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Newly repaired, USS Boxer makes another go at sea

The amphibious assault ship USS Boxer transits San Diego Bay moving left to right in the photo with Naval Air Station North Island and the San Diego-Coronado Bridge visible in the background.
Andrew Dyer
The amphibious assault ship USS Boxer on its way out of San Diego Bay on July 3, 2024.

The amphibious assault ship USS Boxer is once again at sea after being forced to abandon its western Pacific deployment after just 10 days in April due to a damaged rudder.

The rudder problem emerged after years of costly delays that left the 840-foot ship stuck pier-side at Naval Base San Diego for years.

The 30-year-old ship last deployed in 2019.


Lt. Grace Kording, a spokesperson for Naval Surface Force in San Diego, said the ship is testing the repairs to its rudder. She did not say when the Boxer will resume its stalled deployment.

"Readiness remains a priority for the Navy and we will work diligently to test these repairs to get Boxer back to sea," Kording said in a statement.

The absence of Boxer and its sister ship USS Bonhomme Richard were felt in the Navy and Marine Corps.

The Boxer began a $250 million overhaul in 2020 that would allow it to operate with the latest Marine Corps fighter, the F-35B. In July 2020, while it was in a San Diego dry dock, its sister ship, the USS Bonhomme Richard, was destroyed by fire.

It had just completed its own $250 million overhaul when it was destroyed.


Navy investigations released this year revealed that while the Boxer was being overhauled poorly supervised contractors used bad replacement parts that subsequently failed when the ship went to sea for trials in 2022.

Then the replacement parts also failed.

In 2023, personnel issues and further maintenance requirements again delayed the ship from leaving San Diego. Navy investigators found sailors rotated one of the ship's propeller shafts without any lubricating oil.

The Navy did not indicate when the ship will resume its deployment, but the service plans to sideline the ship again next year.

Military news site Breaking Defense reported in May the service was soliciting contractors for an 18-month maintenance availability on Boxer from April 2025 to October 2026.