News - August 2004

News when it happens related to Naval vessels and aviation. Credit will be given to the information sources.

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

August - 2004

02/08/04

Submarine Texas Christened at Newport News

Secretary of the Navy Public  Affairs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- First Lady Laura Bush smashed a bottle of champagne to christen the Navy’s newest nuclear-powered submarine Texas (SSN 775) in front of a cheering crowd of 4,500 people at Newport News shipyard July 31. Secretary of the Navy Gordon England joined a number of dignitaries, including Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, who delivered the ceremony’s principal address. “It is entirely fitting that USS Texas will become the latest bulwark, and one of the most powerful, in our arsenal of democracy,” said Hutchison. “When she sets sail, she will do so with 22 million Texans and our nation’s First Lady at her side. Mr. Secretary, it doesn’t get any better than that!” Named to honour the 28th state admitted to the union, Texas is the fourth ship of the U.S. Navy to carry the name since the original Texas was commissioned in 1895. It is the second submarine of the Virginia class, and the first submarine of its class to be built at Newport News. Texas will be able to attack targets ashore with highly accurate Tomahawk cruise missiles and conduct covert long-term surveillance of land areas, littoral waters or other sea forces. Texas will also have a number of additional capabilities, to include superior anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare enhancements, special forces delivery and support, and mine delivery/minefield mapping. With enhanced communications connectivity, the submarine also will provide important strike group and joint task force support, with full integration into carrier strike group operations. “It’s the first submarine - first major naval weapon system of any kind - designed for the post-Cold War,” said Cmdr. John J. Litherland, the ship’s prospective commanding officer. “She adds significant new capabilities in the areas of Special Warfare, sensors and information processing that will allow her to serve on the front lines for decades to come.” The ceremony marked the first christening of a submarine at the shipyard since 1995 when USS Cheyenne (SSN 773) was launched.

