Norfolk’s USS Barry to change homeports

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – The U.S. Navy announces a change in bases for Norfolk’s locally-based guided missile destroyer USS Barry.

The USS Barry will leave Norfolk in early 2016 and move across the world to Yokosuka, Japan. It will swap with USS Lassen and become a member of the Forward Deployed Naval Forces.

The USS Lassen will return to the United States and homeport in Mayport, Fla., following a 10-year forward deployment in Japan.

Once it returns, Lassen will undergo changes to upgrade its combat systems.

Virginia lawmakers are worried the changes could seriously hurt what so many people have worked so hard for in Hampton Roads.

“We have sequestration cuts that threatens defense spending…It being homeported in Florida rather than Norfolk that would hurt obvious our economy because it’s thousands of people who are spending their paycheck here that will be spending their paychecks there,” U.S. Representative Bobby Scott said.

Congressional members say there’s another way to help the economy.

“It’s true that there is increasing risk in the pacific. So this will likely result in some of our assets moving to the pacific. That’s why it’s important that we not only replace the sequester, but also diversify the Hampton Roads economy. I think the number way to do that is through energy,” U.S. Representative Scott Rigell said.

The Navy says the move is part of its strategy to secure peace, security, and stability in the Asian-Pacific region. It says it’s important to send the most advanced and capable ships to that area to protect America’s allies.

The Navy is also sending the ballistic missile defense capable guided missile destroyers USS Benfold and USS Milius to Japan in the summers of 2015 and 2017. They will also part of the overseas force structure change.

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