U.S. 7th FLEET -- The U.S. Navy announced Feb. 26 (Japan Standard Time) that USS Warrior (MCM 10) will deploy to U.S. 7th Fleet Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF) in Sasebo, Japan, to replace USS Guardian (MCM 5). Guardian, which ran aground on Tubbataha Reef in the Philippines on Jan. 17, is beyond economical repair and will be dismantled. Guardian was administratively decommissioned and stricken from the naval registry on Feb. 15. Guardian's crew will conduct a formal ceremony to honor the ship's service and achievements in Sasebo at a date to be determined. An Avenger class mine countermeasures ship, the 23-year old Guardian will be dismantled while minimizing damage to the surrounding marine environment. Although there are likely to be deviations in the dismantling plan due to changing conditions, the Navy expects the operation to take more than one month as a team of salvage experts work to remove Guardian from the reef as quickly as safety, weather, and environmental protection allows.
Due to the professional response by Guardian's crew, no one was injured during the grounding. No longer needed for the salvage operations, all 79 Guardian Sailors have returned to Sasebo to be reunited with their families.
Warrior recently completed a deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. Also an Avenger-class ship capable of detecting and neutralizing mines, Warrior will be transported from Bahrain by a heavy-lift transport ship on March 2 and delivered to Sasebo sometime in late March. The majority of the Warrior's crew will return to their home port of San Diego from Bahrain while the remaining Sailors will accompany the ship to Sasebo. At a date yet to be determined, Warrior's crew will relinquish command of the ship to Guardian's crew during a ceremony in Sasebo.
Increasing FDNF capability supports the United States' commitment to the defense of Japan and the security and stability of the vital Asia-Pacific region.