The littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) is scheduled to arrive at its home port of San Diego on March 10. The arrival is a few weeks ahead of her commissioning ceremony scheduled for April 5 in her namesake city.
Following construction and acceptance trials at the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Ala., Coronado set sail in January for Mayport, Fla. Along the way, she conducted equipment checks, system tests and crew certification training.
Upon departing Mayport, the ship continued testing and training, and made port visits in Cuba, Colombia, Panama and Mexico.
Coronado is the third U.S. Navy ship to bear the name of the “Crown City,” and is the second littoral combat ship of the Independence-variant that features an innovative trimaran hull. The unique hull design offers unparalleled stability for marine and aviation operations in severe sea states.
African American Sailors have served the U.S. Navy honorably through every major armed conflict since the Revolutionary War, helping forward the cause of civil rights and equal treatment under the law.
Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (SURFPAC) commemorated Black History Month today with a presentation of icons from the Civil Rights Movement, an oral presentation of the Port Chicago Disaster, and remarks from guest speaker Capt. George Gaines (Ret.). This year, Navy commands were encouraged to celebrate and reflect on the theme “Civil Rights in America.”
USS San Diego (LPD 22) departed Naval Base San Diego this week for an Underway Recovery Test (URT), a multi-agency mission in support of NASA’s Orion program. The URT is the second of two tests the Navy and NASA will conduct prior to the Exploration Flight Test later this year.
This marks the first at-sea recovery of the crew module. During the URT, a test model of the crew module, its forward bay cover, and associated parachutes will be deployed from USS San Diego and recovered to finalize techniques and procedures.
Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (SURFPAC) welcomed seven Sailors to San Diego for its annual Sea and Shore Sailor of the Year week. The Sailor of the Year program recognizes individuals who best represent each command, and ultimately, the Navy. The week’s events honor each of the finalists for their contributions to their commands and local communities while evaluating their military bearing, professional performance and leadership skills. This week they’re all competing for the Sailor of the Year title, to be announced 14 February.
Hull Technician 1st Class Petty Officer Donipaul Briscoe reported to Basic Underwater Demolition Training at Naval Special Warfare Center in Coronado, Calif. in 2003. Later that year he reported aboard USS Denver (LPD 9). While assigned to Denver, he was advanced to 2nd Class Petty Officer, and earned his Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist qualification. He also completed numerous deployments to Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Fleet Areas of Operation. In 2007, he reported aboard USS McCampbell (DDG 85), homeported in Yokosuka, Japan.
Briscoe reported to Afloat Training Group (ATG) Western Pacific in 2010. He earned his Master Training Specialist and Afloat Training Specialist qualifications, and was selected as the Senior Sailor of the Third Quarter for fiscal year 2012 and 2013, and was the 2013 Senior Sailor of the Year for ATG and ATG Pacific.
Briscoe is currently stationed aboard USS Sterett (DDG 104), and is the Engineering, ER Division Leading Petty Officer. He is a recent graduate of Central Texas College where he received an associate’s degree in general studies.
Master-at-Arms First Class Petty Officer Raymond Cuevas reported to the Naval Technical Training Center, where he completed Fireman Apprenticeship Training in 2001. After graduation, he reported for duty aboard USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), where he was assigned to the aft main machinery room. During this tour, Cuevas completed two deployments in support of combat operations in U.S. Central Command before converting to Master-at-Arms in 2004. As a Master-at-Arms, his past assignments include Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy; U.S. Army 1-120th Field Artillery Unit; Marine Corps Security Forces Battalion; and Personal Protection Specialist/Body Guard for Commander, U.S. Fifth Fleet and Commander, U.S. Navy Forces Central Command, in Manama, Bahrain.
Cuevas currently serves as Command Master-at-Arms and Assistant Antiterrorism/Force Protection Officer aboard USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60), and has completed one national tasking order deployment to the Fifth and Seventh Fleet Areas of Operation to support Ballistic Missile Defense requirements. In 2006, he completed an Individual Augmentee tour to Iraq in support of Iraqi Freedom at the Sea Port of debarkation/embarkation.
Master-at-Arms 1st Class Petty Officer Nicholas Fessler reported to his first duty assignment at Mobile Security Squadron Seven, Detachment 73 in Santa Rita, Guam. During this tour, he qualified as an Expeditionary Warfare Specialist. He served as an Embark Security Team Member/Leader, Tactical Operations Center Supervisor and a Phoenix Raven Program Manager. He was also promoted to the rank of 3rd Class Petty Officer and was selected as Mobile Security Squadron Seven, Blue Jacket of the Third Quarter for 2007.
In 2008, he reported to Naval Station Mayport, Fla. During this tour he was promoted to 2nd Class Petty Officer, then 1st Class Petty Officer. He served as a Supply Officer, Training Leading Petty Officer, Command Armorer and the Auxiliary Security Force Coordinator. He was selected as Naval Station Mayport Junior Sailor of the Year in both 2008 and 2010. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.
