MAYPORT NAVAL STATION, Fla. – The USS Jason Dunham, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, arrived Saturday at its new homeport at Naval Station Mayport.
Jason Dunham has been homeported in Norfolk since its commissioning in November 2010.
Its homeport shift is the second in a series of planned homeport shifts between Mayport and Norfolk, which will see five additional destroyers calling Mayport home by the end of 2022.
The plan will support extended maintenance availabilities at local shipyards in both fleet concentration areas and rebalance port loading in Mayport once the USS Iwo Jima rejoins USS New York following a homeport shift to Norfolk, and the USS Fort McHenry is decommissioned later this year.
“By homeport changing Flight IIa guided-missile destroyers to Naval Station Mayport, crews are able to more easily integrate with our embarked MH-60R helicopters, which are based here in Jacksonville,” said Cmdr. Steve Puskas, commanding officer of Jason Dunham. I think any time you are able to get everyone on the same team in the same place, it’s a win.”
Naval Station Mayport’s operational composition is unique with its busy harbor and a runway capable of supporting ships and aircraft simultaneously, making it the third-largest naval facility in the continental U.S.
”I hope my crew is able to use the warmer Florida weather and calmer sea of the Gulf Stream as an opportunity for more training and increased readiness,” said Puskas, a native of Philadelphia.
Since departing the shipyard, Jason Dunham has participated in various at sea and in-port training and readiness events to prepare the ship and crew for an upcoming deployment with the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group.
The 10-year old destroyer is named for Cpl. Jason L. Dunham, a 22-year-old Marine awarded the Medal of Honor for making the ultimate sacrifice for fellow Marines during a 2004 grenade attack, while serving in Iraq. The ship was commissioned in his honor during a 2010 ceremony in Port Everglades, Florida.