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Surface Warfare Fall 2020 Issue 68

COMNAVSURFOR Change of Command Mine Countermeasures Ship Decommissionings USS Bonhomme Richard



Surface Warfare is published quarterly from appropriated funds by authority of the Chief of Naval Operations in accordance with NPPR P-35. The Secretary of the Navy has determined that this publication is necessary in the transaction of business required by law of the Department of the Navy. Use of funds for printing this publication has been approved by the Navy Publications and Printing Policy Committee. Reproductions are encouraged with proper citation. Controlled circulation. Postmaster: Send address changes to Surface Warfare, SURFPAC Public Affairs Office, 2841 Rendova Road, San Diego, CA 92155. Surface Warfare (USPS 104-170) (ISSN 0145-1073) is published by the Department of the Navy, Commander, Naval Surface Forces, 2841 Rendova Road, San Diego, CA 92155. Periodicals postage paid at San Diego, CA, and additional mailing offices.


Surface Warfare Magazine is the professional magazine of the surface warfare community. Its purpose is to educate its readers on surface warfare missions and programs, with a particular focus on U.S. surface ships and commands. This journal will also draw upon the Surface Force’s rich historical legacy to instill a sense of pride and professionalism among community members and to enhance reader awareness of the increasing relevance of surface warfare for our nation’s defense. The opinions and assertions herein are the personal views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official views of the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense or the Department of the Navy.

Surface Warfare Fall 2020 Issue 68


Surface Warfare Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs Office, N01P 2841 Rendova Road San Diego, CA 92155 Phone: (619) 437-2735

Contributions and Feedback Welcome

Send articles, photographs (min. 300 dpi electronic) and feedback to:

Commander, Naval Surface Forces Vice Adm. Roy Kitchener

Deputy Commander, Naval Surface Forces Rear Adm. Joey B. Dodgen Public Affairs Officer Cmdr. Nicole Schwegman, Executive Editor MCCS Ahron Arendes Managing Editor Ted Townsend Layout and Design Ted Townsend


Contents 2. Commander's Corner Surface Force News: 4. USS Bunker Hill and USS Russell Return from Deployment 6. USS Kidd Renders Assistance at Sea 7. U.S., Japan Navies Exercise Together in South China Sea 8. East Coast Warships Complete Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training 9. Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center Leads Mine Countermeasure Exercise During Trident Warrior

20. USS Sterett’s Road to 7th Fleet: Maintenance, Training Set Destroyer Up for Success 22. Health Workers in Uniform: Lessons Learned 26. The Kidd Connection 28. A Framework for Collateral Duty Public Affairs Excellence 32. Assault Craft Unit FIVE's on-site LCAC Weld School 34. CIAT Meets the Mark for SWO Training Demands Cover Stories: 38. COMNAVSURFOR Change of Command

10. U.S. Navy Amphibious Assault Ship USS Tripoli Joins the Fleet

40. Mine Countermeasures Ship Decommissionings

12. USS Preble Returns After Successful Counter-Narcotics Deployment

42. USS Bonhomme Richard Fire

13. USS Princeton, Indian Navy Conduct Cooperative Deployment 14. USS Nitze Provides Aid to Mariners 15. U.S. Navy Littoral Combat Ship USS St. Louis Joins the Fleet 16. USS Bataan Receives Energy Excellence Award Feature Stories: 18. NPS Professor Receives Mills Medal for Optimizing Surface Ship Drydock Schedules

44. Voices From the Fleet Life Lessons from the Sea 46. History and Heritage: USS Indianapolis: Supreme Success and Sacrifice 48. Faces of Surface Warfare



Commander's Corner

“Look, this is a fighting ship. She might get into action, if you’re going to save your lives, you’d better work like hell, night and day. We’re going to be watertight. And you’re going to make damn sure all the guns are working, and the ammunition is readily available.” – Vice Adm. John D. Bulkeley. Vice Adm. Bulkeley was indeed the quintessential Surface Warfare Officer. When he first took command of the destroyer Endicott, the ship was in poor material condition. He pushed his crew to improve the readiness of the ship and ensure that the crew was properly trained on their battle stations and equipment. He knew that sooner or later, the hard work and sweat that the crew put in to get the ship ready was literally going to be the difference between survival or death. His actions before the fight, his commitment to material readiness, and his dedication to training was on clear display when he went into battle. His Medal of Honor citation reads: “The remarkable achievement of Lt. Cmdr. Bulkeley's command in damaging or destroying a notable number of Japanese enemy planes, surface combatant and merchant ships, and in dispersing landing parties and land-based enemy forces during the four months and eight days of operation without benefit of repairs, overhaul, or maintenance facilities for his squadron, is believed to be without precedent in this type of warfare. His dynamic forcefulness and daring in offensive action, his brilliantly planned and skillfully executed attacks, supplemented by a unique resourcefulness and ingenuity, characterize him as an outstanding leader of men and a gallant and intrepid seaman.” Like Vice Adm. Bulkeley, today, we are facing a

myriad of challenges both seen and unseen. Our Navy, our ships and our Sailors are busier than they have ever been, and it’s a deep, demanding busy. A busy that requires fighting in the realm of an invisible enemy, as well as preparing to fight an adversary that competes as hard as we do. It is a busy that demands an unrelenting focus on the fundamentals of our profession – warfighting, operational readiness, and toughness – fundamentals we must refresh daily. It is a busy that demands vision, collaboration and an uncompromising commitment to standards that were borne out of our service’s storied combat legacy. A legacy like Vice Adm. Bulkeley. There’s unfinished work that we will get after with a renewed and relentless vigor. We have the necessary ingredients: our ships and weapon systems are the best in the world, our repair capability remains without peer, our training is cutting edge, and our Sailors reflect the very best of our nation’s character traits: accountability, confidence, integrity, ownership, professionalism, toughness, and most important, fearlessness. We are a privileged few to serve in our nation’s Navy and it is not only our job, but our mandate to ensure we remain the most professional, respected, and deadly force ever to sail the world’s seas. Thank you and I looked forward to serving alongside all of you. Now let’s get after it. *