05/08/04

USS Ticonderoga Returns to Pascagoula for Decommissioning

USS Ticonderoga Public Affairs

The guided-missile cruiser USS Ticonderoga (CG 47) returns to its homeport at Naval Station Pascagoula Aug. 3, after completing its final and most successful deployment before the ship's decommissioning Sept. 30. Ticonderoga set a new record for counter-drug operations, completing six interdictions in five months, netting more than 14,000 pounds of cocaine and detaining 25 suspects. “I'm really proud of the efforts of all hands for their accomplishments on Ticonderoga's final cruise,” said Ticonderoga’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Glenn W. Zeiders III. “This crew's achievements over the last year and a half, which included winning the Arleigh Burke Fleet Trophy as most improved unit in the Atlantic Fleet, and tying or breaking every record for drug interdictions while on deployment, place a superb capstone on the 22-year record of excellence of a great ship.”  In addition to ship's company, other key elements of Ticonderoga’s team included Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 60 with Jaguar 605 homeported at Mayport, Fla., and Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachments (LEDET) 401 and 409, out of Miami, Fla. HSL 60 logged more than 400 hours conducting 140 sorties during the deployment. The speed of the helicopter, and the skills of her pilots and crew, added significantly to Ticonderoga's ability to pursue and capture ‘go-fasts,’ the cigarette-shaped boats specifically built to smuggle narcotics.
The Coast Guard detachments were the acting law enforcement officials aboard and conducted all search and seizure operations on suspect vessels. Multinational cooperation played a large part in the ship's successful deployment. Initially, the ship patrolled waters in the Caribbean Sea. In late April, in conjunction with Colombian military authorities, its crew successfully located, tracked and pursued a ‘go-fast.' Ticonderoga quickly responded and effectively demonstrated exceptional tactical coordination in the boarding and eventual seizure of a smuggler's supply vessel. Ticonderoga boarding team members meticulously combed the vessel and questioned the crew, which eventually led to the discovery of approximately 5,808 pounds of cocaine and the apprehension of seven people. Ticonderoga patrolled the Caribbean for 54 days and scored one more drug bust before transiting through the Panama Canal May 5. Upon exiting the canal, Ticonderoga conducted counter-drug operations in the Eastern Pacific.The ship used its intelligence and air assets off the coast of Costa Rica to pursue another “go-fast.” The Costa Rican Navy joined the chase with two surface vessels, a helicopter, and a fixed wing aircraft. The go-fast crew beached the craft on the Costa Rican coastline, and the people aboard immediately ran into the mountain terrain. Costa Rican authorities apprehended the fleeing suspects. Four detainees were captured, prosecuted in Costa Rica and sentenced for their actions. The fourth go-fast was captured June 23 as Ticonderoga continued operating in the Eastern Pacific. The ship's helicopter crew acquired the go-fast and sent position updates to Ticonderoga. After a high-speed chase, Ticonderoga closed on the suspect vessel, fired warning shots over its bow, and the go-fast crew surrendered. The ship recovered 72 bales of cocaine weighing approximately 3,600 pounds. The final go-fast vessel was captured in the Eastern Pacific June 28. The ship visually acquired the go-fast vessel southwest of Panama and began to close on its target. The go-fast counter realized the ship was chasing it and began fleeing at a high rate of speed. During the chase, the go-fast jettisoned 20 to 30 bales. Ticonderoga, with the assistance of USS Crommelin (FFG 37), was able to stop the go-fast and recover a total of 38 bales weighing approximately 2,176 lbs. During in-port breaks between military training exercises and law enforcement busts, Ticonderoga crew members enjoyed sight-seeing, golfing, scuba diving and shopping in Cozumel, Mexico; Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Cartagena, Colombia; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; and Panama City, Panama. The ship took these opportunities to strengthen U.S. relations with several of these countries. Tours for Colombian Naval Academy midshipmen and dignitaries in Cartagena were popular events. The crew was also invited to play in soccer matches against the Colombians and Panamanians during separate port visits. On Memorial Day in Panama, a group of Ticonderoga Sailors paid tribute to those who have served our nation and are buried in Panama by participating in a joint service ceremony at the Pan-American Cemetery. This deployment marks the last for Ticonderoga. Her continuous excellence in service will be remembered when she is decommissioned Sept. 30. Ticonderoga is commanded by Cmdr. Glenn W. Zeiders III of Marblehead, Mass., and is one of the ships assigned to Commander, Destroyer Squadron 14. It is a multi-mission surface combatant capable of supporting carrier strike groups or amphibious forces, operating as a flagship of a surface action group or of operating independently. It has a crew of more than 350 men and women, and has the ability to carry out multi-dimensional, multi-threat combat missions.
More than 20 years old, Ticonderoga was built in Pascagoula, commissioned in January 1983, and was the first ship of the AEGIS guided-missile cruiser class. It was the world's first surface combatant equipped with the AEGIS combat system, the most sophisticated air defense in the world. During the ship's lifetime, its crews have been involved in major national and international events, and several historic NATO exercises. Ticonderoga's adventures have taken her to duty in the Gulf of Sidra, off the coast of Beirut, to the Arctic Circle, the Equator, and through the Suez and Panama canals. The ship was one of the first to report on station in support of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm in 1990. She has deployed to the Mediterranean Sea, the Caribbean Sea and the Eastern Pacific Ocean.The current Ticonderoga is the fifth U.S. Navy ship to bear the historic name. She is named in commemoration of the capture of Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain in eastern New York, in May 1775, by Ethan Allen and his "Green Mountain Boys." One of the first military successes of the American Revolution, the seizure provided desperately needed cannons and supplies to George Washington's army.

17/08/04 USS Yorktown Returns to Pascagoula, Completes Final Deployment USS Yorktown Public Affairs, and  Naval Station Pascagoula Public Affairs

