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May 26, 2017 / iDriveWarships

To Win at Sea

 

Every day there are U.S. Navy Surface Force Sailors aboard ships around the globe, working hard to conduct vital maritime security missions. In a world filled with great power dynamics and a shifting security environment, it’s imperative that the Surface Fleet are prepared to answer the call in times of crisis and provide operational commanders flexible, scalable options to hold potential adversaries at risk and at range.

More than 150 deployable ships and 80 support commands are focused on the ability to achieve and sustain sea control in order to protect the homeland from afar, build and maintain global security, and win decisively, Naval Surface Forces maintain the capability to be where it matters, when it matters. The Surface Fleet is dedicated to being Forward, Visible, and Ready.

Forward- The Naval Surface Force includes eight different types of ships designed for a wide variety of missions, from guided missile cruisers that can protect carrier battle groups or operate independently, to mine countermeasures ships that can search for and clear explosive sea mines. Our ships operate in every ocean around the world, providing a presence that allows us to respond quickly to both routine and emergent maritime security issues. When being there matters most, our ships are able to execute military missions across a wide geography, building greater transparency, reducing the risk of miscalculation or conflict, and promoting a shared maritime environment.

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63), USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54), USS Barry (DDG 52) and USS McCampbell (DDG 85) transit the Philippine Sea in formation for a photo exercise during Valiant Shield 2016. Valiant Shield is a biennial, U.S. only, field-training exercise with a focus on integration of joint training among U.S. forces. This is the sixth exercise in the Valiant Shield series that began in 2006. Carrier Strike Group Five (CSG 5) is on patrol in the Philippine Sea supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andrew Schneider/Released) 160923-N-XQ474-258

Visible- Being seen persistently in oceans around the world, Surface Force warships assure allies and partners by deterring potential adversaries from disrupting freedom of maneuver in international waters. These ships also promote global stability by helping to protect sea lanes used for global trade and economic growth, keeping goods and commerce flowing the world over.

Ready- The Surface Fleet is committed to maintaining combat readiness, material readiness, and personnel readiness in order to be the best warfighters possible. Maintaining readiness in these key areas allows the Surface Force to respond quickly and effectively in times of crisis. Providing credible combat power, Naval Surface warships are ready to respond when called upon providing operational commanders options to control areas of the ocean and hold potential adversaries at risk, at range, whether at sea or ashore.

Our presence, deterrence, and power projection all play a part in the ability to exert sea control when and where it’s needed, for as long as it’s needed. Whether it’s assisting allies during a disaster relief operation, or conducting amphibious operations in littorals, the ability to control the sea is the precondition for any operation undertaken by the Surface Fleet – despite the number of vital missions carried out, the greatest, regardless of task, is winning at sea.

Given the scope of abilities and proclivity for superior execution, the mobile, lethal, and flexible instrument of national power that is the Naval Surface Force. The Surface Force is truly the world’s predominant maritime power – and we wouldn’t have it any other way!

 

 

May 12, 2017 / iDriveWarships

USS Somerset Shines on Maiden Deployment

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SAN DIEGO (Oct. 14, 2016) — Line handlers assigned to Naval Station San Diego release the mooring lines as the amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25), departs for a scheduled deployment. (U.S. Navy Photo by Seaman Kelsey Hockenberger/Released)

By Capt. Darren Glaser
Commanding Officer, USS Somerset (LPD 25)


As we departed Naval Base San Diego Oct. 14, 2016, for USS Somerset’s (LPD 25) maiden deployment, along with USS Makin Island (LHD 8)and USS Comstock (LSD 45) for operations in the U.S. 3rd, 5th and 7th Fleets, I knew the ship and crew were more than ready. Now, as we prepare to return to San Diego on May 15, I want to share how Somerset shined on our maiden deployment.

We worked very hard transitioning from a pre-commissioning unit to a deployment ready U.S. Navy warship – first through the basic phase of training and then into the intermediate phase as integrated members of the Amphibious Squadron  5/11th Marine Expeditionary Unit team and the ‘Makin Island’ Amphibious Readiness Group. During this training, Somerset Sailors and Marines quickly learned to work together and completed certification in all mission areas we could be assigned to perform throughout a deployment. Since setting sail, the Makin Island Amphibious Readiness Group has collectively been engaged in numerous operations defending U.S. interests and maintaining freedom of the seas.

