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April 18, 2014 / iDriveWarships

USS Somerset to Arrive in San Diego Monday

USS Somerset (LPD 25)

The Navy’s newest amphibious ship USS Somerset (LPD 25) is scheduled to make its homeport arrival in San Diego on April 21.

Somerset was formally commissioned on March 1 during a ceremony in Philadelphia, and was underway soon after. The ship steamed through the Caribbean Sea and Panama Canal to arrive in her new homeport at Naval Base San Diego.

Somerset is the ninth San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship. The ship is named in honor of the crew and passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 that crashed near Shanksville, Pa. in Somerset County during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Somerset represents the heroic actions of the 40 crew and passengers of United Flight 93, honoring their collective sacrifice and courage displayed in the face of overwhelming adversity.

The third of the three U.S. ships named in honor of the victims and first responders of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon; Somerset joins USS New York (LPD 21) and USS Arlington (LPD 24) as part of the Navy’s combat force.

April 7, 2014 / iDriveWarships

Mobile Bay Sailor Receives Prestigious Leadership Award

YN1 Shanika Jones

Yeoman 1st Class Petty Officer Shanika Jones assigned to guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) has been named the Navy’s junior enlisted winner of the prestigious Master Chief Anna Der-Vartanian Leadership Award.

Master Chief Yeoman Anna Der-Vartanian Leadership Awards are presented annually to one senior and one junior enlisted female service member. The award honors the visionary leadership of Navy service members whose ideals and dedication foster a positive working environment while reinforcing and furthering the integration of women into the Navy.

More than 150 nominees were graded on the criteria of professional accomplishments, character, command climate/equal opportunity, leadership and community involvement. Master Chief Der-Vartanian, the trailblazer for whom the award is named, was the first female in the armed services to achieve the rank of master chief petty officer in 1959.

Mobile Bay’s senior leadership describes Jones as a consummate professional, model Sailor, and a highly-valued member of the community and command.

When it comes to leading and managing junior Sailors, Jones said she has an aggressive approach, but makes it her business to help them develop an individual plan for both short- and long-term success.

According to Mobile Bay’s Command Master Chief Ernest Belmares, Jones was nominated for the award based on her superior leadership during the past year—not only in her rate—but also in a variety of other positions including damage control training, duty section management and serving as the ship’s mess decks master-at-arms.

March 31, 2014 / iDriveWarships

SURFPAC Celebrates Women’s History Month

SURFPAC Women's History Month celebration

The staff of Commander Naval Surface Force. U.S. Pacific Fleet (SURFPAC) formally recognized the contributions of women throughout the span of time during a Women’s History Month celebration.

Navy commands were encouraged to focus on this year’s national theme, “Celebrating Women of Character, Courage and Commitment,” honoring the extraordinary and often unrecognized determination and tenacity of women.

During the ceremony, guest speaker Master Chief Kathleen Hansen (Ret.) reflected on her achievements during 30 years of naval service. Also sharing their stories of service, Rita O’Neil and Beverly Newak spoke of their time in the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Services (WAVES) program. Launched during WWII, WAVES allowed more than 85,000 women to serve outside the secretarial realm in uniformed capacity.

March 28, 2014 / iDriveWarships

CNO Talks LCS Survivability

Adm. Greenert testifies before the SASC

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert reassured members of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) this week on the issue of littoral combat ship (LCS) survivability.

Testifying in front of SASC and the media, Adm. Greenert and Secretary Ray Mabus defended the need for 52 small surface combatants during their testimony. Mabus emphasized how LCS costs have been driven down and Greenert responded to questions on LCS survivability.

According to Greenert, survivability is a broad term open to interpretation.

In his statements, he defines the three elements of survivability as susceptibility, the ability for a ship to defend itself; vulnerability, the effects of an initial casualty on a ship; and recoverability, the ability for a ship to conduct damage control.