PASCAGOULA, Miss. (NNS) -- USS Yorktown (CG 48) will return home to Naval Station Pascagoula Aug. 17, after a successful six-month deployment with the USS Wasp (LHD 1) Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 2. Yorktown made key contributions to Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, and Market Time II in support of the global war on terrorism. The crew dubbed this deployment their “Victory Lap” because it is Yorktown’s last scheduled deployment before decommissioning in December 2004, and is in keeping with the ship’s motto, “Victory is our Tradition.” The ship, with embarked Helicopter Squadron Light (HSL) 42 Det. 2 from Mayport, Fla., set sail Feb. 17 from Pascagoula, and rendezvoused with the rest of the strike group off the coast of North Carolina three days later. Other ships with the strike group included the amphibious assault ship Wasp, amphibious transport dock ship USS Shreveport (LPD 12), amphibious dock landing ship USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41), guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), guided-missile destroyer USS McFaul (DDG 74), and fast-attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN 22). Yorktown spent a short time in the Mediterranean Sea with a brief visit to Taranto, Italy. Several days later, the ship transited the Suez Canal into the Red Sea for the first time in its 20-year history, and then into the Persian Gulf.  After reporting into the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility, the crew demonstrated its reputation for outstanding performance with a rescue on the high seas. A distress call was received from the burning oil tanker, Mt. Everton, that had collided with a fishing vessel in the Arabian Sea. The Yorktown crew responded immediately, coordinated the efforts of the ships in the area providing assistance, and conducted a search and rescue operation. After the Mt. Everton’s crew was rescued, Yorktown sent fire fighting personnel in small boats to help extinguish the fire, and significantly contributed to the salvage of the tanker. Yorktown spent two months in the Persian Gulf as the on-scene commander of maritime security operations, defending U.S. and coalition warships, and protecting Iraq’s Al Basra and Khawr Al Amaya oil terminals. These two Iraqi oil terminals are a vital part of Iraq’s economy and account for more than 80 percent of the oil exported out of Iraq. Terrorists attempted an attack on these terminals with explosive-laden boats April 24. The attack on the terminals was successfully repulsed by coalition forces and Iraqi security personnel, with only minimal damage to the terminals. However, three boarding team members from USS Firebolt (PC 10) were killed in the attack. Yorktown, who was steaming nearby, responded quickly and coordinated protection of the oil terminals with all available assets in the area. The ship’s actions prevented subsequent attacks and ensured maximum protection of the vital oil platform assets. To aid in their defence, U.S. Marine Corps personnel were permanently stationed on each oil terminal. Commander, Middle East Force, Capt. Kurt Tidd and his staff embarked aboard Yorktown to command the task force. Yorktown supported the Marines by providing food and water daily, and other support services, such as showers and haircuts, to keep them combat ready. The ship and her embarked helicopter detachment continued to protect the Iraqi terminals until the end of May, successfully deterring any further attacks. Yorktown commenced the exercise phase of her deployment in the beginning of June and participated in international exercises with the Oman, Egypt, Britain, France and Jordanian navies through mid-July. These exercises maintained strong international relationships between the United States and these countries, and improved ship handling and war fighting skills. Additionally, Yorktown conducted port visits to Muscat, Oman; Safaga, Egypt; and Aqaba, Jordan; in support of these exercises, hosting receptions aboard to welcome many of the influential civilian and military leaders. After four months of high-paced fleet operations and exercises in the Middle East, Yorktown departed the 5th Fleet area of responsibility and entered the Mediterranean Sea in late July, commencing her westbound transit to Pascagoula. The ship’s hard work paid dividends with Mediterranean port visits to Souda Bay, Greece; Valetta, Malta; and Rota, Spain; during her transit through the Mediterranean. Yorktown and her crew stopped briefly in Yorktown, Va., to offload ammunition in preparation for decommissioning in December, and embark family and friends for a 'tiger cruise,' before heading home. "Crewmembers can justifiably be proud of their accomplishments to the global war on terrorism," said Cmdr. Steven Sloan, Yorktown's commanding officer. "The crew has met or exceeded every mission tasking during the six-month deployment to the Arabian Gulf and Mediterranean. Yorktown has and continues to set the standard for operational excellence," he added. "The ship’s crew has demonstrated their motto 'Victory is Our Tradition,' and have proven their honour, courage, and commitment with a most successful 'Victory Lap.'

16/08/04

Stennis Strike Group Wraps Up JASEX with Kitty Hawk

USS John C. Stennis Public Affairs

ABOARD USS JOHN C. STENNIS (NNS) -- The USS John C. Stennis (JCS) (CVN 74) and USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) Carrier Strike Groups (CSG) completed the Joint Air and Sea Exercise 2004 (JASEX 04) Aug. 15 in the Western Pacific.

