Naval Surface Force leader pays visit to future destroyer teams

Vice Adm. Tom Rowden, commander, Naval Surface Forces, visited General Dynamics Bath Iron Works shipyard, Aug. 25, to review progress and speak with the crews of three new guided-missile destroyers currently under construction for the U.S. Navy.

Rowden held a series of all-hands calls with the crews of Zumwalt-class guided-missile destroyers Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Zumwalt (DDG 1000) and PCU Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001), and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer PCU Rafael Peralta (DDG 115) during his visit.

“Shipbuilding is a tough and frustrating job, and I’m proud of how you’ve been able to not only take care of the ship, but also take care of each other,” said Rowden. “I can’t think of a better team than the Sailors standing in front of me, right now.”

The all-hands call presented a chance for Rowden to express thanks for the continued effort of the crews, reiterate the importance of their work, and take in feedback from the Sailors about the process.

“One advance our adversaries will never be able to get close to is the quality each and every one of you brings to the fight,” he said. “Your dedication ensures we have the ships ready to control the sea, and sea control is the necessary precondition for virtually everything else the Navy does.”

He stressed how their work today in preparing the Navy’s newest ships to join the fleet presents an immense positive impact on the Navy’s future capabilities.

“One of our greatest advantages is our technology, but many people say this technology gap is diminishing,” Rowden said. “Standing here on this warship (Zumwalt), I can tell you our adversaries have a long way to go.”

While speaking to the Zumwalt crew, Rowden noted while the ship can perform multiple missions today, the design allows them to rapidly integrate new technologies to counter emerging threats moving forward.

“Zumwalt is stealthy, powerful, and lethal,” he said.

Zumwalt will officially join the U.S. Navy’s fleet Oct. 15 during a commissioning ceremony in Baltimore.