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June 23, 2017 / iDriveWarships

Female Gladiator Sailors Claim Historic First


ARABIAN GULF (May 14, 2017) Lt. Cmdr. Rebecca Wolf, USS Gladiator’s (MCM 11) executive officer, maintains radio contact with crew onboard the Gladiator during shipboard operations in the Arabian Gulf. Gladiator, one of four MCM ships forward deployed to Bahrain and attached to U.S. Naval Forces Central Command’s Task Force 52, is a mine sweeper/hunter-killer capable of finding, classifying and destroying mines preserve the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Victoria Kinney)

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Victoria Kinney, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs

“Gee, I wish I were man, I’d join the Navy.” These words, from a 1917 recruiting poster of a woman wearing a man’s U.S. Navy uniform and a jaunty ‘Dixie Cup,’ are a relic of bygone era for women in the Navy today.

This is especially so for the ones on board USS Gladiator (MCM 11).

The forward-deployed Avenger-class mine countermeasures (MCM) ship welcomed their first three female chief petty officers to its crew earlier this year. The three chiefs, Chief Logistics Specialist Monique Graves, Chief Personnel Specialist Aracely Sanchez, and Chief Information Technician Nicole Knight, all checked on board between January and March. Gladiator is the first MCM to integrate female enlisted Sailors into their crew.

“When I joined the Navy I didn’t expect to ever be put into a position where I would be the first to do anything,” said Graves, of Chesapeake, Virginia. “I thought I would just do my job and hopefully hit the milestones and my goals, but to be able to say that I was the first in naval history? I never would have thought that would happen for me.”

Female commissioned officers have been serving on MCMs as commanding officers and executive officers for some time, as these positions had separate living quarters. To prepare for the addition of enlisted females, however, the ship was refitted with female living quarters during the ship’s last dry-dock period.

While the berthing might be small, to these Sailors, its meaning is significant.


ARABIAN GULF (April 7, 2010) The Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship USS Gladiator (MCM 11). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kathleen Gorby/Released)

“That piece of metal, that rack, is where we lay our head down at night,” said Sanchez, a native of Tualatin, Oregon. “Just being around this crew makes us feel like we’re a family and makes us feel safe, and that’s what makes us feel like we’re home.”

Sanchez said she had never heard of minesweepers in her 18 years in the Navy. But that didn’t stop her from taking on the challenge of learning and adapting to fulfill her new role.

“It doesn’t matter what gender you are,” said Sanchez. “Leadership comes from your heart and from your experiences.”

Graves agreed, adding that the sky is truly the limit.

“There are so many opportunities available here that you’re not able to do on any other platform,” said Graves. “I could be officer of the deck, combat information center watch officer, or really everything and anything I choose to be.”

“From the start of my career I’ve always wanted to make my own way,” said Knight, a native of Baltimore. “The reason I chose the Navy was to cover a branch of the service that no one else in my family has covered and to set a new path. I used that same logic to make the choice and go into the minesweeping community. I wanted to be a trailblazer for the junior Sailors and show that if I could do it, they could do it.”

Mine Countermeasure Exercise Artemis Trident 2017

ARABIAN GULF (May 27, 2017) The mine countermeasures ship USS Gladiator (MCM 11) approaches British and French navy ships in the Arabian Gulf to conduct a photo exercise during mine countermeasure exercise Artemis Trident 2017. Artemis Trident is an international exercise, which focuses on the protection of sea-lanes and the free travel of international commerce. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joshua Bryce Bruns/Released)

“I think this is a sign of our Navy’s progression,” said Lt. Cmdr. Roosevelt B. White, Gladiator’s commanding officer. “I think this transition has been so effective because of our emphasis on being surface warfare professionals. We strive to foster an environment of dignity and respect no matter race, religion, gender, or sexual preference of any crew member and we do not tolerate any type of disrespect. We look forward to integrating junior enlisted female Sailors in the near future.”

“When I first got here and looked around at the Sailors, I didn’t know what to expect,” said Graves. “Now that I’ve fully embraced it, I’m having the time of my life.”

The MCM community continues to search for eligible applicants for the newly-available billets. Along with a new supply chief, the community is looking for 30 hard-charging junior enlisted women to serve on minesweepers.


Editor’s note: This article first appeared on

June 16, 2017 / iDriveWarships

Our Navy’s Mission: How the Surface Forces Fit In

The country and people of Sri Lanka were devastated when heavy rainfall brought by a recent monsoon led to massive flooding and landslides throughout the country. Nearly half and million people were displaced from damaged homes and buildings, or flooded areas. In the wake of this disaster that shattered many regions of Sri Lanka, USS Lake Erie (CG 70) arrived in Colombo, June 11, to provide humanitarian assistance in support of relief efforts. Because of the long-standing friendship between the United States and Sri Lanka, and the Navy’s forward presence throughout the globe, Lake Erie was able to respond quickly with critically needed capabilities. This is just one of many functions of your Surface Navy: to be where it counts, when it counts.