Surface Force News

USS Bunker Hill and USS Russell Return from Deployment SAN DIEGO -- The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) and the Arleigh Burke-class guidedmissile destroyer USS Russell (DDG 59) returned to San Diego July 8 after a deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations. Bunker Hill and Russell are part of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group and departed on a Story by Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet deployment to the Indo-Pacific on January 17. “While this deployment has been unlike many deployments of the past, the Bunker Hill team is excited to return home to San Diego after completing a very successful deployment," said Capt. Shea Thompson, commanding officer of Bunker Hill. “The crew executed a broad spectrum of missions over the last six months while serving as Air Defense Commander for Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9. During the course of our six-month deployment, we supported multiple freedom of navigation operations directly

enhancing maritime security in the Indo-Pacific. I couldn’t be more proud of this high-powered team." Both Bunker Hill and Russell’s primary mission was conducting maritime security operations while in U.S. 7th Fleet, ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific. Both ships also engaged in theater security cooperation engagements and multiple joint exercises with the U.S. Marine Corps and Air Force. “The nature of our deployment has been unique by any measure,” said Cmdr. Ryan Rogers, commanding officer of Russell. “The crew exceeded all expectations and professionally executed all tasking during our mission in the Western Pacific, and I am extremely proud.” Bunker Hill and Russell participated in Expeditionary Strike Force (ESF) operations in the Philippine Sea in March with the Nimitzclass aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and the USS America Expeditionary Strike Group (AMAESG) highlighting the interoperability of joint forces. Both Bunker Hill and Russell participated


in dual carrier strike group operations in June that showcased the tactical power of two individual carrier strike groups, demonstrating flexibility, endurance, firepower, maneuverability, and capability unmatched in the history of warfare. Additionally, both Bunker Hill and Russel participated in freedom of navigation operations in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in accordance with international law. Although COVID-19 inhibited many scheduled port visits, both Bunker Hill and Russell were able to visit several ‘Safe Haven’ ports. Bunker Hill made port visits in Saipan, Vietnam and Guam while Russell was able to visit Sasebo, Yokosuka, and Guam. Prior to the COVID pandemic, Sailors participated in community relations events and experienced local culture in Vietnam, Sasebo, and Saipan. Bunker Hill and Russell are both home ported in San Diego, the home of the U.S. 3rd Fleet. U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Pacific and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy. U.S. 3rd Fleet works constantly with U.S. 7th Fleet to complement one another and provide commanders with capable, ready assets across the spectrum of military operations in the Pacific. *

“The crew exceeded all expectations and professionally executed all tasking during our mission in the Western Pacific, and I am extremely proud.”

Photos by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Woody Paschall




Surface Force News USS Kidd Renders Assistance at Sea EASTERN PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- The Arleigh BurkeClass Destroyer USS Kidd (DDG 100) assisted a fishing vessel in distress while operating in the U.S. Fourth Fleet area of operations, June 30. The fishing vessel experienced a mechanical failure, leaving it unable to operate at sea. Kidd received notification of a distress call and sent several members of the ship's Rescue and Assistance (R&A) team Story by along with two members from the Lt.j.g. Miranda Rossum, embarked U.S. Coast Guard Law U.S. Naval Forces Southern Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) Command / U.S. 4th Fleet over to secure and inspect the vessel for seaworthiness, check on the health and welfare of the crew and assess the feasibility of towing the stranded vessel to safety. Kidd took the vessel under tow for approximately 200 nautical miles until additional assistance from their parent company arrived to further assist the vessel in returning it to Costa Rica for repairs.

“The safety of vessels at sea is the responsibility of all mariners. We are proud that Kidd was able to offer assistance to a distressed vessel and ensure the safe passage for the crew,” said Cmdr. Nate Wemett, commanding officer USS Kidd. U.S. and coalition forces have a long-standing tradition of helping mariners in distress by providing medical assistance, engineering assistance and search and rescue efforts. U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet supports U.S. Southern Command’s joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American region. *

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Carla Ocampo


U.S., Japan Navies Exercise Together in South China Sea ANDAMAN SEA (NNS) -- The Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Akizuki-class destroyer JS Teruzuki (DD 116) conducted operations together, while sailing through the Andaman Sea, April 2. While transiting, Gabrielle Giffords and Teruzuki conducted bilateral communications exercises, division tactics, and photo exercise, all designed to enhance interoperability between the two navies and emphasize the importance of communications and coordination while operating underway together. “When the U.S. Navy and JMSDF ships meet at sea and are able to quickly develop plans and operate together, Story by it reflects the strong friendship and Lt. Lauren Chatmas, maritime professionalism that our Destroyer Squadron nations share,” said Rear Adm. Fred Seven Public Affairs Kacher, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7. “Exercises like these strengthen our mutual commitment to the security, stability and prosperity of this vital region, as we work together to protect a free and open Indo-Pacific.” Coming together with partners and allies at sea allows the U.S. Navy to operate closely with other navies and in ways shore exercises do not allow. It further provides the crews with real-life situations to practice their everyday watchstanding and communication skills with foreign vessels.

Teruzuki is currently underway in the Indo-Pacific in support of regional security and stability. During this time, she also supports training for officer trainees. “It was a really good opportunity for us and officer trainees to conduct cooperative deployment with USS Gabrielle Giffords,” said Captain Masafumi Kadota, Commander, Escort Division (CCD) 11, JMSDF. “We could show them strong Japan-U.S. ties and mutual relationship through this exercise.” On her maiden rotational deployment to the IndoPacific, this exercise marks the first time Gabrielle Giffords has operated with JMSDF. “Joining our JMSDF friends at sea allowed the Gabrielle Giffords crew to operate and sail side-byside with a skilled ship from a very professional and capable naval force,” said Cmdr. Dustin T. Lonero, commanding officer, Gabrielle Giffords Blue Crew. “Both of our ships executed flawless maneuvering while sailing in near proximity, showing that our naval partnerships can work professionally anywhere.” Attached to Destroyer Squadron SEVEN, Gabrielle Giffords is on her rotational deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific. U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Pacific area of operations. As the U.S. Navy’s largest numbered fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability, and prevent conflict. *




Surface Force News East Coast Warships Complete Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training Carrier Strike Group 2 (CSG 2) cruiser-destroyer (CRUDES) warships completed the Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training (SWATT) exercise on July 18. SWATT is the Surface Force's premier advanced tactical training exercise developed Story by and led by Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Commander, U.S. 2nd Development Center (SMWDC). SWATT Fleet Public Affairs provides multi-ship, multi-platform, multiwarfare area training at sea to increase combat capability, lethality and interoperability. Staffs and units that participated in the exercise were Commander Task Force 80 (CTF 80); Commander, U.S. Second Fleet; Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC); Carrier Strike Group 2 (CSG 2); Destroyer Squadron 2 (DESRON 2); USS Philippine Sea (CG 58); USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81); USS McFaul (DDG 74); USS Milwaukee (LCS 5); USS Detroit (LCS 7); Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 48 and Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 70. "This premier advanced tactical training exercise really accomplished what it was designed to do,” said Capt. Kevin J. Hoffman, commanding officer of USS Philippine Sea. “SWATT provided expert-level training at sea to individual watch standers, watch teams, and ships in a multi-platform, multiwarfare area environment. The team of warfare tactics instructors (WTI) and supporting staff that embarked USS Philippine Sea, USS Winston S. Churchill and USS Milwaukee were absolute force multipliers and provided exceptional training, valued insight and spot-on recommendations across the spectrum of combat operations. SWATT truly tested the crew, and as a result, increased our combat capability, lethality, and interoperability." This SWATT was the first time SMWDC’s state-of-the-art Exercise