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APRA HARBOR, GUAM (April 20, 2017) The amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25) heads towards Guam for a scheduled liberty port visit. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jacob I. Allison/Released)

As a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock (LPD) ship, Somerset offers the kind of innovation and cutting edge technology the surface Navy needs to meet future challenges at sea – both during this initial deployment and for years to come. The ship includes innovations in its external design that reduces the ship’s appearance on radars and a state-of-the-art command and control network. San Antonio-class ships were designed to be stealthy, have significant survivability features and an advanced computer technology to accomplish a broad range of missions. This class is the first amphibious ships in the U.S. Navy to feature these design innovations. High-tech systems, an integrated Ship Wide Area Network, video cameras located throughout the ship, and technology like the Consolidated Visual Information System allow the crew to monitor the vast array of systems onboard, while requiring fewer personnel at watch stations.

These advanced systems facilitate both external and internal flexibility to not only serve as a warfare commander in a strike group, but also gives the crew the ability to monitor vital ship system’s from traditional controlling stations like the bridge, as well as in other places like a joint planning room, the wardroom lounge or even the ship’s library and chapel. With shipboard innovations in technology like the Consolidated Visual Information System, it’s possible to be in the helo control tower and review all the parameters of online equipment in the engine rooms, keep an eye on all surface/air contacts while sitting in the wardroom or even steer the ship all the way back by the flight deck in our These unique capabilities have been in high demand and we have participated in major operational tasking throughout the deployment. A true testament to our resolve, we remained on station and at sea for as long as 76 consecutive days supporting missions.

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WATERS NEAR TRINCOMALEE, SRI LANKA (Nov. 22, 2016) Sailors aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25) lower a rigid-hull inflatable boat with a knuckle-boom crane of the coast of Sri Lanka in preparation for a theater security cooperation exchange with the Sri Lankan military. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Chavez/Released)

Through our work, we demonstrated our commitment to readiness. Operations included several firsts for the United States and our partnering nation, Sri Lanka, as the first and largest U.S. Navy warship to conduct both Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) and air ship-to-shore operations on a Sri Lankan Naval Base and first ever theater security cooperation exercise with the Sri Lankan Navy (Marines). This enabled a first major military-to-military exercise, multiple exchanges and training events with the U.S. Marines and Sri Lanka forces. While Somerset already has three of its own rigid-hull inflatable boats, we embarked an additional two rigid-hull inflatable boats crewed by Assault Craft Unit 5 to support the Marine’s Maritime Raid Force operations. Our LCACs from Beach Master Unit 5 moved Marines and their equipment to beaches around the world during this deployment. Our ability to rapidly embark diverse joint forces, integrate them, deploy them close to the mission objective and support them in the execution of their mission sets has been critical to getting the job done this deployment. Additionally, we also took part in exercises and engagements with our valuable strategic partners in Oman and Djibouti.

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SALALAH, OMAN (March 4, 2017) Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Brandon Kellum, from Harlem, N.Y., signals a vehicle onto a landing craft, air cushion (LCAC), assigned to Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 5, during exercise Sea Soldier 17. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Amanda Chavez/Released)

Using this technology, all of the impressive work is accomplished with a ship operating with lower manning levels than traditional ships of its size. Somerset, and the other San Antonio-class ships like it, are unique and forward-thinking surface warfare ships that bring a wide array of naval warfighting and Defense Support of Civil Authorities capabilities together in one package. Her distinctive characteristics make Somerset worldwide deployable for almost any mission – but I am the first to admit, the ship would only be a shell without the devoted Sailors and Marines. Each LPD-17 class can support up to 800 additional personnel, provide medical care (we have both surgical and dental capability) and it encompasses more than 23,000 square feet of vehicle storage space, more than double of the previous LPD-4 class it replaced. Somerset’s crew is both highly trained and prepared to support command and control, to on load and offload people, provisions and/or special equipment ashore.

