Naval Station Everett increased by 1,000 sailors in 2016

EVERETT — Naval Station Everett, already the second-largest employer in Snohomish County, has seen its economic impact grow in the past year, the base’s commanding officer said Thursday.

The arrival of three Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers in 2016 has added nearly 1,000 active duty service members to the base, bringing the total of military and civilian personnel to nearly 3,000, U.S. Navy Capt. Mark Lakamp told a room of local political and business leaders.

Those new service members are estimated to have combined salaries of $32 million, and the base’s combined economic activity comes to about $360 million, Lakamp said.

Lakamp was delivering his second “State of the Station” address to the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County. The annual talk was intended to develop relationships between the base and the civilian community and keep people informed of ongoing activities.

Everett is a critical location for the Navy, Lakamp said, it being one of only two deep-water Navy installations on the West Coast.

“Not everyone knows what we do, why we do it and why it matters,” Lakamp said.

Naval Station Everett has taken the lead across the Navy in reducing its energy footprint, Lakamp said.

It reduced its energy use by 9 percent in 2016, and its water use 42 percent below what it was 10 years ago, he said.

In 2017, the base is replacing all interior fluorescent lighting with LED fixtures, a $4.2 million project that should save more than $300,000 annually in energy costs. The base is also installing solar panels on two of its buildings, Lakamp said.

Lakamp became the base’s commanding officer in May 2015 and has overseen major changes in the makeup of the ships stationed here.

Three destroyers, the USS Sampson, Kidd and Gridley, arrived over the course of 2016, bringing the total number of destroyers at Everett to five.

A sixth destroyer, the Ralph Johnson, is scheduled to arrive in late 2017 or 2018, although a date hasn’t been announced.

“She is still in the shipyard down in Pascagoula,” Mississippi, he said. “The Navy doesn’t even own the ship yet.”

The USS Momsen, which has been stationed in Everett since 2004, returned from a seven-month deployment in November that had it taking part in exercises with the navies of Japan, South Korea, Australia and France.

The Gridley arrived in July 2016, participated in Seafair Fleet Week, and is now in dry dock in Seattle for maintenance and modernization work.

The Sampson went out on deployment to the Western Pacific Ocean almost immediately after its arrival in September. It became the first U.S. Navy ship to visit New Zealand in 30 years, and was on hand to assist in the recovery efforts after the Nov. 14 Kaikoura earthquake there.

The Kidd, which arrived in November, and USS Shoup, a destroyer that’s been based at Everett since 2002, have been participating in training exercises with other ships in Carrier Strike Group 11, including the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz.

The Nimitz was sent to Naval Base Kitsap in 2015 for extended maintenance and modernization.

That work is now complete, and the carrier is now at sea near San Diego for the exercise, Lakamp said.

It is expected that the Nimitz will deploy overseas before returning to Everett in 2019.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; cwinters@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

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