Two Navy warships currently stationed in Japan with the U.S. 7th Fleet will be heading back to the states, the service announced Friday.

The guided-missile destroyer Stethem, commissioned in 1995, will change its homeport to San Diego by late next month while it undergoes a midlife modernization, according to Navy Personnel Command.

And the amphibious assault ship Wasp will sail to Norfolk for its own scheduled maintenance, according to a 7th Fleet release.

That move is slated to be completed by September.

In return, the amphibious assault ship America and landing platform dock New Orleans will relocate to Sasebo, Japan, in November and September, respectively.

The America is the lead ship of the class and is capable of supporting the Marine Corps’ next-generation F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter.

The New Orleans can accommodate ship-to-shore movements with Osprey tiltrotor aircraft and helicopters.

“Maintaining the most advanced ships is vital to support the United States’ commitment to the security, stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region,” the release added.

Geoff is the editor of Navy Times, but he still loves writing stories. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at

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