Norfolk-Based San Jacinto Won't Deploy Next Month

Some 300 Norfolk sailors assigned to the guided missile cruiser San Jacinto won't deploy next month as originally planned, a Navy spokesman confirmed Wednesday.

Instead, the ship will remain in Florida, where it has been undergoing repairs since colliding with a submarine during a training exercise in October.

The San Jacinto had been slated to deploy in February as part of the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman strike group. The Florida-based cruiser Gettysburg will take its place, said Lt. Cmdr. Brian Badura, a spokesman for the Navy's Fleet Forces Command.

The San Jacinto will remain in dry dock at Mayport Naval Station for at least another month as sailors and contractors work to replace the ship's sonar dome, a large, bulging structure at the foot of the ship's bow that was damaged in the October collision.

The San Jacinto's commanding officer was not made available to discuss the repairs and deployment changes.

Crew members with family in Norfolk have been allowed to return home monthly or receive separation pay. Still, some spouses have complained in Facebook posts and message boards about the unexpected time away through the holidays.

The San Jacinto and its crew are expected to return to Norfolk in March, Badura said. If repairs go as planned, it will deploy with another carrier strike group this summer.

The San Jacinto collided with the fast-attack submarine Montpelier on Oct. 13 in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Florida.

An investigation into the incident directed blame at the Montpelier's skipper, Cmdr. Thomas Winter. He was relieved of command earlier this month.

The investigation also revealed unspecified "contributing factors" related to training and oversight within Fleet Forces Command.

The incident will lead to a review of training structures and preparation for exercises involving submarines and surface ships, officials said.

The Montpelier returned to Norfolk after the wreck and has been undergoing damage assessments. It's slated to enter the shipyard in Newport News for repairs next month.

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