NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) —  WAVY’s Navy Ship Salute is a feature on WAVY News 10 Today. Each month, in partnership with the U.S. Navy, WAVY-TV 10 will profile a different ship based at the world’s largest Navy base: Naval Station Norfolk. The series aims to better introduce our viewers to some of the largest floating taxpayer assets there are, as well as life aboard a U.S. Navy ship.

For February 2023, 10 On Your Side was welcomed on board USS Philippine Sea (CG-58).

USS Philippine Sea is a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser that was first commissioned in 1989. Built at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, she is the second ship named to honor those involved in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, during World War II.

“Over 80% of enemy forces were destroyed at little cost to friendly forces, as the Japanese Navy had been weakened from raids conducted in Guam, Saipan and Tinian shortly prior to,” according to the ship’s website. “The battle is often dubbed the ‘Greatest Carrier Battle of the War,’ due to its significant reduction of Japanese Force. Naval air power in Japan was destroyed, while Japan’s remaining carrier force was almost completely decimated.”

Today, the USS Philippine Sea is one of the older ships homeported at Naval Station Norfolk. She conducted initial Tomahawk strikes in Afghanistan in 2001 at al-Qaeda terrorist training camps and Taliban installations for Operation Enduring Freedom. In 2014, she fired Tomahawks in the Persian Gulf at sites in Syria, targeting training camps and weapons depots.

More recently however, she was underway performing training when Commanding Officer Capt. Michelle Nakamura said her crew was called to the coast of South Carolina to aid in recovery efforts of the Chinese spy balloon.

“Normally you pick somebody who is already qualified and trained for deployment. These guys are not. They are about six months out of a maintenance period but they are still ready, they are always ready. That’s why they are war dogs. Just like Zeus here,” Nakamura said.

Zeus is the ship’s mascot and sailors assigned to the ship are known as “war dogs.”

Cruisers are only slightly larger than destroyers, coming in at 567 feet in length and weighing in at 9,600 long tons. One of the main differences between cruisers and destroyers is the number of 5-inch MK 45 guns. Cruisers have two, destroyers have one.

Another claim to fame for the ship is that it hosted the at-sea burial of the cremated remains of former Naval Aviator and first man to walk on the moon Neil Armstrong. His urn remains on display inside the ship.