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Louis Staats

Control Center (ECC) operated as the primary Exercise Control. With an installed Navy Continuous Training Environment Node, SMWDC is able to monitor two geographic areas simultaneously, can receive and observe Live Virtual Constructive scenarios (from East or West Coast), and provides a significant cost savings annually through elimination of Exercise Control TAD requirements to Virginia Capes Range Operations Center. During SWATT, the major training events included conducting integrated air and missile defense (IAMD), anti-submarine warfare / surface warfare (ASW/ SUW), information warfare (IW), ship maneuvering and live-fire events designed to tactically prepare surface forces for maritime warfare missions. SMWDC led the SWATT exercise with WTIs, senior mentors and subject matter experts embarked aboard Carrier Strike Group 2 warships. These onboard trainers provided over-the-shoulder mentoring for watchstanders and commanding officer and warfare commander level guidance from senior mentors. Subject matter experts delivered rapid replay capability from scheduled training events that provided immediate feedback for watchstanders to help them rapidly learn from challenges they experienced during training. “SWATT is a tremendous training opportunity for the Fleet and WTIs,” said Lt. Cmdr. Todd Steinbrenner, Lead SWATT Planner and an ASW/SUW WTI. “The greatest value is building the coordination skills required to ensure all commands share a common operational and tactical understanding, and SWATT is the perfect opportunity to build proficiency. SWATT participants did a tremendous job completing preexercise requirements, and executing SWATT in spite of some weather challenges.” SMWDC is a subordinate command of Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. SMWDC headquarters is located onboard Naval Base San Diego and has four divisions located in Virginia and California focused on IAMD, ASW/SUW, mine warfare, and amphibious warfare. *


Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Timothy Wilson

Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center Leads Mine Countermeasure Exercise During Trident Warrior Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC) led multiple units through a Mine Countermeasure Exercise (MCMEX) to test tactics, techniques and procedures (TTP) during Trident Warrior 2020, July 13 through 16. Trident Warrior is an annual large-scale, at-sea field experiment where the Navy selects potential initiatives that address capability gaps and provide inventive solutions in an operational environment. "This mine warfare exercise provided Story by a realistic and relevant training Naval Surface and opportunity to collaborate with joint Mine Warfighting forces, as well as with industry, to Development Center practice the TTPs necessary to safely conduct full spectrum mine operations," said Rear Adm. Scott Robertson, commander, Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center. "This particular exercise allowed our personnel to gain reps and sets in their mine countermeasure and neutralization skills, and ultimately increase Fleet lethality and confidence."

Robertson, as the Global Mine Warfare Commander, facilitated the advanced-level training in this exercise to increase the tactical proficiency, lethality, and interoperability of mine warfare countermeasure capabilities in Third Fleet. "It is always a great opportunity to plan and execute an exercise that will ultimately pay dividends for mine warfare, both in how we train, and how we will employ our tactics and techniques in a real world situation in the future," said Capt. Chris Merwin, director of SMWDC's Mine Warfare (MIW) division. "During this unprecedented time, it was a privilege to witness all participants coming together for this event to hone and refine their skills while deploying inert mines and conducting countermeasures and neutralization." Units included in the training were SMWDC, USS Manchester (LCS 14), Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 3 (EODMU 3), Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 21 (HSC-21), Strike Fighter Squadron 86 (VFA-86), and the United States Air Force's 23rd Bomb Squadron and 34th Bomb Squadron. The MCMEX training provided vital tactical training and proficiency to the operational fleet, in order to ensure that units remain lethal and ready. SMWDC is a subordinate command of Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. SMWDC headquarters is located onboard Naval Base San Diego and has four divisions located in Virginia and California focused on MIW, Integrated Air and Missile Defense, Anti-Submarine Warfare/Surface Warfare, and Amphibious Warfare. *




Surface Force News U.S. Navy Amphibious Assault Ship USS Tripoli Joins the Fleet WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy commissioned USS Tripoli (LHA 7), Jul. 15, 2020. Although the Navy canceled the traditional public commissioning ceremony due to public health and safety restrictions on large public gatherings, the Navy commissioned the USS Tripoli administratively and the Story by ship transitioned to normal operations. Office of the Navy Meanwhile, the Navy is looking at a Chief of Information future opportunity to commemorate the special event with the USS Tripoli’s sponsor, crew and commissioning committee. “USS Tripoli is proof of what the teamwork of all of our people – civilian, contractor and military – can accomplish together,” said Secretary of the Navy Kenneth J. Braithwaite. “This ship will extend the maneuverability and

lethality of our fleet to confront the many challenges of a complex world, from maintaining the sea lanes to countering instability to maintaining our edge in this era of renewed great power competition.” Rear Adm. Philip E. Sobeck, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group THREE, welcomes the Navy’s newest amphibious assault ship, and crew, to the amphibious force. “Tripoli is an example of the continued investment in our Navy, to increase and maintain our edge on the battlefield,” said Sobeck. “Congratulations to Tripoli’s crew for all of your hard work, amidst these challenging times, to reach this milestone. We welcome you to the amphibious force, of combat ready ships and battleminded crews to go to sea and support sustained combat operations.” LHA 7 incorporates key components to provide the fleet with a more aviation-centric platform. Tripoli’s design features an enlarged hangar deck, realignment and expansion of the aviation maintenance facilities, a significant increase in available stowage for parts and support equipment, and increased aviation fuel capacity. The ship is the first LHA replacement ship to depart the shipyard ready to integrate the entire future air combat


“Tripoli is an example of the continued investment in our Navy, to increase and maintain our edge on the battlefield”

element of the Marine Corps, to include the Joint Strike Fighter. Along with its pioneering aviation element, LHA 7 incorporates gas turbine propulsion plant, zonal electrical distribution, and fuel-efficient electric auxiliary propulsion systems first installed on USS Makin Island (LHD 8). LHA 7 is 844 feet in length, has a displacement of approximately 44,000 long tons, and will be capable of operating at speeds of over 20 knots. Tripoli’s commanding officer, Capt. Kevin Myers, highlighted Tripoli's accomplishments over the past several months getting through initial sea trials. The hard work and dedication of the entire team during the past few years was evident in the successful execution of at-sea testing.

“Being the third ship to bear the Tripoli namesake is a profound honor and this crew stands ready to carry on the legacy of our longstanding Navy and Marine Corps amphibious community,” said Meyers. “These sailors and Marines will pave the way for those still to come. What’s remarkable is seeing the dedication, perseverance and resilience these new plank owners have shown since day one, and more recently, through uncertain times as the Navy and nation work through a pandemic. There is no doubt in my mind that this team is ready to answer the nation’s call at any time or place.” LHA 7 is the third Navy ship to be named Tripoli. The name honors and commemorates the force of U.S. Marines and approximately 370 soldiers from 11 other nationalities who captured the city of Derna, Libya, during the 1805 Battle of Derna. The battle resulted in a subsequent peace treaty and the successful conclusion of the combined operations of the First Barbary War, and was later memorialized in the Marines' Hymn with the line, “to the shores of Tripoli.”. *