The second annual joint exercise involved air and sea training events focused on integrating joint training, and improving interoperability and teamwork between the two carrier strike groups, as well as with land-based Air Force and Marine Corps units forward deployed to the region. “Of particular note for the Navy is our unique opportunity to have had Kitty Hawk and Stennis carrier strike groups work together in the exercise,” said Capt. David Buss, commanding officer of Stennis. “We have not had many opportunities for the Kitty Hawk CSG, our Navy's only strike group forward deployed outside of the continental United States, to train side-by-side with a deployed strike group.” Stennis is currently on a routine deployment to the Western Pacific after completing a series of exercises in Alaska and Hawaii.

The latest exercise, JASEX, represents one of many milestones in operational readiness Stennis has completed, said Buss. "Just as with previous exercises that Stennis strike group has participated in during this deployment (Northern Edge and Rim of the Pacific Exercise), JASEX afforded us the opportunity to iron out many command-and-control, as well as interoperability issues at many levels throughout the exercise,” said Buss.  Buss explained that Kitty Hawk and Stennis strike groups supported each other in multiple warfare areas, and on a larger scale, engaged in valuable joint training exercises with U.S. Air Force and Marine Corps forces. "Joint and coalition warfare is the way we will fight in the future,” said Buss. “That fact alone makes the training we conduct and the lessons we learn during JASEX all the more important.”  Forces of nature also provided real-world challenges for the strike groups to overcome when a tropical cyclone moved through the operating area. “Certainly the emergence of typhoon Rananim caused us to re-think how we would make the most of this valuable opportunity of bringing joint forces together to train,” said Capt. Joe Kuzmick, Stennis’ executive officer. According to weather experts aboard Stennis, summer time in the Pacific, especially the month of August, is the high season for storms and, worse, tropical cyclones. As Stennis and Kitty Hawk evaded the storm by heading roughly 600 nautical miles east to the Iwo Jima operating area, planners rewrote JASEX to take the relocation into account. As the storm tracked westward and cleared Okinawa, making landfall on mainland China, both Kitty Hawk and Stennis were able to return to the operating areas near Japan to complete the exercise and bring it to a successful completion. John C. Stennis, a Nimitz-class carrier, is the flagship for the Stennis Strike Group. Embarked commands include Commander, Carrier Group 7; Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14; Commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 21; and Commander, Carrier Group (CCG) 7. CCG 7 directs the entire strike group's activity through CVW-14 and DESRON 21. The strike group includes five support ships: the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Howard (DDG 83), guided-missile frigate USS Ford (FFG 54), Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Salt Lake City (SSN 716) and the replenishment ship USNS Rainier (T-AOE 7).

17/08/04

New Navy Ship Named - USS Anchorage

U.S. Department of Defense

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England has named the Navy’s next amphibious transport dock ship in honour of the city of Anchorage, Alaska. “Anchorage is an important seaport and one of our nation’s great cities. For many years, thousands of young men and women from Alaska have stepped forward to serve America as a Sailor or Marine.

The warm hospitality of the people of Anchorage has always welcomed the fleet. USS Anchorage will project American power to the far corners of the earth, and support the cause of freedom well into the 21st century," England said. Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, Avondale Operations in New Orleans will build Anchorage. The 684-foot long amphibious transport dock ship will carry a crew of about 360 Navy sailors and 700 Marines. The ship will be used to transport and land Marines, as well as their equipment and supplies in support of amphibious assault, special operations and expeditionary warfare missions.

These personnel and supplies will be delivered via embarked landing craft air cushions, conventional landing craft or amphibious vehicles, and can be augmented by helicopters or vertical take off and landing aircraft. Anchorage will play a vital role in the success of the Navy/Marine Corps team. It will carry joint combat forces to the fight with increased lift capacity, superior command and control capabilities, and improved ship survivability. It will give expeditionary strike groups greater speed, agility and reach, and will help us to dominate the near land battle space.

 These ships incorporate substantial quality of service improvements to include sit-up berths, a ship services mall, an enhanced fitness facility and a state of the art learning resource centre. The previous Anchorage served for nearly 40 years, including recent service in the global war on terrorism. It was decommissioned in 2003.

18/08/04

US Navy's CVN-21 May be Delayed

Virginian - Pilot

The fate of the next-generation aircraft carrier being built by Northrop Grumman Newport News could change as the Navy realigns its funding priorities over the next two years.