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GULF OF ADEN (Dec. 21, 2016) Lt. Taryn Cazzolii, right, the senior medical officer aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25), and Lt. Cmdr. Timothy Donahue, a Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 5 surgeon, operate on a patient during Somerset’s first ever onboard surgery. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Amanda Chavez/Released)

Dedicated, highly trained and professional, the Somerset team is united to defend our country and to keep the seas safe and free. The ship’s array of accomplishments on this first deployment, from naval firsts with other countries to successfully carrying out traditional mission tasking, are a direct result of the hard work and service of the crew and their embarked 11th MEU counterparts on board. They are the heart of the ship – without them, the ship could not move operate and fight to deliver concentrated, projected combat power ashore or execute the vast number of humanitarian missions we have the flexibility to support.

Having served on several different ship classes in my career, I could not ask to serve on a more powerful surface warship or with a better crew! As one of the Navy’s three 9/11 Memorial ships, the memory of Flight 93’s courage and sacrifice lives on, embodied by Somerset’s Sailors and embarked Marines. Somerset has 22 tons of steel from one of two mining excavators present at the crash site, which stood witness to the crash of Flight 93, and later where an American flag was flown by first responders during the recovery operation. That steel was melted down and incorporated into the bow stem of this ship during its construction. That piece of history and courage through adversity is now a part of the backbone of this ship, it cutting through the water for both this crew as we return from our maiden deployment and future crews who will serve aboard this ship.

 

Editor’s Note: This blog first appeared on Navy Live Blog.

May 5, 2017 / iDriveWarships

One Team, One Fight…Surface Force Brings High Value to U.S. Navy

 

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PACIFIC OCEAN (May 3, 2017) The guided-missile destroyers USS Sampson (DDG 102), USS Halsey (DDG 97), USS Preble (DDG 86) and the guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) transit the Pacific during a group sail training unit exercise with the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group. The exercise is the first step in the Theodore Roosevelt’s integrated training phase and aims to enhance mission-readiness and warfighting capabilities between the ships, airwing and staffs through simulated real-world scenarios. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Spencer Roberts/Released) 170503-N-MJ135-008

Whether official or unspoken, every team is made up of a variety of distinct and important positions. These differences typically meld together to present a tough unified team. As a team, the U.S. Navy is no different. The sea service’s strength is derived from expert specialty players in the domains of subsurface, surface, aviation, information and special operations – one of the largest components being the Naval Surface Force.

While the roots of the surface fleet dates back to Oct. 13, 1775 when the Continental Congress authorized the first naval force – consisting of only wooden-hulled frigates, the enduring mission to protect and defend the nation and her interests has evolved into a very modern undertaking utilizing some of the most advanced technology available. Supported by men and women homeported and deployed around the world, the Surface Force adds a tremendous amount of value to the Navy team and serves as the backbone of America’s maritime superiority.

With an assortment of eight different ship classes, the surface fleet carries out a wide array of missions. From the deep blue open ocean waters to the shallows of the littorals close to shore, surface ships can deploy independently or as part of larger Navy and joint forces (e.g., within carrier and expeditionary strike groups and surface action groups).

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PACIFIC OCEAN (May 3, 2017) The guided-missile destroyers USS Sampson (DDG 102), USS Halsey (DDG 97), USS Preble (DDG 86) and the guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) transit the Pacific Ocean during a Group Sail training unit exercise (GRUSL) with the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Carrier strike Group (TRCSG). GRUSL is the first step in the Theodore Roosevelt’s integrated training phase and aims to enhance mission-readiness and warfighting capabilities between the ships, airwing and the staffs of the TRCSG through simulated real-world scenarios. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Spencer Roberts/Released) 170503-N-MJ135-193

Surface force ships are capable of operations including, but not limited to:

  • Anti-Surface Warfare: The essence of establishing sea control – focused on providing the necessary presence, posture and access to strategic maritime areas to deter threatening or would-be adversarial surface combatants.
  • Anti-Air Warfare: Aegis cruisers and destroyers conduct Anti-Air Warfare to defend themselves and other high value assets, like aircraft carriers and large deck amphibious ships, from attack by enemy missiles and aircraft.
  • Anti-Submarine Warfare: Conducted primarily by cruisers and destroyers, surface ships detect, track and and target enemy submarines.
  • Amphibious Warfare: Transport and launching United States Marines ashore anywhere in the world.
  • Helicopter and Fixed-wing aviation operations: Provide everything from a lethal punch in combat to Search and Rescue and Anti-Submarine Warfare.
  • Mine-Countermeasures: Enabling the Navy to combat one of the world’s cheapest and most widely available threats to both military and commercial shipping – naval mines.
  • Ballistic Missile Defense: Certain cruisers and destroyers are capable defending the US homeland and our allies from the threat of ballistic missile attack.