In 2012, Fessler reported aboard USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) in Sasebo, Japan. During this tour, he qualified as an Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist and Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist. He is currently serving as the Executive Leading Petty Officer and the Command Anti-Terrorism Training Supervisor. He was selected as Bonhomme Richard and Amphibious Force Seventh Fleet, Expeditionary Strike Group 76, Senior Sailor of the First Quarter 2012.
Electrician’s Mate 1st Class Petty Officer Desmond Johnson reported to USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) in 2001. During his tour, Johnson completed two deployments supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. He was selected as Cook’s Blue Jacket of the Year in 2004 and was promoted to 3rd Class Petty Officer soon after.
In 2006, he transferred to the U.S. Naval War College where he was the Admiral’s Barge Electrician. He also earned his degree in electrical technology at New England Institute of Technology. During this time, he was promoted to 2nd Class Petty Officer and was selected as the Junior Sailor of the Quarter.
In 2008, he reported to Pre-Commissioning Unit Dewey (DDG 105). He was the first 2nd Class Petty Officer aboard to obtain an Engineering Officer of the Watch letter; selection as the Dewey Junior Sailor of the Quarter (2); selection as Destroyer Squadron 21 Junior Sailor of the Quarter; promotion to 1st Class Petty Officer, and the first engineer aboard to qualify as an Anti-Terrorism Watch Officer.
As Leading Petty Officer for the electrical division aboard Dewey, Johnson is in charge of the general upkeep and maintenance of the electrical distribution system.
Quartermaster 1st Class Petty Officer Erika Lira arrived at her first duty station in Manama, Bahrain in 2001. The following year she took orders to San Diego, Calif. aboard USS Comstock (LSD 45). Soon after reporting to Comstock, Lira was promoted to 3rd Class Petty Officer. During this assignment, Lira attended Advanced Damage Control School and a Senior Quartermaster Refresher Course, and earned her Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist qualification after her first deployment. In 2005, she advanced to 2nd Class Petty Officer.
After three deployments in over four years aboard Comstock, she transferred to Assault Craft Unit Five in Camp Pendleton, Calif., serving as a Landing Craft Air Cushion Navigator. Lira completed Navigator school in 2007 and was sent to work in the Operations Department. She completed her first deployment with Detachment Delta in 2008. Lira then became the Lead Navigator for her second deployment with Detachment Charlie in 2011, and was advanced to 1st Class Petty Officer.
After completing the Journeyman Instructor Course in San Diego, Calif., she returned and currently serves as a Navigator Instructor at Assault Craft Unit Five’s Advanced Qualifying Training course.
Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Petty Officer Jeremiah McArthur reported to Field Medical Service School West in Camp Pendleton, Calif. in 1997, where he worked alongside the U.S. Marine Corps. Upon completion, he reported to Preventive Medicine Technician “C” School at Naval School of Health Sciences San Diego. He then transferred to Chemical Biological Incident Response Force in Camp Lejeune, N.C., where he served as a Preventive Medical Technician. In 2001, he transferred to the Inactive Reserves (Florida).
After a brief sabbatical, McArthur transferred to Field Medical Service School East at Camp Lejeune in 2002, where he served as a Formal School Instructor, Preventive Medical Technician, and LPO. During this tour, he earned his bachelor’s degree in health care management at Campbell University. In December 2006, McArthur transferred to Special Operations Training Group in Camp Lejeune, where he served as an Instructor and LPO. He graduated with honors in 2009 from Surface Force Independent Duty Corpsman (IDC) School.
After graduation, he reported to Naval Health Clinic New England at Naval Station Newport, R.I., serving as an IDC and LPO. In 2012, McArthur transferred to Pre-Commissioning Unit Jackson (LCS 6), where he currently serves as the IDC and Administrative Officer.
Legalman 1st Class Petty Officer Raysa Turner reported aboard USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), homeported in Norfolk, Va., where she participated in Operation Enduring Freedom and completed a Mediterranean deployment. She earned her Enlisted Air Warfare Specialist and Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist qualifications, and advanced to 3rd Class Petty Officer. Turner advanced to 2nd Class Petty Officer as she converted to the legalman rating. In 2002, she transferred to the Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department in Norfolk, Va.
In 2003, Turner attended LN “A” school in Newport, R.I. Her next duty station was Trial Service Office East, Mid-Atlantic in Norfolk, Va. as a court reporter and paralegal from 2003 to 2006, where she was selected as Sailor of the Quarter. Turner then transferred to USS Tarawa (LHA 1), homeported in San Diego, Calif. While aboard, she earned her associate’s degree in business from Excelsior College in 2006. The following year, she transferred to the Region Legal Service Office Southwest, where she was LPO and court reporter.
In 2009, Turner transferred to Naval Hospital Jacksonville as an Independent Duty Legalman. She advanced to 1st Class Petty Officer and earned her Navy COOL certification in homeland security. She also participated in Joint Task Force Haiti aboard USNS Comfort (T-AH 20). Turner was selected as Sailor of the Quarter and nominated as Legalman of the Year for two years in a row. In 2010, she was elected to attend Roger Williams University through the Legalman Paralegal Enhancement Program, and earned her associate’s degree in paralegal studies in 2012. Later that year, she transferred to USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), where she conducted a hull swap with USS Essex (LHD 2) in Sasebo, Japan. Turner is currently the Command Legalman and Departmental LPO. She attained her USMAP certification for paralegal in 2012, and was selected as the 2013 USS Essex Enlisted Woman of the Year and Senior Sailor of the Quarter.