 Inside the Navy, a trade publication, reported Monday that the Navy's fiscal 2006 budget calls for delaying funding for the $11.7 billion program by a year. About one-third of that already has been spent on research and development. Construction was scheduled to start in 2007, and the carrier was supposed to be delivered to the Navy in 2014. While the Navy has not confirmed this plan, local officials are voicing concern about it. "Any delay on CVN-21 would impact the plan we have here at the yard, as well as the affordability of the ship," Newport News spokeswoman Jerri Dickseski said. "But I can't quantify that because I haven't seen the budget." U.S. Sen. John Warner, R-Va., was caught by surprise, his spokesman said. He issued a statement Monday that said he will ask the Navy for a full briefing .

The budget, which reportedly has been submitted to Defence Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, is preliminary. It must be approved as part of the overall defence budget and signed by the president, which usually occurs in February. Spending decisions can change between now and then. "It would be inappropriate to discuss future budget decisions at this time," Navy spokesman Lt Cmdr. Daniel J. Hernandez said. Questions about the CVN-21 program come after similar uncertainty arose about funding for other Navy programs, including new submarines, surface combatants and amphibious ships.

The Navy is undergoing a transformation and is looking to build more high-tech ships that require less manpower. It also is pursuing a concept called sea basing in which the Navy and Marines would launch expeditions from offshore sites . Ronald O'Rourke, a naval analyst at the Congressional Research Service, said the Navy may have delayed funding for the new carrier in favour of the new amphibious docking ship LHA(R). The ship's cost is estimated to be about $2.4 billion and likely would be built by Northrop Grumman's Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss., O'Rourke said in a recent report. The Navy began funding CVN-21 in 2001 and was set to give Newport News $3.87 billion for construction in fiscal 2007.

Now there is concern that the Navy will push that back to 2008, leaving many workers at the Newport News yard idle for a year if no new work is sent its way to replace it. For these reasons, plus the rate of inflation, O'Rourke said a delay would likely increase the carrier's cost. CVN-21 is supposed to replace the carrier Enterprise, which will be 53 years old in 2014. A year long delay in delivery of CVN-21 might raise questions about the safely of the Enterprise's nuclear reactor, which has a 50-year life span. "It's not the age of the ship that's the issue," O'Rourke said. "It's the life of the nuclear reactor core on the ship."

17/08/04

Navy says Kennedy jets were damaged in mishap Virginian - Pilot

The Navy has acknowledged that two jets were damaged during an incident last month when the carrier John F. Kennedy collided with a fishing dhow in the Persian Gulf. Navy officials said that the Mayport, Fla.-based carrier made a hard left turn trying to avoid the dhow, causing one plane that had just landed to slide into another that was parked.

An investigation continues into the collision, which resulted in the sinking of the dhow. No survivors or remains from the small boat were recovered. No one in the aircraft, or aboard the Kennedy, was hurt. The accident occurred at 10:30 p.m. July 22 while the Kennedy was recovering aircraft from an earlier launch, officials have confirmed.

Operating in international waters at night, the Kennedy detected the dhow before it was struck but was in the midst of an F-14 Tomcat landing and maintained its course and speed until the plane landed. Only then did the ship alter course, causing the carrier to pitch, sending the skidding F-14 into the side of a parked F/A-18 Hornet, according to a statement released Monday by the 5th Fleet in Bahrain. The investigation is being led by Rear Adm. Evan M. Chanik

18/08/04

Bonhomme Richard Embarks Harriers, Prepares for Deployment

USS Bonhomme Richard Public Affairs

USS Bonhomme Richard embarked AV-8B Harriers from Aug. 10-13 for the second time since serving as one of two Harrier carriers during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Four Harriers from Marine Attach Squadron (VMA) 513 from Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., began flight operations to qualify their pilots and establish a good working relationship with their Navy counterparts prior to their scheduled deployment with Bonhomme Richard later this year, said Marine Sgt. Manuel Vizcarrondo, a quality assurance representative for VMA-513. “The main focus was to establish face-to-face contact with our Navy counterparts and begin the process of getting our pilots qualified,” said Vizcarrondo. “(It is) one team one fight during these flight evolutions,” said Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) (AW/SW) Darryll Jordan, flight deck leading chief petty officer. “During Operation Iraqi Freedom, (the Marines) proved it and stuck to their guns.