Photo by Derek Fountain HII




Surface Force News

USS Preble Returns After Successful CounterNarcotics Deployment Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88) returned to their homeport of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam following the ship’s surge deployment to the U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations, June 25. Preble, along with a detachment from “Easyriders” from Helicopter Maritime Squadron (HSM) 37, deployed in March 2020 to conduct U.S. Southern Command Story by and Joint Interagency Task Force Office of the Navy South’s enhanced counter-narcotics Chief of Information operations missions in the Caribbean Sea and Eastern Pacific Ocean. During their deployment, Preble, with their embarked U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET), recovered 100 bales of suspected cocaine totaling an estimated 2,000 kilograms, worth over an estimated wholesale value of $40 million. “The success of this deployment was due to our Sailors and embarked Coast Guardsmen working together daily for a common cause – enhanced counter-narcotics operations,” said Cmdr. Leonardo Giovannelli, Preble’s commanding officer. “We thank our Preble families and friends whose unwavering support

made it possible for their loved ones, our Sailors, to succeed at sea and complete our mission.” With the deployment conducted in a COVID-19 environment, the primary focus of ship’s leadership was crew safety. “We took all available precautions before the start of the deployment,” said Cmdr. Peter Lesaca, Preble’s executive officer. “I credit our Sailors for understanding the gravity of the pandemic, keeping themselves in good health, and taking care of their shipmates to keep the ship safe.” Preble joined other U.S. Navy warships, numerous U.S. agencies from the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security cooperating in the effort to combat transnational organized crime. The Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, along with allied and international partner agencies, are all playing a role in counter-drug operations. U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the IndoPacific and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy. U.S. 3rd Fleet works with U.S. 4th Fleet to complement one another and provide commanders capable, ready assets across the spectrum of military operations in the Pacific. *



USS Princeton, Indian Navy Conduct Cooperative Deployment By U.S. Third Fleet Public Affairs

The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59), as part of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group (CSG), conducted a cooperative deployment with ships and aircraft from the Indian Navy July 20 and 21. The two navies conducted multiple exercises while operating together, including a live-fire exercise, an air defense exercise (ADEX), flight operations and a farewell passing exercise. “This was a unique opportunity to train and strengthen ties with the Indian Navy,” said Capt. Peter Kim, Princeton’s commanding officer. “We were able to achieve a high level of integration and cooperation while conducting many events to include gunnery and air defense exercises.” As Princeton’s main role in the CSG, air defense is not taken lightly. The cooperative deployment provided Princeton the opportunity to display the capability of the ship, while also strengthening the working relationship with the Indian Navy. “During the ADEX we conducted with the Indian Navy, four of their warships joined Princeton and Sterett to defend each other against simulated threat aircraft and missiles,” said Lt. Cmdr. Benjamin Petrisin, Princeton’s air warfare officer. “It’s important to do exercises like this with other nations’ navies to continue to build partnerships and also learn how they operate and what they can teach us.” Along with the ADEX, the two navies also conducted flight operations to solidify the capability of landing American helicopters on the Indian ships, and landing Indian helicopters on the American ships. “Landing the Indian helicopter was one of the more exciting experiences throughout my time aboard Princeton, and was definitely an accomplishment as a landing signalman,” said Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Daniel Alamilla. “Doing these types of exercises to build relations with other nations is important as it shows that we are committed to keeping a close relationship with partner navies from around the world.” Upon completion of all scheduled exercises, the Nimitz CSG and Indian Navy ships sailed in opposite directions and bid farewell. The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, consisting of flagship USS Nimitz (CVN 68), Princeton, and Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyers USS Sterett (DDG 104) and USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114), along with the Indian Navy ships Rana, Sahyadri, Shivalik and Kamorta, recently participated in a cooperative deployment in the Indian Ocean. *

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Keenan Daniels

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Logan C. Kellums

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Drace Wilson



Surface Force News USS Nitze Provides Aid to Mariners Story by Lt. Lauren Chatmas, Command Destroyer Squadron 7

“We were in the right place at the right time. It’s always a great day when we can assist others and they were extremely grateful.”

The guided-missile destroyer USS Nitze (DDG 94) provided aid to mariners aboard a distressed Ecuadorian fishing vessel about 200 nautical miles off the coast of Ecuador July 20. While on routine patrol, an embarked MH-60S Sea Hawk, assigned to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 60 (HSM 60) spotted the mariners waving in distress. The vessel comprised of 28 mariners was in formation towing 10 additional vessels. Upon establishing bridge-to-bridge communication, the Nitze realized the crew was critically low on food and had exhausted their drinking water. Nitze deployed its rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB), and provided water, food and warm meals for the crew. All crewmembers were assessed to be in good condition. “We share a common bond with all mariners at sea,” said, Cmdr. Don Curran Nitze’s commanding officer. “We were in the right place at the right time. It’s always a great day

when we can assist others and they were extremely grateful.” U.S. and coalition forces have a long-standing tradition of helping mariners in distress by providing medical assistance, engineering assistance and search and rescue efforts. USS Nitze is deployed to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility to support Joint Interagency Task Force South’s mission, which includes counter illicit drug trafficking in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific. U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet supports U.S. Southern Command’s joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American region. *

Photo by Ensign William Fong


U.S. Navy Littoral Combat Ship USS St. Louis Joins the Fleet The U.S. Navy commissioned Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS St. Louis (LCS 19), August 8. Due to public health safety concerns and restrictions of large public gatherings related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Navy commissioned St. Louis at a private event. “Nearly 200 years after the first ship to bear the name was launched, today we commission the seventh USS St. Louis,” said Secretary of the Navy Kenneth J. Braithwaite. “Much like that sloop of war did in 1828, LCS-19 Story by and her crew will protect the U.S. and our interests Commander, Naval near and abroad. Whether conducting counterSurface Force Atnarcotic operations in the Caribbean or working to lantic enhance interoperability with partners and allies at sea, USS St. Louis will provide maneuverability, stability and lethality in today’s era of Great Power Competition.” Adm. Craig Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command, said littoral combat ships, like the St. Louis, have played an important role supporting operations in his command's geographic area of focus. "The littoral combat ship has proven to be an effective and adaptable platform capable of multiple missions in our area of responsibility," Faller said. "It has become an end-game enabler for U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement authorities who disrupt transnational criminal organizations and the smuggling of deadly narcotics. Adding the LCS to our Enhanced Counter Narcotics Operation is helping save lives." Rear Adm. Brad Cooper II, Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic, welcomed the ship that brings capabilities to counter diesel submarine, mines, and fast surface craft threats to the world’s premier Surface Force. “St. Louis brings speed and agility to the fleet,” said Cooper. “Congratulations to St. Louis’ captain and crew for all of your hard work to reach this milestone. You join a proud Surface Force that controls the seas and provides the Nation with naval combat power when and where needed.” Barbara Broadhurst Taylor, the ship’s sponsor, offered congratulations to everyone who played a role in delivering USS St. Louis to service. “To witness the skill and commitment of the officers and crew of USS ST LOUIS as they brought our magnificent ship to life has been one of the greatest honors of my life. All of us in the great city of St. Louis are proud to be part of our ship’s historic legacy and extend our appreciation and lasting friendship to the crew and their families,” Taylor said. “Your patriotism and dedication to preserving peace and freedom inspires us. May God bless our ship and all who sail her.” Charles Williams, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations, and Environment expressed gratitude to the ships sponsor for their commitment to the Navy. "I want to express the Navy's deep appreciation to the Taylor family. Much of what they do is anonymous but believe me when I say they are the preeminent philanthropic family of the St. Louis community and a donor to Navy causes,” said Williams. St. Louis’ commanding officer, Cmdr. Kevin Hagan, reported the ship ready. “I’m incredibly proud of the work the crew of St. Louis put in to get this ship ready to sail. I am absolutely honored to lead this crew through all of the trials required of a brand-new ship in the fleet,” said Hagan. “Their perseverance and Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Chris Roys