While the U.S. Navy is made up of various elements, their unique capabilities only enhance the Navy team’s ability to support and defend America and her allies. With advanced technology and dedicated crews, Surface Force ships are equipped to handle a number of complex situations around the globe and, no matter the task at hand, the flexibility and value they bring to the Navy, Joint Staff, and the nation is immeasurable.

 

 

 

April 28, 2017 / iDriveWarships

Changes Ongoing for the LCS Program

USS Independence (LCS 2) steams off the coast of San Diego

PACIFIC OCEAN (December 8, 2016) The littoral combat ship USS Independence (LCS 2) steams off the coast of San Diego. 161208-N-SI773-0696

Guest Blog By Ensign Emily Judstra, Littoral Combat Ship Squadron One Public Affairs

Following the Chief of Naval Operations’ Littoral Combat Ship Program Review conducted in the fall of 2016, the LCS program underwent a complete restructuring. With heads held high and spirits to match, the leadership and staff at the LCS Squadrons (LCSRON) – LCSRON One in San Diego, California and LCSRON Two in Mayport, Florida – brainstormed and implemented several key changes. As a member of the program, both on the crew and the staff level, the current program in no way resembles the program I joined in early 2015, with the most dramatic changes occurring over the last six months.

One of the most noticeable changes within the program is the shift in crewing construct. The program review called for increased simplicity, stability, and ownership, and ultimately did away with the 3-2-1 crew construct and separate mission detachments. Ships are now crewed in either a Blue-Gold format or by a single crew. USS Jackson (LCS 6), for example, is the first ship to be successfully crewed by a single crew, composed of the former LCS Crew 212 and Surface Warfare Detachment Three. Additionally this summer, USS Montgomery (LCS 8) will be the first ship to transition to blue and gold crews with LCS Crew 209 composing the gold crew and LCS Crew 208 composing the blue crew.

NSWC Dahlgren Conducts Restrained Missile Firing Test for LCS Surface-to-Surface Missile Module

PACIFIC OCEAN (Oct. 6, 2016) – Littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) patrols the Pacific Ocean during flight operations in the 7th Fleet area of operation. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer Second Class Michaela Garrison/Released) 161006-N-MW990-109

In support of restructuring the Independence variants on the west coast and the Freedom variants on the east coast, LCSRON Two officially took command over USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) and USS Detroit (LCS 7) in December of 2016, marking the transition of the Freedom variant to the east coast. As the future USS Little Rock (LCS 9) and USS Sioux City (LCS 11) commission later this year and early next year, respectively, LCS will have quite the pier presence in the Mayport basin, much like they do in San Diego now.

All in all, the program review instilled a change in thought process throughout the entire LCS program. The ships are being realigned with a single mission and then assigned to a division of four ships with that same mission. The squadrons are working on plans to put this in place and get the first division, a surface warfare division, online as early as this year. Additionally, LCS crews are being combined with mission module crews into a single crew that focuses on one mission. Furthermore, ships are being delivered to the fleet at a brisk pace, with the newest ship, USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) due to commission this June. At the current rate, LCS will be the second largest class of ship currently in operation, behind the Arleigh Burke-class Destroyer, by 2018.

While the growth of the U. S. Navy LCS class has not been a simple one, they’re heading in a new and focused direction! LCS Sailors are dedicated to making this program great and seeing it succeed. Changes are brewing, growing pains are lessening, and the LCS is about to become a staple of our fleet; so hop on board!