These Marines work with such pride and professionalism, and they have picked up the beat right where they left off,” he added. Aviation’s Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 1st Class Curtis Fletcher said having the harriers was a great training opportunity for the new Sailors who are not yet familiar with the aircraft. “We have been able to give some of our junior guys who don’t have much experience with the ‘birds’ hands on training. They can deal with the harriers up-close and personal,” added Fletcher. Bonhomme Richard is currently in the Advanced Phase of its training cycle and is scheduled to deploy as the flag ship for Expeditionary Group 5 later this year.

17/08/04

USS Portsmouth Prepares to Deactivate (SSN 707)

Public Affairs Center San Diego

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The 21-year career of the Los Angeles-class submarine USS Portsmouth (SSN 707) will come to an early end this summer, when the fast-attack nuclear boat travels to Virginia to deactivate. It will leave San Diego and travel to Norfolk Naval Shipyard, where the crew will hold a decommissioning ceremony in September.

They will then work through the winter, dismantling the boat that has been a second home to hundreds of Sailors since the early 1980s. Portsmouth was commissioned Oct. 1, 1983, in Portsmouth, N.H., one of its two namesake cities. The other namesake is Portsmouth, Va. As a Los Angeles-class submarine, the boat is capable of serving the fleet for at least another 10 years. According to Portsmouth Commanding Officer Cmdr. Kevin R. Brenton, Navy officials have decided to divert the funds the boat would need to stay in service to newer submarines. “A budget decision had to be made about the boat. It is more than 20 years old, and we’re reaching the end of the reactor core life,” Brenton explained. "We either had to refill or decommission.” If Portsmouth remained in the fleet, it also would have needed extensive structural testing in a dry dock setting, an expensive but necessary process for submarines remaining in the service beyond their first 20 years, Brenton said. Portsmouth has accomplished much during its service.

The boat has earned four Meritorious Unit Commendations and five Battle Efficiency (Battle “E”) awards over the years, along with the Navy Commendation Medal and numerous awards recognizing superior performance by different departments, including engineering, navigation and supply. “It is an extremely proud crew and ship. Portsmouth has maintained a great reputation for many, many years,” said Brenton.  It has only been a few months since Portsmouth supported the fleet itself. Portsmouth returned to San Diego from a six-month Western Pacific deployment in February.

 Portsmouth also travelled to the Gulf of Alaska in June to protect the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) during Northern Edge, an annual air exercise. “Our last deployment was this lady’s last dance, and it was a great one,” said Portsmouth Chief of the Boat, Master Chief Electronics Technician Daniel P. Adley. According to Adley, the crew of a submarine is often more cohesive than that of a surface ship because of the close quarters submariners live in. Among the tight-knit submarine crews Adley has worked with during his 23 years in the service, he said Portsmouth is one of the best. “This boat probably has the best chemistry of warriors I’ve ever experienced,” he said. “It’s been a blessing. We’re all having fun and that makes it much easier to put everything we’ve got into our jobs.” Although some Portsmouth Sailors will stay with their boat until the very end, others will start transitioning to new commands as early as October. Brenton said culinary specialists, sonar technicians, and other crew members with specialties not directly related to maintaining the boat’s structure will be the first to leave.

 Nuclear technicians will be among the last. Brenton said he considers the Sailors in his crew among the best and brightest young people in the United States today. “Without the 160-or-so Sailors I have on board, this boat is just a hunk of metal, wires and hydraulic fluid,” Brenton said. “They work with a sense of pride and professionalism that keeps me in awe every day. Even though Portsmouth is going away, the Sailors will remain and bring that pride and professionalism to every ship they serve on in the future.”

20/08/04 Norfolk-Based Ships Participate in ASW Exercise From Commander, Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Atlantic Fleet Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Four Norfolk-based ships departed Naval Station Norfolk Aug. 20 to participate in the U.S. Atlantic Fleet’s annual theatre Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) exercise, Smart Search ’04.

The exercise begins Aug. 29 off the east coast of the United States. This is the fourth year of the annual exercise and is headed by Commander, Task Force 84. The goal of the exercise is to effectively employ and improve the combat capability of Atlantic Fleet submarines and afloat ASW forces while simultaneously increasing the efficiency of operations ashore.