dedication will set the foundation for our crew and for all future crews that will call USS St. Louis their home.” St. Louis is the 22nd LCS to be delivered to the Navy, and the tenth of the Freedom-variant to join the fleet and is the seventh ship to bear the name. The first St. Louis, a sloop of war, was launched in 1828. It spent the majority of its service patrolling the coasts of the Americas to secure interests and trade. In addition, it served as the flagship for the West Indies Squadron working to suppress piracy in the Caribbean Sea, the Antilles and the Gulf of Mexico region. The littoral combat ship is a fast, agile and networked surface combatant, and the primary mission for the LCS includes countering diesel submarine threats, littoral mine threats and surface threats to assure maritime access for joint forces. The underlying strength of the LCS lies in its innovative design approach, applying modularity for operational flexibility. Fundamental to this approach is the capability to rapidly install interchangeable mission packages (MPs) onto the seaframe to fulfill a specific mission and then be uninstalled, maintained and upgraded at the Mission Package Support Facility (MPSF) for future use aboard any LCS seaframe. Participating in the ceremonial flyover for the commissioning of the Navy’s newest littoral combat ship included two MH-60R, assigned to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 60 and HSM-70, based out of Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville. Primary missions of the MH-60R include Anti-Submarine Warfare, AntiSurface Warfare, Surveillance, Communications Relay, Combat Search and Rescue, Naval Gunfire Support and logistics support. When the USS St. Louis is paired with world’s most advanced maritime helicopter, the MH-60R, it will have a robust anti-submarine mission capability that is fully interoperable with the U.S. Navy and its coalition partners. *

Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Alana Langdon




Surface Force News USS Bataan Receives Energy Excellence Award The Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) received the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Energy Excellence Award, afloat large amphibious category, for actions performed during fiscal year 2019 while preparing for deployment in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 2nd, 5th and 6th Fleet area of operations. The SECNAV Energy Excellence Awards recognize those Navy and Marine Corps activities that Story by demonstrate exceptional leadership and Office of the Navy sustained excellence in energy program Chief of Information management, contributing to energy security, improved readiness and mission capability across the Department of the Navy (DoN). Bataan’s leadership team aggressively promoted energy conservation and awareness by embracing the guidance and strategies provided in the Shipboard Energy Conservation Guide. As a result, Bataan made significant strides in energy conservation throughout fiscal year 2019, setting the standard for engineering and navigation excellence. "Our team of disciplined professionals spent many late hours honing their skills in all facets of shipboard readiness," said Capt. Bryan Carmichael, commanding officer of Bataan. "I could not be more proud of the men and women of ‘Big 5’ and we acknowledge their hard work through this truly prestigious award." During command indoctrination Sailors are provided energy conservation and pollution abatement training ensuring they understand the importance and necessity of energy conservation. One of the many ways Bataan succeeded was their conservation of fuel while in-port steaming and during underway steaming by reducing the amount of redundant equipment online within the engineering plant. "Bataan incorporated energy conservation into our daily operation by ensuring our fan coil units were kept clean and aggressively worked on ones that were in high use," said Cmdr. Jon Miller, Bataan’s chief engineering officer. "Furthermore, the engineering plant was configured for economy steaming operations during all available opportunities to ensure maximum fuel economy during long periods in-between underway replenishments during the global COVID pandemic. Ship personnel were trained in keeping thermostats set and maintaining air conditioning boundaries in unusually arduous heat environments while deployed to the Arabian Gulf during the summer months." Bataan recently returned from a seven-month deployment, where 2,500 Sailors and embarked Marines worked with regional allies and partners to conduct training and at-sea exercises. They are now preparing to enter a planned maintenance period.


“Our team of disciplined professionals spent many late hours honing their skills in all facets of shipboard readiness”

Photo by Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class Asheka Lawrence-Reid




NPS Professor Receives Mills Medal for Optimizing Surface Ship Drydock Schedules Story by Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class Brenton Poyser, Commander, Destroyer Squadron SEVEN Public Affairs

The Mills Medal, awarded by the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) Alumni Association and Foundation, recognizes research that has had a clear impact on the Navy’s operational efficiency. This year, the award was presented to NPS operations research professor Kyle Lin who developed an algorithmic tool, the Surface Ship Drydock Schedule Planner (SSDSP), to optimize naval drydocks and help simplify scheduling. Lin was connected with the research sponsor Robert Sparks of the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) through the Naval Research Program (NRP), Sparks recently presented the SSDSP at a conference, and it was a hit. Playing a key role in the planner’s development, Lin says, is NPS student Lt. Cmdr. Adam Hilliard. “I was very fortunate to have him. His thesis was on forming the mathematical model and he wrote a lot of codes to implement the model,” said Lin. He and Hilliard developed the intuitively designed SSDSP tool, which takes the information of each incoming vessel and determines the best place for it to go. The algorithm will take in factors such as the type of ship coming in, how much space it will need, when it must dock and for how long, where the home port is, drydock availability, government quality control (via the Naval Supervisory Authority) requirements and the maintenance that is needed. The Optimized Fleet Response Plan (OFRP) is like a complex game of Tetris. “You move the pieces into places and try to minimize the holes,” Lin says.

Through streamlining this process, Lin especially wanted to better implement double docking when needed. Double docking allows two ships with similar schedules to berth at the same drydock. This method maximizes space available at each location but will only work if schedules are maintained. Schedule delays are a common reality that the SSDSP hopes to limit. Besides scheduling when ships should go where, the tool allows operators to test out different hypothetical situations and better understand how different scenarios would impact schedules. For example, when asked what a pandemic could do to drydock scheduling, Lin says it would most likely slow all the processes down due to lack of workforce. “You can go to the model and say, ‘We originally anticipate another 50 days to finish, and when the pandemic slows everything down by double the time, 50 days becomes 100.’ You can then run the model to see the trickle-down effect,” Lin explains. “Professor Lin’s research, for which he was awarded the Mills Medal, represents all the things that make NPS such an exciting place to be for students, faculty and staff and such value-added to the Navy, Marine Corps and the nation,” says Marine Corps Col. Randy Pugh, NPS Associate Dean of Research and chair of the Mills Medal selection committee. “Lin’s extensive expertise in operations analysis, complemented by his student partners’ professional experience, applied to realworld naval problems and fully supported by Navy leadership resulted in recommendations that will save millions of dollars while simultaneously increasing warfighter readiness. It was a tremendously skillful application of the science of war.” *


