Surface Navy Highlights of 2015
Over the past year America’s Navy has done great things. Every day in seas and cities around world, the work and presence of U.S. Navy Sailors makes a difference. They help ensure shipping lanes are open for commerce around the world and provide regional stability while promoting peace. They volunteer to build, clean, and paint. They mentor children. Many times they do these things quietly while other times their actions garner international attention, so as 2015 comes to a close, we’d like to recognize a few of these highlights.
The Surface Navy said hello to two new littoral combat ships (LCS), the USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) and the USS Jackson (LCS 6), and said goodbye to a number of other ships. USS Peleliu, USS Gary, USS Vandegrift, and USS Rodney M. Davis were all decommissioned. Of particular note was the decommissioning of the last Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate, USS Simpson. Besides being the last frigate in the Navy, she was also the last ship to have sunk an enemy vessel in action, aside from USS Constitution.
Before USS Gary decommissioned, she helped intercept a suspected narcotic trafficking vessel in international waters off the coast of Central America. The early March operation netted 5,200 kilograms, or roughly 11,464 pounds of drugs making it the largest seizure in the eastern Pacific Ocean since 2009.
Sailors assigned to USS Ashland (LSD 48) and Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit distributed relief supplies and assisted in relief efforts in Saipan after Typhoon Soudelor struck the island Aug. 2-3.
The modified Longbow Hellfire missile system, designated the Surface-to-Surface Missile Module (SSMM), proved successful during engineering development tests in June. SSMM will increase the lethality of LCSs and is expected to be fully integrated and deployed on them beginning in late 2017.
The Navy also participated in a number of international exercises and completed many traditional deployments, with ships like USS Anchorage, USS Essex, USS Rushmore, USS Chafee making it home just in time to share the holiday season with their families and friends.
This short list is not meant to be a full representation of all the wonderful things our Sailors have done this year, and is in no way meant to exclude anyone. As such, please feel free to add other highlights to the comments below.