As part of local community outreach efforts, the littoral combat ship USS Independence (LCS 2) will be available for public tours in San Diego Feb. 12-13.
Independence is scheduled to moor at the B Street Pier Cruise Terminal, and will open for ship tours Wednesday, Feb. 12 from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. (final visitor in line by 3:30 p.m.) and Thursday, Feb. 13 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (final visitor in line by 11:30 a.m.)
Visitors will get an up-close look at the modern warship, her motivated Sailors, and their role in supporting U.S. national security. Independence is the first ship of the LCS Independence-variant and has a crew of approximately 40 Sailors.
LCS are high-speed, shallow draft multi-mission ships designed to operate independently or with an associated strike group. They are designed to defeat growing littoral threats and provide access and dominance in coastal waters. A fast, maneuverable, and networked surface combatant, LCS provides the required warfighting capabilities and operational flexibility to execute focused missions such as surface warfare, mine warfare and anti-submarine warfare.
By EN2(SW) James Howes, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet
It’s been a year since I left for an Individual Augmentee (IA) deployment with MCM Crew Spartan. I was proud to relieve the Sailors who were waiting to come home after being deployed for eleven months. I had the jitters that Sailors normally get when reporting to a new command. Once we checked in with our prospective crews, we were addressed by LCDR Edward Pledger, a seasoned MCM sailor who would be our new CO for the year. The first thing he did was warn us that it would be hard at first; we’d work long hours, and were in for a long training cycle. But he also had hopes that someday while reminiscing with our grandkids, we’d look back and remember this year as the best of our lives and Navy career. Most of us laughed, but as time went on, it all became true.
Our training cycle became one of the shortest in Navy history. In just four months we were certified and ready for the next part of our tour. We took some leave, said our goodbyes, and were on our flights heading to the sunny Kingdom of Bahrain and USS Sentry (MCM 3). Most of us knew what we were getting ourselves into. We had plankowners from other minesweeps, ATG inspectors, instructors, and even a couple of aviation-types that by the end of deployment became “snipes” in every aspect of the word. We were Crew Spartan, the originals.
All of us have been asked during our career why we joined the Navy. Like most, I was trying to pay for college, wanted to see the world— but most of all—I was looking for camaraderie, that family feeling, and the brotherhood you can only get by serving your country. And for the first time in my 11 years of service in this great Navy, I found what I was looking for. MCM Crew Spartan became my family. If there was a new addition to a Sailor’s family, or an unfortunate loss, the entire crew felt the joy and sorrow of our fellow shipmates.
There was not a single goal that the crew set out to accomplish that we didn’t achieve—from 100% for ESWS and SWO qualifications, to over 95% in every area of our warfare certifications. I truly feel we lived up to the motto, “the best damn crew.” We made every call to sea that we were ordered, and even sent our Sailors to assist other crews with INSURV.
Now that I’ve returned to shore duty, I find myself missing my old crew. It’s almost like leaving a close friend behind. Looking back on deployment, I know there are a lot of things I’ve learned about myself, my rate and what I’d like to continue in the future.
In the words of DC1(SW/AW) Crouch, “HOOOOOO-YAH CREW SPARTAN!!!!!!!!”… you will be missed.
The Surface Community is in the process of standing up a new command later this year dedicated to improving tactical proficiency across all mission areas. The schoolhouse will improve the Surface Force’s ability to maintain warfighting superiority in a changing world.
The new command will be tasked with the development, training and assessment of surface warfare tactical proficiency, and capability against a full range of adversaries. The core of this effort will be a Surface Warfare Combat Training Continuum, which will codify the training and experience standards that officers and certain enlisted will be required to meet as they progress through their careers.
The new anti-submarine warfare and integrated air and missile defense WTIs returned to the fleet last year. These officers are armed with the knowledge and skills to make immediate and substantive impacts on the tactical proficiency of their individual commands. Over time, WTIs will populate all Surface ships, and will be responsible for meeting standards within the Surface Warfare Combat Training Continuum.
The new command will generate, validate and promulgate Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs) for the full spectrum of surface warfare mission areas. It will not only develop experts in many warfare areas, but will focus on mastering the integration of different warfare areas. It’s not enough to have experts purely in air warfare, strike warfare, ballistic missile defense, electronic warfare and undersea warfare, because surface warriors must excel in multiple missions simultaneously. It will be more than a place to write tactics; it will be a means for instilling uniform tactical excellence as a cultural standard.
“Our junior officers, in particular, join the Navy to be warfighters, and we must provide them a culture in which tactical excellence is developed and maintained throughout a career and where it is an explicit discriminator of who gets promoted,” said Vice Adm. Tom Copeman, Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.