 

Ensign Emily Judstra is currently serving as the Assistant Public Affairs Officer at COMLCSRON One in San Diego, California. Commissioned from the Naval Academy in 2015, she reported to LCS Crew 104 in May of 2016, after completing the LCS training pipeline. During the summer of 2016 she deployed onboard USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) and in the winter deployed to USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) where she earned her Surface Warfare Officer qualification.

April 21, 2017 / iDriveWarships

Ships of the Surface Fleet: Guided Missile Cruisers (CG)

 

Out of the eight classes of ships that make up the Naval Surface Force, one of the most well known types is the guided-missile cruiser, known simply as cruiser, or CG. From their original functions in blockade enforcement, commerce raiding, scouting, and sea-denial, to their current role as carrier strike group offense and protection, cruisers have long filled critical mission roles in the surface force.

Often thought of in conjunction with U.S. Navy destroyers for their close working ties, cruisers are large multi-mission surface combatants. While powerful and capable enough to operate on their own, cruisers are often referred to as “support vessels” because of the important role they play in Navy operations – being primarily deployed in battle groups, cruisers are near- and far-striking ships with multiple and mission-specific roles.

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ATLANTIC OCEAN (March 15, 2016) A 1500 Lb. Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) leaps from the guided-missile cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56) at twice the speed of sound to destroy an advanced high-speed target. The live-fire event was conducted during the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX), the final certification event prior to deployment. As the world’s premier fleet-aria air defense weapon, SM-2 is an integral part of the layered defense that protects the world’s naval assets and gives warfighters a greater reach in the battlespace. SM-2 variants are lethal against subsonic, supersonic, low- and high-altitude, high-maneuvering, diving, sea-skimming, anti ship cruise missiles, fighters, bombers, and helicopters in an advanced electronic countermeasures environment. SM-2 has an extensive area and self-defense flight test history with more than 2,650 successful flight tests from domestic and international ships. (U.S. Navy Photo by Chief Damage Controlman Andrae L. Johnson/Released) 160315-N-ZZ999-073

At 567 feet long, cruisers can reach impressive speeds of over 30 knots via four gas turbine engines while being operated by a crew of 24 officers and 340 enlisted Sailors. With sophisticated guided-missile systems, these agile surface warfare ships can take out virtually any target in the air, the sea, beneath the waves or on the shore as needed to lead a strike or protect the fleet against aircraft, submarines, and other ships.

They can operate as Air Warfare (AW), Undersea Warfare (USW), Naval Surface Fire Support (NSFS), and Surface Warfare (SUW) surface combatants, capable of supporting carrier battle groups, amphibious forces, flagships or surface action groups, or be tasked with independent missions.

Cruisers are armed with a Mark 41 (MK 41) vertical launching system, Standard Missile (MR); Vertical Launch Anti-Submarine Rocket (ASROC) (VLA); Tomahawk Cruise Missile giving them additional long range Strike Warfare (STRW); Six MK-46 torpedoes (from two triple mounts); Two MK 45 5-inch/54 caliber lightweight guns; Two Phalanx Close-In-Weapons Systems and two SH-60 Seahawk (LAMPS III) helicopters. Some cruisers have also been outfitted with Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) capability.

While a number of the earliest Ticonderoga class cruisers have been decommissioned, others are set to undergo a structured modernization over the course of the next several years to upgrade them to ensure they serve the fleet effectively through the year 2030 when they are projected to reach their 35-year service life. The Cruiser Modernization program aims to improve ships by modernizing the computing and display infrastructure, and the Hull, Mechanical and Electrical (HM&E) systems. Weapons and sensor sets will also be improved in order to upgrade ships’ anti-submarine capabilities and add short-range electro-optical systems that can monitor the ship’s surroundings without the use of radar emissions. Additionally, they’ll receive routine machinery upgrades to improve all areas of ship functionality.

With their lightning-quick communications, space-based radar systems, precision weapons and advanced engineering systems, U.S. Navy cruisers will continue to be lethal, mission flexible warships, capable of fulfilling both carrier strike group offense and protection, as well as other critical roles in the surface force, for many years to come.

To learn more about the evolution and history of the U.S. Navy’s cruisers check out this entry from the Naval History and Heritage Command blog, The Sextant.

