Whidbey Crosswind: Naval Station Everett to get destroyers

Feb 15, 2012

By: Kathy Reed

February 15, 2012

The Navy is boosting its presence at Naval Station Everett.

In a release Tuesday from U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen’s office, Larsen announced the Navy will replace each of three frigates with new or modified destroyers over the next seven years.

“This decision secures the future of Naval Station Everett,” said Larsen during a press conference. “I have spent years convincing the Navy that Everett is ready, willing and able to support more and larger ships.”

The announcement means that Everett will eventually be the homeport to five destroyers and one aircraft carrier. Personnel will increase by approximately 300, from 3,956 to 4,235.

“The decision shows the Navy is committed to the base and to the new Asia-Pacific strategy,” Larsen said. “Many military communities around the country are worried about defense cuts and what it will mean to them. This decision should relieve the Everett community of many fears of losing the base in the future.”

While the decision doesn’t impact either Naval Air Station Whidbey Island or Naval Base Kitsap directly, it’s still good news for the region.

“I don’t know the decision will have any impact on NAS Whidbey, but it does generally show the Navy recognizes the value of the bases have in the region,” Larsen said. “The Pacific Northwest is on the Navy’s map and it’s on the map for a good reason.”

While the decision is a victory, Larsen said he will continue the battle to bring more ships to Naval Station Everett. That is good news to Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson.

“The infrastructure to homeport more ships is in place,” Stephanson said. “We take pride in being the sailor’s choice. This is where sailors and their families want to be and we welcome them.”

The destroyers will replace the frigates USS Ford (FFG 54), USS Rodney M. Davis (FFG 60) and USS Ingraham (FFG 61) as they are decommissioned in 2014, 2016 and 2019, respectively. The destroyers will be a mix of new and modified ballistic missile defense-capable ships.