Photo by U.S. Navy




Photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Drace Wilson


USS Sterett’s Road to 7th Fleet: Maintenance, Training Set Destroyer Up for Success Story by Seaman Drace Wilson, Carrier Strike Group 11

Two years of training and maintenance prepared the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG 104) to deploy with Nimitz Carrier Strike Group in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts. Amid operations in U.S. 7th Fleet, Damage Control Assistant Lt. David Jimenez recalled the preparations toward the June departure from San Diego for deployment and the ship’s Fleet Response Training Plan, beginning when Sterett first arrived in the yards in 2018. “We were certifying seven warfare areas at the same time,” said Jimenez. “We had execution plans that were essential and we had to deconflict at every level to the minute. Every hoop we gave Sterett Sailors, they jumped through.” During what is known as the basic phase, Sterett completed tiers one and two certifications in 19 weeks. Afloat Training Group (ATG) trained and evaluated watchstanders and training teams to ensure the destroyer was ready to execute missions at the unit level. Following basic phase, Sterett was ready to work with other units. The ship completed initial ship aviation team training (ISATT) with the "Magicians" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 35. For the advanced phase, the Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC) presented a challenging surface warfare advanced tactical training (SWATT) which is designed to allow ships to train in a high-velocity environment that facilitates a full spectrum quality “plan, brief, execute, debrief ” (PBED) process that was previously unseen in the Surface community. “The implementation of SWATT is a refreshing addition to the training cycle,” said Lt. Nathan Neher, the combat systems officer onboard. “Through a variety of events, SWATT allowed the ship, watchstanders and crew to gain confidence in their equipment.

The ability to engage UAVs with guns and targets with SM-2s [standard missiles] provided us with an opportunity to see that our equipment worked as advertised.” Following SWATT, Sterett was ready to join the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group for a composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX), the definitive, final training to determine if a strike group and its units are deployment-ready. Prior to departing, Sterett’s crew began a pre-movement sequester in accordance with U.S. Navy pre-deployment guidelines— compliance with Navy and CDC guidance is critical to minimize the spread of COVID-19. After a rigorous month of training, Sterett’s crew completed the exercise, incorporating lessons learned during SWATT and the basic phase. “Our teams built off of the foundation provided by external training organizations in the PBED process to create and execute challenging and realistic scenarios to improve our watchstander responses,” said Sterett Executive Officer Cmdr. Jessica Morera, “I look forward to our teams developing and executing valuable training for our ship to maintain and improve our mission readiness and combat effectiveness.” Sterett Sailors, both junior and senior, voiced satisfaction with the experiences they have gained and shared excitement at what the future holds for the rest of deployment. “All of the equipment, all the way down to the last bolt and nut, is good to go,” said Boatwain’s Mate 3rd Class David Mashburn. “It’s good to finally be embarked on my first deployment.” The training officer on board Sterett shared the sentiment of being underway. “There is a lot of value in going on deployment. It’s what we are here for, this is the best part of being in the Navy,” said Lt. Blake Rothermel. The commanding officer of Sterett was proud of the work the crew put in to prepare for deployment. “My Dauntless crew has been the beneficiary of some exceptional training throughout this cycle,” said Cmdr. Andrew Koy. “I’m proud to say that Sterett is a combat-ready warship, deployed as an assurance to our allies and partners and a credible deterrent to our enemies.” *




Health Workers in Uniform: Lessons Learned Story by Cmdr. Michael Kaplan, Director of Medical Services, Naval Hospital Jacksonville, Florida

While USS Kidd (DDG 100) was deployed to the U.S. Fourth Fleet Area of Responsibility, a Sailor began experiencing COVID-19 symptoms April 20, a month after the ship’s last port call. In the weeks preceding this first positive case onboard, the crew of USS Kidd was already applying the Navy’s COVID-19 lessons learned. In early April, Sailors began to make and wear cloth face masks. They conducted a quarantine and isolation drill to determine how to segregate sick and healthy crew members on a ship with limited space. In addition, the surface Navy and operational commanders sent COVID-19 mitigation guidance to the fleet and built contingencies in the event another deployed ship experienced an outbreak. This is the story of the seven-member medical team from Naval Hospital Jacksonville who jumped into action to provide medical care to the crew of USS Kidd.

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brandie Nuzzi



Be Prepared to Respond Quickly to a Possible Outbreak On the morning of April 23, my boss, Capt. Matthew Case, commanding officer of Naval Hospital Jacksonville, came over to my office. He asked if we could send a team to a ship in distress, to do testing, isolating, and quarantining of Sailors who may be sick with COVID-19, as well as provide medical support until they can get back to a safe place. I said, “Sure, when would they need to go?” He said three hours. We balanced who would be most qualified and available on such short notice without leaving the hospital in a bad place, since every department had been stretched because of COVID-19. We built a team of seven medical providers: Along with me, an allergy/ immunology and internal medicine physician by trade, were Lt. Cmdr. Clifton Wilcox, MD, a preventive medicine physician; the lab technician, Hospitalman Joseph Kim; two preventive medicine technicians, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Derrick Hudson and Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Jason Turgeon; and finally, the two hospital corpsmen, Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Brian Krawsczyn and Hospitalman Jason Moyer. Within hours of the call, we were packed up with all the equipment and tests. We didn’t have much time to think about what we were getting into, which is probably a good thing. Not too many people would want to run into a burning building. When we left we knew very little about how many Sailors were currently sick. We took a P-8 Poseidon from Jacksonville, a couple of miles down the street from our hospital. It flew us to El Salvador, and from there we took an SH-60 Sea Hawk helicopter offshore.

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alex Corona

Test Everyone, Even if They Don’t Show Symptoms

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alex Corona

That evening, we began testing the crew. Within 24 hours of arriving, we already had 25 percent of Kidd Sailors tested. Once we identified someone who was positive yet asymptomatic, we took the initiative to isolate them, so they couldn’t spread the infection. Our goal was to reduce further spread among potentially vulnerable Sailors who were not already infected. Of all the Sailors who tested positive while still onboard, about 50 percent were asymptomatic. Testing everyone took a lot of time. One challenge was that our COVID-19 testing machine could only run one sample at a time. We could average about four to five tests per hour at best. Before the ship arrived in San Diego, we tested 100 percent of the crew, but this required that we run the tests 24 hours a day. We still had days until we would arrive in San Diego and disembark the crew. Until then, we wanted to do everything we could to minimize the spread on the ship, to ensure Sailors could remain healthy and do their job. I have to give kudos to Kidd’s independent duty corpsman, Chief Hospital Corpsman Clinton Barton, and his medical department. They did a great job identifying which Sailors were likely infected. Barton took it upon himself to isolate those not feeling well before we even got there. Despite the limited space on a cramped destroyer, he did the right thing: isolating people he had concerns about. That allowed us to rapidly test those people first, make sure our equipment was working properly and try to mitigate the spread. As we continued to test other Sailors who did not have symptoms, we just increased the isolation ward he had created.