 

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MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Dec. 6, 2013) The guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) transits the Mediterranean Sea. Monterey is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Billy Ho/Released) 131206-N-QL471-893

April 14, 2017 / iDriveWarships

Surface Force Ships Launch Strikes on Syria

When the U.S. Navy talks about providing on-call, scalable options to address challenges in a changing world, the firing of 59 Tomahawk missiles into Syria, April 7, is an example of that.

President Donald J. Trump ordered the targeted military strike on Al-Shayrat Air Base, the base from which the chemical attack on Syria’s Idlib province was launched.

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MEDITERRANEAN SEA (April 7, 2017) The guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) fires a Tomahawk land attack missile April 7. Ross is forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, and is conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Robert S. Price/Released) 170407-N-FQ994-104

“Bashar al-Assad launched a horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians,” Trump said in a statement to the nation. “Using a deadly nerve agent, Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many. Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of God should ever suffer such horror.”

The missiles were launched from U.S. Navy Surface Force ships in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

Adm. Michelle Howard is the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa – where the ships are conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe.

“Last night, two of our forward-deployed ships, the USS Porter and the USS Ross, conducted strikes into Syria. This was in response to the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime. I just want to say that the commanding officers of both those ships, Russ Caldwell and Andria Slough, performed magnificently, along with their crews. What is also important is that this was a cross-combatant commander mission, and that the integration of the operations cells and all of the teams supporting from the planning to the execution was just flawless. It’s an example of the strength of the United States Navy and our ability to project power around the globe.”

 

Part of Naval Surface Forces, both USS Porter and USS Ross are guided-missile destroyers – multi-mission surface combatants capable of conducting anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare.

Below are 13 things that you should know about USS Porter and USS Ross, which are both forward-deployed to Rota, Spain.

USS Porter

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    170309-N-JI086-303 MEDITERRANEAN SEA (March 9, 2017) The guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) transits the Mediterranean Sea. Porter is forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ford Williams/Released) 170309-N-JI086-303

    USS Porter was commissioned in 1999 at Port Canaveral, Florida.

  • In March 2017, Porter participated in the multilateral NATO Allied Maritime Command anti-submarine, anti-surface warfare exercise Dynamic Manta 2017 with naval forces from France, Norway, Canada, Turkey, Germany, Spain, Greece, Italy and the U.K.
  • In February 2017, USS Porter participated in exercise Sea Shield 2017. Sea Shield is an annual Romanian-led multinational exercise in the Black Sea to improve interoperability and proficiency of participating units.
  • Porter is a Ballistic Missile Defense capable Aegis ship operating as part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach to missile defense.
  • USS Porter’s commanding officer is Cmdr. Andria Slough, a 1998 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. Her personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, Pacific Fleet Shiphandler of the Year and the Vice Admiral John D. Bulkeley Leadership Award.
  • The ship’s motto is “Freedom’s Champion.”

USS Ross

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    151229-N-FP878-033 MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Dec. 29, 2015) The guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) approaches the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Leroy Grumman (T-AO 195), not pictured, for a replenishment-at-sea Dec. 29, 2015. Ross is forward deployed to Rota, Spain, and is conducting a routine patrol in the U. S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Theron J. Godbold/Released) 151229-N-FP878-033

    USS Ross was commissioned in 1997 at Galveston, Texas.

  • Ross’ weapons include surface-to-air missiles, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, Tomahawk cruise missiles, antisubmarine rockets, torpedoes, Phalanx Close-In Weapons Systems and a five-inch rapid-fire deck gun. Electronic warfare countermeasures, decoys, and passive detection systems supplement these weapons.
  • Ross is a Ballistic Missile Defense capable Aegis ship operating as part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach to missile defense.
  • On March 30, 2017, USS Ross completed the final live fire tests of the newly installed SeaRAM systems, successfully intercepting U.S. Navy targets launched from Spain’s test range in the Gulf of Cadiz.
  • Since its arrival at Rota in 2014, Ross has been actively involved in Operation Atlantic Resolve working with U.S. partners and allies to achieve objectives in the Sixth Fleet area of operations.
  • USS Ross’ commanding officer is Cmdr. Russell Caldwell from Johannesburg, South Africa, and a graduate of the University of Kansas. His personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (three awards), and Navy Achievement Medal (two awards).
  • The ship’s motto is “Fortune Favors Valor.”