The exercise will test, assess and improve the proficiency of Navy theatre ASW forces in a complex, realistic training scenario involving Navy ships, submarines and aircraft. ASW remains an important part of U.S. national strategy, which is founded on our advantages of dominant, forward-deployed forces that allow us to fight and win thousands of miles from our shores. The Navy’s ASW forces must be highly trained and capable in theatre ASW operations, in order to provide assured access to strategic areas worldwide and to protect the freedom to manoeuvre that our nation’s forces need in the maritime domain.

“If you look worldwide, you will see there are some nations that have robust submarine capabilities,” said Capt. Tom Abernathy, commander, Destroyer Squadron (CDS) 22, whose squadron of ships will be participating in the exercise. “To not be prepared for that is not prudent.”

The Norfolk-based ships from CDS 22 participating include USS Donald Cook (DDG 75), USS Hawes (FFG 53), USS Mitscher (DDG 57) and USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79). U.S. Atlantic Fleet submarines, Jacksonville, Fla.-based P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft and allied forces will also participate in the exercise.

“There is a certain amount of training that you can do as a single ship, which all of us have gone through,” said Cmdr. Mark Sedlacek, commanding officer of Donald Cook. “This is a great opportunity to participate as a team against an adversary who has some advantages in stealth against surface ships.”

23/08/04 Three Surface Ships Deploy from Mayport From Naval Station Mayport Public Affairs

MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- Nearly 1,000 Sailors aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Hue City (CG 66), the guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) and the guided-missile frigate USS Underwood (FFG 36) departed Naval Station Mayport Aug. 20 for deployment in support of the global war on terrorism.

As part of the USS Saipan (LHA 2) Expeditionary Strike Group, Hue City, The Sullivans and Undwerwood will participate in regional exercises with allies, make diplomatic port calls and respond to any contingency, including those associated with the ongoing war on terrorism.

The ships can operate independently or in conjunction with other maritime forces to support joint and allied forces afloat and ashore.

27/08/04 Navy to Commission Destroyer Momsen (DDG 92) Special release from the U.S. Department of Defense

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile Destroyer, Momsen, will be commissioned Aug. 28 during an 11 a.m. CST ceremony in Panama City, Fla.

The ship honours Vice Adm. Charles Bowers "Swede" Momsen (1896-1967), a 1919 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, who is considered the father of the U.S. Navy’s diving programs. In recognition of his many accomplishments, the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center in Panama City, Fla., was named in his honour and the commissioning ceremony location was selected because of this reason.

Although he had many noteworthy achievements during his naval career, Momsen is best known for inventing the Momsen Lung, an escape mechanism for submarines that the Navy still uses today, and the Momsen-McCann Diving Bell. This invention is best remembered from when Momsen used it during the rescue/salvage operation following the sinking of USS Squalus (SS 192) after she sank in 243 feet of water in May 1939. Momsen led the successful effort, which resulted in the rescue of 33 crew members trapped aboard the submarine and remains to this day the greatest undersea rescue in history. Momsen received a commendation from President Franklin D. Roosevelt for these actions.

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Evelyn Momsen Hailey, daughter of the ship's namesake, will serve as ship’s sponsor. In the time-honoured Navy tradition of commissioning U.S. naval ships, Hailey will give the order to “man our ship and bring her to life!”

Momsen is the 42nd ship of 62 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers currently authorized by Congress and the 23rd destroyer built by Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine. This highly capable multi-mission ship can conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection, in support of the national military strategy. Momsen will be capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously.

The ship contains a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime defense needs well into the 21st century

Cmdr. Edward F. Kenyon, a native of Binghamton, N.Y., and a 1985 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, is the ship’s first commanding officer and will lead a crew of approximately 380 officers and enlisted personnel. One of those crew members will be Petty Officer Second Class Andrew Hailey, the great-grandson of Momsen.

As a member of the Pacific Fleet, Momsen will be homeported in Everett, Wash. The ship is 511 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 59 feet, an overall beam of 66 feet, and a navigational draft of 32 feet. Four gas turbine engines will power the 9,200-ton ship to speeds of more than 30 knots.