Responding to U.S. Sen. Carl Levin and media, Greenert explained that LCS meets or exceeds the same standards of those expressed elements of survivability and recoverability. He said the attributes of survivability in the LCS are comparable to frigates, and even better than the ships they’re designed to replace such as mine countermeasures and patrol craft. He also pointed out that LCS meets the mission criteria as designed.

Greenert said LCS is an important small surface combatant the Navy needs now and in the future.

Although Greenert supports the overall LCS design, he’s open to modifications that would increase both survivability and flexibility of the platform.

March 21, 2014 / iDriveWarships

SURFPAC Announces 2013 Battle “E” Winners

QM3 Francisco paints an "E" on the port side bridge wing

Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (SURFPAC) announced the 2013 Battle Effectiveness (Battle “E”) winners this week. The Battle “E” is awarded annually to ships and crews that exhibit the maximum condition of departmental readiness in their group, and their capability to perform their wartime tasks.

Battle “E” awardees demonstrated sustained superior performance in the following six excellence categories: Maritime Warfare; Engineering and Survivability; Command, Control, Communications, and Information Warfare; Logistics Management; Commander Naval Surface Force Safety Award and the Efficiency Excellence Award.

SURFPAC awarded 26 Battle “E” winners (22 ships, 4 crews) in 2013. Crews awarded the Battle “E” may wear the ribbon immediately. Congratulations to our winners:

USS CHOSIN (CG 65)
USS LAKE CHAMPLAIN (CG 57)
USS MOBILE BAY (CG 53)
USS PRINCETON (CG 59)
USS SHILOH (CG 67)
USS MCCLUSKY (FFG 41)
USS BENFOLD (DDG 65)
USS CHAFEE (DDG 90)
USS CHUNG-HOON (DDG 93)
USS FITZGERALD (DDG 62)
USS HOWARD (DDG 83)
USS MOMSEN (DDG 92)
USS MUSTIN (DDG 89)
USS PREBLE (DDG 88)
USS SPRUANCE (DDG 111)
USS WAYNE E. MEYER (DDG 108)
USS BONHOMME RICHARD (LHD 6)
USS BOXER (LHD 4)
USS GERMANTOWN (LSD 42)
USS PELELIU (LHA 5)
USS SAN DIEGO (LPD 22)
USS AVENGER (MCM 1)
USS FREEDOM (LCS 1) Crew 103
USS INDEPENDENCE (LCS 2) Crew 201
MCM CREW DOMINANT
MCM CREW REAPER

March 12, 2014 / iDriveWarships

USS Coronado Makes Homeport Arrival in San Diego

There’s a new crown in town now that littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) made her homeport arrival in San Diego on March 10.

Commanding Officer CDR John Kochendorfer led LCS Crew 203 through the sailaround, including a transit of the Panama Canal, and will be relieved during a scheduled crew rotation in a few weeks.

After departing Mayport on Jan. 27, the ship made port visits in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Cartagena, Colombia; Rodman, Panama and Manzanillo, Mexico.

As the “Crown of the Fleet,” Coronado already embraces her namesake city by referring to all living and dining spaces as “Hotel Del,” and naming its Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat “Silver Strand.”

Coronado Mayor Casey Tanaka and City Council Member Mike Woiwode were onboard as the ship pulled into port, and offered the crew a warm welcome to their city.

USS Coronado in numbers:
• Fourth ship in the LCS class
• Second ship of the Independence-variant
• Third ship to bear its name

The next crowning achievement for the crew will be a commissioning ceremony on April 5 at Naval Air Station North Island. The ship’s sponsor is Susan Ring Keith, the daughter of Vice Admiral Stanhope Ring, a WWII veteran and Navy Cross recipient.

USS Coronado transits the San Diego Bay

Click here to view more photos from Coronado’s arrival.

March 7, 2014 / iDriveWarships

USS Coronado Arrives in San Diego Monday

USS Coronado (LCS 4) underway

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.

Following commissioning at Naval Air Station North Island, Coronado will be homeported at Naval Base San Diego, attached to Littoral Combat Ship Squadron (LCSRON) 1.

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