For more photos of USS Porter and USS Ross launching missiles on Syria check out this photo album on the Surface Warriors Facebook page.

**The original version of this blog first appeared on Navy Live Blog.

April 7, 2017 / iDriveWarships

What Destroyers and Cruisers Add to a Carrier Strike Group

Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1 Show of Force Transit

PACIFIC OCEAN (Nov. 4, 2016) An MH-60S Seahawk helicopter, assigned to the Black Knights of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 4, supports Carrier Strike Group One including, left to right, USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) and USS Dewey (DDG 105), during a show of force transit training exercise. Carrier Strike Group One is underway conducting Composite Training Unit Exercise in preparation for a future deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Nathan K. Serpico/Released) 161104-N-FT178-094

Guest Blog By Captain Nick Sarap, Commodore, Destroyer Squadron 1

I have seen what our cruisers and destroyers (CRUDES) are capable of, and know them to be a vital contributor to our Carrier Strike Groups. Most folks who have spent any amount of time on a CRUDES know they are invaluable to our Navy.

Without the cruiser performing air defense, the high value unit (HVU) – often a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier bringing the pre-dominance of the power projection to the strike group – would not be able to send pilots downrange to perform their jobs of conducting intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), strike missions, or any combination thereof. The HVU’s ability to maneuver safely throughout the world’s waters while routinely launching and recovering aircraft relies solely on the multi-mission, multi-weapon capabilities our CRUDES deliver and train toward on a daily basis.

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PACIFIC OCEAN (August 07, 2016) Ships assigned to the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Carrier Strike Group steam in formation during a photo exercise (PHOTOEX). Carl Vinson is underway off the coast of Southern California conducting pre-deployment training. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Daniel P. Jackson Norgart/Released) 160807-N-UD666-1041

Surrounding a Carrier or other HVU with the “ring of steel,” comprised of one cruiser and two or more destroyers, not only allows the HVU to safely execute her primary mission, it also provides offensive and defensive capabilities galore for the entire Strike Group. Without the cruiser and destroyers:

– there would be no alerts from active or passive sound navigation and ranging (SONAR) when a submarine is within the area of operations, potentially threatening the ships in the strike group and carrier strike operations;

– there would be no shipborne surface, or air-engagement capabilities in the event that lethal weapons must be employed in order to protect our nation and our assets;

– there would be no AN/SPY-1/3 radars to detect air contacts well ahead of the force during transits or routine operations;

– there would be no 5” guns standing at the ready for a worst-case scenario involving small craft swarming the HVU.

One could continue on with a mile-long list; suffice it to say that the CRUDES provide a robust mission set necessary for a strike group to conduct operations in support of America’s national interests. Each of these ships has the ability to engage roles as other Warfare Commanders’ when necessary, bearing a tremendous responsibility and displaying the versatility and flexibility of the CRUDES complement.

It is readily apparent that the CRUDES we employ every day in our Strike Group operations are capable of conducting and supporting a myriad of mission-sets required of the Strike Group. The surface ships feverishly train and hone various skillsets regularly so that the Aircraft Carrier can do what she is called to do – to be a forward, ready and engaged centerpiece, a visible maritime deterrence for the U.S. command authority. The systems, weapons, and most importantly the people aboard every single American flag warship assigned as a CRUDES asset are top-notch in every way – fully ready and standing the watch.

I am currently stationed at Destroyer Squadron One, where the command logo conveys the unit’s ethos,“If you want peace, prepare for war.” And that is precisely what our cruisers and destroyers deliver – they allow us to rest easy in times of peace, knowing we are indeed prepared for whatever lies ahead of us.

Sarap is a 1991 graduate of Bethany College. He completed sea tours aboard USS Puget Sound (AD 38), USS Kidd (DDG 993), USS Thorn (DD 988), and served as executive officer of USS Thomas S. Gates (CG 51). He commanded USS Firebolt (PC 10) and USS Wayne E Meyer (DDG 108). He reported to Destroyer Squadron One in June of 2015.

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