What mission guides all actions of the Surface Navy?

“The mission of the Navy is to maintain, train and equip combat-ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas.”


How is this mission achieved?

Sea control means total control of the seas for the free movement of all. It means control of set air, surface, and subsurface areas, when and where needed. Sea control is crucial to national strategy. It allows the Navy to use the oceans as barriers for defense and as avenues to extend influence and assistance where it is needed. Well suited for strategic placement the world over, the surface force employs hundreds of units with advanced capabilities to achieve this function.

Power projection is the ability to use sea power throughout the world in the timely and precise manner needed to accomplish a goal. This covers a wide area. This is accomplished by using a broad spectrum of offensive naval operations. These operations include the tactical employment of carrier-based aircraft and these of amphibious forces and naval gunfire support forces. They also include the strategic nuclear response by the fleet ballistic missile forces. The functions of sea control and power projection are closely related. Depending on the type of force at play, there needs to be some degree of sea control in the sea areas from which we are to project power.

The Navy developed the surface force’s capability to project power largely as one means of achieving or supporting control of the seas. To fill this very broad and general mission statement the many functions of the of surface forces include nuclear deterrence; maintaining forward presence; keeping lines of communication open, safe and secure; leading enhanced training missions with ally and partner navies to exchange and train tactics, techniques and procedures; providing and assisting in regional security and stability; controlling and maintaining the freedom of the seas; reconnaissance and intelligence missions; at-sea rescues; medical programs for ally and partner nations in need of aid, care and training; and assisting the EPA and other government and non-government organizations with marine cleanup.


Naval Presence means more than being at the right place at the right time to combat and deter aggression, it means maintaining an operationally ready forward presence to train with ally and partner nations to enhance interoperability and responding at a moment’s notice to provide humanitarian assistance, as demonstrated by Lake Erie’s presence in Sri Lanka. Other ships like USS Sterett (DDG 104) and USS Dewey (DDG 105) who are part of the second “Third Fleet Forward” Surface Action Group and are currently maintaining presence in the Western Pacific while operating with regional navies to conduct routine patrols, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation activities to enhance regional security and stability in the region.

Common interests among the maritime partners allow allied naval forces to implement and sustain economic security assuring safe and secure commerce on the world’s oceans. It also creates and sustains bonds between nations that make responding at a second’s notice to an ally in need, second nature. Ship like Lake Erie assisting Sri Lanka, or the Sri Lanka navy assisting USS Hopper (DDG 70) in an emergency medical evacuation Sept. 30, 2016. Navy officials called on the partner navy to assist Hopper, who was over 165 miles from shore and didn’t have an embarked helicopter aboard nor were they in close range to available U.S. air assets. Within hours, Hopper was approved to enter Sri Lankan territorial waters to conduct the medical evacuation via small boat. The medical team provided continuous care for the patient while Hopper made the best speed to get closer to Sri Lanka.

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Surface Warfare is the integrator in today’s warfighting disciplines from the tactical to the theater level. The focus of visible U.S. military power and presence is the combat–ready warship operating forward. Therefore, the success of U.S. military power hinges on surface combatants. Prioritizing #WarfightingFirst, creates a strict hierarchy of readiness goals (combat, material and personal) that ensure these many surface combatants are fit to fight. Ships like USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), who was awarded the Spokane Trophy, an annual award presented to the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s surface ship with the highest level of operational readiness in areas ranging from coordinated air warfare, surface warfare and undersea warfare operations. #BeReady


The U.S. Navy has the distinction and responsibility of being the world’s leading naval power – complete with the surface combatant ships most commonly associate with naval power. America’s Navy is a force as significant today as it has been since 1775. In an increasingly globalized and ever changing world, new challenges will continue to arise and threats will transform and grow more resilient. The multifarious nature of the vast expanse of sea makes the requirement for a robust naval presence all-the-more indispensable. Now, more than ever, the value of a strong and capable Surface Navy is something to be cognizant of, thankful for and necessary for our continued success.

June 9, 2017 / iDriveWarships

USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) things you need to know

In a constantly evolving battle space environment your U.S. Navy surface forces strive to lead the pack in developing the best warfighting and peacekeeping technology to dominate that ever-changing environment. The littoral combat ship program was successfully developed as an integral piece to that mission and continues to be an invaluable tool to maintain sea control. The newest addition to this all-star team of unique, multi-mission platform ships is USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10). Named for after former United States Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot along with eighteen other people during the 2011 shooting in Tucson, Arizona, this Independence-variant LCS is set to commission this week. Here’s what you need to know:






June 2, 2017 / iDriveWarships

The Battle of Midway – A Turning Point Anchored by Sea Control


80G-701853-Jap-Attack-Eastern-IslThis year marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Midway, which is believed by many to be the turning point of World War II. The battle was a moment in time when the only thing standing between tyranny and freedom was the United States military. This is a time to commemorate the battle in which the toughness, initiative, integrity and accountability of American Sailors and Marines proved essential to the victory that changed the tide of the war in the Pacific.

