerald crew moved back onboard after three years of maintenance post collision.

June 2020 USS Fitzgerald departed from Pascagoula, Mississippi and made their transit back to homeport San Diego, California.

Early 2022 USS Fitzgerald departed San Diego, California for Japan starting their 2022 deployment. They kicked off their deployment by conducting Anti-Submarine Warfare Exercises with Japan.

August 2022, the fighting Fitzgerald concludes their deployment by participating in in Pacific Dragon. Forces from the Royal Australian Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, Japan Maritime Self-defense Force, Republic of Korea Navy, U.S. Missile Defense Agency, and U.S. Navy successfully conducted PD22, a recurring biennial multinational air and missile defense exercise, from August 5-15, 2022, in Hawaii at Pacific Missile Range Facility Barking Sands (PMRF) and off the coast of Kauai.
View ship specifications and other ships in the class.
USS Fitzgerald is named in honor of Lieutenant William C. Fitzgerald, who was posthumously awarded the U. S. Navy's highest decoration for valor, the Navy Cross, for extraordinary heroism in Vietnam. Bill Fitzgerald was born 28 January 1938 in Montpelier, Vermont, second child and first son of Louis and Mildred Mary Fitzgerald. His father was a career Navy man who retired as a Chief Petty Officer. Bill grew up in the local area and graduated from Montpelier High School in June 1956. Following graduation, Bill followed in his father's footsteps and enlisted in the United States Navy, As an enlisted sailor, Bill served in USS Samuel B. Roberts (DD 823), USS Hugh Purvis (DD 709), and USS Gearing (DD 710). Bill also served with Utility Squadron SIX at NAS Norfolk, Virginia, while working on the Drone Anti-Submarine Helicopter DASH) program.

Seaman William Fitzgerald eventually earned selection for officer training and appointment to the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland. During Midshipman Fitzgerald's days at Annapolis, he became well known as an outstanding leader and athlete. Bill Fitzgerald excelled in Naval Education, softball, football, fencing, basketball, and tennis. Additionally, Bill developed a great sense of camaraderie with his peers, and from his enlisted experience he had an intuitive grasp for being a great naval officer. Midshipman Fitzgerald earned his commission in the U.S. Navy on 5 June 1963. After graduation from Annapolis, Ensign Fitzgerald reported to USS Charles H. Roan (DD 853), where he rose from "Boot Ensign" to Weapons Department Head, a position of great responsibility.

Following Roan, Lieutenant Fitzgerald reported to Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, California, where he attended counterinsurgency training. Upon completion he was assigned duties as the senior U.S. advisor at Costal Defense Group SIXTEEN in Vietnam. This group's compound was located adjacent to the village of Co Luy, near the delta of the Tra Khuc River, and about 70 miles southeast of Danang. In this position, he advised the South Vietnamese Navy on defense measures and on the capture of military supplies and contraband destined for Viet Cong forces.

At about 0300 on 7 August 1967, Costal Group Sixteen's compound came under vicious attack by two Viet Cong battalions. The assault began with an intense mortar barrage followed immediately by the advance of troops. Fitzgerald, the senior American commander, immediately ordered a retreat of the civilians within the compound. Because of the compound's location adjacent to a river and the aggressor’s position, the only escape route was via water in small boats. Lieutenant Fitzgerald and three others delayed their retreat as long as possible in order to provide covering fire and to direct fire from surrounding friendly forces. Many calls were made to orbiting gunship aircraft, artillery units, and "Swift"-type fast river patrol boats to provide defensive fire. The Viet Cong attack however, was swift and well-coordinated.

It soon became apparent that the South Vietnamese forces were decimated and that the American bunker was the sole remaining source of resistance. As the situation deteriorated, Fitzgerald ordered his last three remaining defenders to retreat while he used arms fire to cover their escape. Fitzgerald was mortally wounded in this action. In honor of Lieutenant William C. Fitzgerald's loyal and selfless dedication to his people, he was posthumously awarded the U. S. Navy's highest decoration for valor The Navy Cross. Additionally, he was awarded the Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign ribbon bar.

LT Fitzgerald was survived by his wife Betty Ann, and their children. Mrs. Fitzgerald was designated sponsor of the ship named for her late husband.

USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62)  Logo



The Fitzgerald family coat of arms (a white shield with a red saltire) provides the foundation for the coat of arms for USS FITZGERALD. The shield signifies defense, while the saltire connotes strength and its red color represents valor and action. This traditional design has been modified by the addition of a blue cross paty interlaced with a gold annulet and four shamrocks. The cross commemorates the Navy Cross posthumously awarded to Lieutenant William Charles Fitzgerald for extraordinary heroism in the Vietnam battle that took his life. The annulet symbolizes the continuity of everlasting hope, fidelity and unity. The four shamrocks represent Lieutenant Fitzgerald's Irish family and heritage.


USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) Logo
USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62)

San Diego, CA


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