SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- USS Kinkaid (DD 965) decommissioned Jan. 7 in a ceremony on Pier 7 at Naval Station San Diego.
The ceremony included more than 250 guests, family members and plankowners of the 27-year-old Spruance-class destroyer.
This decommissioning ceremony was a little different from other ones, however. Instead of going their separate ways throughout the fleet after decommissioning, the Kinkaid crew members will relieve the officers and Sailors aboard USS Fletcher (DD 992) in Perth, Australia, as part of "Sea Swap," an experiment that kicked off in the summer of 2002.
The experiment is a one hull, three-crew experiment that involves the crews of three ships of the same class - in this case, three Spruance-class destroyer crews.
The guest speaker of the ceremony was Rear Adm. David Hart Jr., the deputy commander of Navy Region Europe. Hart was also Kinkaid's seventh commanding officer in its history.
"I'm especially proud that the spirit lives on in this crew today as they take on a challenging task such as 'Sea Swap'," said Hart.
Shortly after Kinkaid's commanding officer, Cmdr. Michael Slotsky, gave the official order to decommission the ship, all department heads reported in to sound off an official, "All is secured," of their respective offices and workspaces. Soon afterwards, the crew departed the ship for the final time and lined up in ranks.
As the National Ensign and the Union Jack were handed over to Slotsky, the crew symbolized their "sea swap" initiative by donning a Fletcher ballcap. To keep the spirit of their recently decommissioned ship alive, the right side of the ballcap was stitched with "Team Kinkaid."
Jan. 13, the crew members will fly to Perth to relieve the crew of Fletcher. Fletcher's new crew will then commence a six-month Western Pacific deployment.
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