Such toughness is embodied in Sailors like Admiral Raymond Ames Spruance who assumed command of Cruiser Division Five on Sept. 17, 1941, served as second in command during operations in the Marshall Islands and at Wake Island in February 1942, and in the same capacity during the Marcus Island operations in the following months. He was Junior Task Force Commander during the Battle of Midway in June 1942, where his force assisted in inflicting the Japanese Navy with its first decisive defeat in three hundred and fifty years.

ed-midway-at-a-glance-gallery3The Distinguished Service Medal Spruance was awarded cited the following: “For exceptionally meritorious service… as Task Force Commander, United States Pacific Fleet, during the Midway engagement which resulted in the defeat of and heavy losses to the enemy fleet, his seamanship, endurance, and tenacity in handling his task force were of the highest quality.”

More than battles and bullets, toughness, initiative, accountability, and integrity of leaders such as this proved the outcome of a decisive victory for allied forces at Midway. Long considered to be a battle fought between U.S. and Imperial aircraft carriers, the lethal and capable American warships, driven by our brave Sailors, ultimately delivered crushing blows to Imperial forces. However, their lethality would not have been possible without the assurances of the operational opportunity in the surrounding waters – battlespace sea control – provided by the surface combatants escorting them.


Admiral Chester Nimitz, right, commander-in-chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet and Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, commander-in-chief of the Combined Fleet.

Admiral Chester Nimitz, then Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet, another tenacious and insightful leader, and Adm. Isoroku Yamomoto, Japanese Imperial Navy, strategized the same overall objective for the battle for the enemy; sink the enemy aircraft carriers. Each approach, however, contrasted the other. While Yamomoto planned to disperse the Allied forces in such a way that turned groups into single units and make it near impossible for the surface combatants to do their job and maintain sea control, Nimitz saw right through it. In the final analysis, the simplicity of his plan proved there was little purpose for the extensive and unnecessary orders Yamamoto produced prior to the battle. Nimitz, with possessed a clear vision of what he wanted to do and clearly communicated those objectives to his operational commanders. That being said, the simplistically strategy would have been considered ludicrous without the integrity and accountability of the operational commanders who understood the orders and took action.

USS Dewey Lost Bell

The Dewey was commissioned on October 4th 1934. She survived the attack on Pearl Harbor while undergoing tender overhaul. She later formed part of the Enterprise task force at Midway. The Dewey was awarded 13 battle stars for service during World War II.

Under direction from Nimitz, the U.S. force’s goal, made up largely of surface combatants, was to draw the Imperial fleet out, maintain control of the sea and crush the Kido Butai (at the time, the largest Japanese maritime force). The warrior spirit of American Sailors and Marines aboard the seven cruisers and 17 destroyers involved in Midway epitomize maritime superiority by the “Greatest Generation,” and the truth of their actions remains relevant today: the world’s vast oceans and America’s security depend on a capable and credible U.S. Navy.

Surface Combatants Involved in Midway:

  1. Task Group 17.2, Cruiser Group
    1. Rear Adm. William W. Smith, USN
      1. USS Astoria (CA-34)
      2. USS Portland (CA-33)
    2. Task Group 17.4, Destroyer Screen
      1. Gilbert C. Hoover, USN, Commander Destroyer Squadron 2
        1. USS Hammann (DD-412) – torpedoed and sunk by Japanese submarine I-168 on 6 June 1942.
        2. USS Hughes (DD-410)
  • USS Morris (DD-417)
  1. USS Anderson (DD-411)
  2. USS Russell (DD-414)
  3. USS Gwin (DD-433) (diverted to join Yorktown, arrived on 5 June 1942)
  1. Task Group 16.2, Cruiser Group
    1. Rear Adm. Thomas C. Kinkaid, USN, Commander Cruiser Division 6
      1. USS New Orleans (CA-32)
      2. USS Minneapolis (CA-36)
  • USS Vincennes (CA-44)
  1. USS Northampton (CA-26)
  2. USS Pensacola (CA-24)
  1. Task Group 16.4, Destroyer Screen
    1. Alexander R. Early, USN, Commander Destroyer Squadron 1
      1. USS Phelps (DD-360)
      2. USS Worden (DD-352)
  • USS Monaghan (DD-354)
  1. USS Aylwin (DD-355)
  1. Edward P. Sauer, USN, Destroyer Squadron 6
    1. USS Balch (DD-363)
    2. USS Conyngham (DD-371)
  • USS Benham (DD-397)
  1. USS Ellet (DD-398)
  2. USS Maury (DD-401)
  1. Oiler Group
    1. USS Dewey (DD-349)
    2. USS Monssen (DD-436)


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


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.


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.


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.

170304-N-LR795-075-1024x731 (1)

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.


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


Group Sail

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).

Group Sail

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.




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