Minimize Exposure to Avoid Being Infected

Photo by U.S. Navy

Test Everyone Again Although we’d tested 100 percent of the crew already, we retested everyone in San Diego on arrival. Knowing who is positive is imperative, and the only way to know is through testing.

Photo by U.S. Navy

We implemented a number of steps to try to mitigate the spread, such as administering N-95 masks to the entire crew, increasing the cleaning frequency for common areas and making sure Sailors wash their hands or use sanitizer before going into common areas such as the galley. The location of the ship from where we started was outside the typical range of a helicopter. USS Makin Island (LHD 8) provided an additional resource, should we run into trouble and need to move Sailors off USS Kidd. Makin Island is capable of taking on types of aircraft that Kidd can’t, allowing for longer medevacs. With an embarked fleet surgical team, Makin Island can also provide Role 2 level of care. Role 2 care includes basic resuscitation and stabilization and may include surgical capability, basic laboratory, limited x-ray, pharmacy, and temporary holding facilities. While underway, 15 Sailors from Kidd were transported to Makin Island, where they received radiographic imaging and laboratory diagnostic services, as well as general medical services.



Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Pyoung K. Yi

Learn From the Experiences of Others We took advantage of some of the lessons from the outbreak aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). I think the combination of hard work, some good planning—even though we had extraordinarily little time—and just making sure we did everything we possibly could allowed it to work out. Having multiple courses of action is always a good idea, because you never know if something is not going to work the way you expect. Fortunately, we had enough redundancy built into the system. Also, bring the right equipment, and think outside the box. Then you just put it together. Clearly, this mission demonstrates having a robust and wellrounded medical force ready is integral to ensuring our Navy is capable of meeting whatever challenges arise. *

Photo by U.S. Navy



The Kidd Connection Story by Lt. Cmdr. Eric Hernandez and Lt. Katie Labbe, Mine Division TWELVE Public Affairs This year, viewers everywhere will have the opportunity to see the latest Hollywood treatment of America’s Greatest Generation: Greyhound. Tom Hanks plays a U.S. Navy destroyer’s commanding officer charged with protecting a convoy of Allied ships from a wolfpack of German U-boats as they transit the Atlantic Ocean. During the Battle of the Atlantic, between 1939 and 1945, 3,500 Allied merchant ships and 175 Allied warships were sunk, and 72,200 Allied naval and merchant seamen were killed. The Germans lost 783 U-boats and approximately 30,000 sailors. As executive officer deployed on patrol onboard a modern destroyer, the gravity of what they faced is not lost on me or our crew. Especially today, as our nation finds itself in the Great Power competition with nations including China and Russia – each with its own capable undersea force. I personally have another tie to this movie. In researching and shooting the movie, Hanks and his team frequented the WWII Fletcher-class USS Kidd (DD 661), which serves as the main attraction of the USS Kidd Veterans Museum in Louisiana. Growing up in Baton Rouge, I, too, visited the museum ship. As a Boy Scout, I spent a night aboard the World War II-era USS Kidd. I can assure you life aboard today’s USS Kidd is considerably more hospitable then it was on the WWII namesake. The original USS Kidd (DD 661) was commissioned April 23, 1943, and named for Rear Adm. Isaac C. Kidd, killed in action aboard USS Arizona (BB 39) during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Kidd was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the attack. USS Kidd earned 12 battle stars during her career: Eight for service in World War II and four for service in Korea. I’m humbled to serve on today’s namesake.

Our USS Kidd (DDG 100) was commissioned June 9, 2007, in Galveston, Texas, and is currently conducting counter-drug operations in U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility. The parallels between the old and new ship are important to me. Now aboard USS Kidd (DDG 100), underway on deployment, you can bet the crew and I will watch the new movie Greyhound. In today’s Navy, we build and train combatready ships and battle-minded crews, and I’m personally inspired by the legacy of American heroism at sea in World War II. Plus, it’s always exciting to see a film about the surface Navy. Serving as executive officer of the USS Kidd is a special assignment to me. There are fewer than 300 ships in the Navy, and for me to be placed on the USS Kidd seems like a dream. While growing up in Baton Rouge, I visited the USS Kidd Veterans Museum in the downtown area often and even got to know the museum’s original director, Maury Drummond, quite well. I spent lots of time talking to him about ship models he had built, and if you spend any time at the museum, you will notice a lot of beautiful model warships on display. Some of the most exquisite ones were built by Mr. Drummond himself. It definitely sparked my fascination with ships and with the Navy. When I joined the US Navy in 2002, I had no idea that it would become a way of life for me, that I would be selected for command of a warship, or get a chance to serve on USS Kidd. Not many of us are afforded the honor of command at sea, and that is very exciting to me. I started seriously considering a naval career back in high school, so it’s been a lifelong aspiration, and it’s coming true for me. It’s incredible. With service in the Navy, there’s never a guarantee of a Hollywood ending. There’s challenge. There’s reward and satisfaction. And there are lifelong relationships and experiences you won’t find anywhere else. I truly hope watching Greyhound is the closest our crew and I get taking on another blue-water navy at war. But I have every confidence that if called, we’d fight with tenacity, determination and lethality. Like our ship’s namesake, and those on the original Kidd crew, we live the core values of honor, courage and commitment. You might say this is art, imitating life, imitating art. And Kidd remains the picture of readiness. *


Decommissioned in 1964, Kidd entered the Atlantic Reserve Fleet and was berthed at Philadelphia until 1982, when ownership was transferred to the Louisiana Naval War Memorial Commission. Never modernized, Kidd is the only destroyer to retain its World War II appearance. She is now on public view as a museum vessel in Baton Rouge. Kidd conducts youth group overnight encampments and is a National Historic Landmark.

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alex Corona




Story by Lieutenant (j.g.) W. Kirk Wolff USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60)

A newly commissioned officer has to navigate difficult waters, whether that involves undergoing the qualification process for their community, figuring out how to live in a new city on their own, or literally navigating a ship for the first time. Many commands across the Navy do not have a Public Affairs Officer (PAO) assigned to them, thus the task routinely becomes a collateral duty for overwhelmed junior officers. Consequently, those commands’ public affairs missions often fall by the wayside as competing demands take their toll. This is not an indictment of unit public affairs representatives, as the number one and two priorities for junior officers should certainly be their Sailors and qualifications, respectively. Having been one of these intimidated, unqualified junior officers myself, I know what it is like to feel buried by unfamiliar responsibilities, collateral duties, and new tasks, all while standing at the heel of a mountain of PQS. However, there are resources, tips, and habits that can ensure public affairs excellence without the task overtaking an officer’s focus. Some of those are listed below, but first I want to clarify why I am writing about an oft-overlooked area of responsibility. Why Public Affairs? In the age of social media and hyper-connectivity, the public affairs mission has taken on a level of importance never before seen. Additionally, every ship, squadron, and shore command has stories that need to be told, and work that should be highlighted. I truly believe public affairs empowers Sailors, and increases job satisfaction, pride, and buy-in to the mission. I have personally witnessed these results after the implementation of an aggressive public affairs program on my ship (USS Paul Hamilton DDG 60). As a result of our command’s efforts, individuals could often be heard in the passageways congratulating each other on their accomplishments, discussing who was featured on the Facebook page or website that day, and generally feeling proud of the ship. The Ombudsman reported family pride was greatly increased as well. The efforts and stories of our Sailors matter, and they deserve to feel proud of their command while having their accomplishments shared. Not only is it important for commands to have competent and efficient public affairs programs for these reasons, the collateral duty presents a golden opportunity for junior officers to “break out” among their peers and demonstrate their ability to effectively plan and execute. Though not all inclusive, some keys to success I have found are as follows:


Tip 1: Create a Battle Rhythm A battle rhythm is critical to establishing any good program, including an effective public affairs initiative. Humans are creatures of habit, and a stable battle rhythm will allow you to get in the habit of maintaining your public affairs program. This seems intuitive, but few commands establish consistent public affairs battle rhythms. In addition to the benefits you will reap as the unit public affairs representative, your battle rhythm will provide your audiences with an expectation of content, leading them to make a routine of checking your command’s website and social media platforms. Rather than expecting sporadic posting or no content on your sites, your audience will come to see your command’s public affairs initiatives as resources for valuable information, and they will loyally check back for more content. This will improve engagement numbers and the amount of people you reach, the main determinants for effective public affairs. In port, my goal was to post at least three photos per week on our social media and one article per month for our website. While this sounds modest, for most small to medium sized commands this would represent a significant increase in public affairs activity. While underway with an embarked Mass Communication Specialist (only sometimes available to smaller commands) I attempt one post per day and one article per month, as operational requirements permit. These can be documentation of operations, history posts, or “family gram” style posts of awards and ceremonies. Both in port and underway I aim to write at least one off ship hometown news story feature for a Sailor each month too, and I am sure to forward any opportunities to the crew via email and Plan of the Day notes for radio shout outs from NAVCO as soon as they are received.

Tip 2: Build an Identity For your command’s public presence, you want to cultivate an identity. This can be accomplished by having themes for your posts, such as #ThrowbackThursday or #WarriorWednesday. I enjoyed posting “throwback” photos of our ship, and of the other ships that have shared the name Paul Hamilton. In doing so, the public’s knowledge of our ship’s impressive history and of the important histories of previous ships sharing our namesake were vastly improved. This also helped Sailors to feel they were a “link in the chain” in the long history of Paul Hamilton named ships, and in the Navy’s history at large. This doubly served to bring in new audiences of history buffs and the families of Sailors who served on the decommissioned ships as well as at least one relative of Paul Hamilton. Your command identity is also built by the nature of your photos and captions. Some commands prefer to have a lighthearted public posture, characterized by puns, funnier captions, or other less serious posts. This has served the goals of many commands well by engaging families and driving up engagement with the public. However, for my command I wanted to cultivate an identity of professionalism while showcasing our Sailors’ accomplishments and the ship’s capabilities. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with utilizing the first strategy, I sensed that as a ship coming out of the yards, many Sailors onboard were not yet convinced of our ship’s abilities, a problem compounded by the fact that she is a quarter century old. When contemplating this mentality onboard and how it could be changed into pride, I realized the main audience of public affairs efforts is often not the general public; rather, it is your own people. We introduced the motto #SuperSixty into our regular narrative and public affairs lines of effort while also showcasing the ship’s capability and history. This, along with our progression through the Basic and Advanced Phases, built up confidence and pride in our ship’s warfighting ability. Each successive post highlighting individual achievements or renewed capabilities, along with the team wins experienced by the crew while certifying warfare areas, created momentum for our command and helped change the mentality of the crew.




Tip 3: Use your resources It is often said that the number one resource the Navy has is its Sailors, and that statement rings true for small to medium sized public affairs programs. Seeking out and empowering your Sailors who are interested in photography, videography, and writing is critical to building a solid program. You cannot do it alone, and leveraging the talents of your Sailors is the best route to success. On my ship, the most outstanding content we had while in port was created by a Hospital Corpsman, Operations Specialist, and Culinary Specialist. Such Sailors will make your job infinitely easier, and you are allowing them to grow and display their talents for the good of the command. The Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) website has a wealth of photos and information, including historical write ups on your ship/squadron and its predecessors. The NHHC also offers “toolkits” that include graphics, information, and PoD notes for various events, like the Navy’s Birthday. As a unit level public affairs officer, the task of documenting your ship’s history will likely also fall to you, the bulk of which is accomplished by creating the “command operations report” submitted yearly by March to the NHHC. This is an opportunity to forever enshrine the accomplishments of your crew into the annals of the Navy’s history, as each command operations report is permanently archived by NHHC, and is referenced in future research and histories. In each major fleet concentration area there is a Naval Public Affairs Support Element. These often host training and can provide Mass Communication Specialists to film, photograph, or otherwise document events on your ship. The same is true for the larger shore commands that represent your chain of command, such as Commander, Naval Surface Forces Pacific (CNSP) in my case. For example, my ship held a September 11th memorial service, and I wanted professional level documentation of the event. I reached out to the first PAO in my public affairs chain of command, and they provided two MCs to photograph and film the event. I additionally volunteered to attend training at both NPASE and CNSP, and I built relationships with the PAOs assigned to each. As a result, I learned of even more resources, such as the Navy’s hometown news program, which will distribute photographs and stories to all media outlets in Sailors’ hometowns. One cannot overstate the willingness of the PAOs to help their unit level representatives, so be sure to reach out to them! But first, it is best have your plan and goals ready to present so they can help you to their fullest abilities.

Tip 4: Change the Game Utilize new platforms to expand your audience. If your command only has a Facebook, consider creating a command Twitter or Instagram page (with your Commanding Officer’s permission and with the blessing of the first Public Affairs Officer in your unit’s chain of command, of course). We expanded our outreach onboard Paul Hamilton by creating a command newsletter, which we emailed directly to the families of our Sailors through the Ombudsman’s email list. This provided a way for the Captain to speak directly to the Sailors and their loved ones and allowed us to recognize even more Sailors, all while shaping the command’s narrative. We also expanded into new fields of media, such as video, by volunteering our ship to participate in a documentary filmed by All Hands Magazine. Similarly, we posted regular B-roll videos and photographs to the Defense Visual Information Data Site (DVIDS) which allowed media outlets across the country to access and use our products, referencing the command and further increasing our footprint. In the same vein, I implemented an aggressive hometown article program, where I highlighted at least one Sailor per month with an article and photograph, which I directly sent to their hometown paper. I later discovered the aforementioned Navy hometown news program, but I was able to effectively distribute such articles on my own, reaching audiences in more than 15 states and 5 countries. By building relationships with off ship PAOs, as mentioned before, you can open up new avenues for your command. For instance, in 2019 a speaking engagement opened up for a commanding officer to speak at the 75th (and final) reunion for the vaunted Taffy 3 veterans of the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Since I remained in contact with the CNSP public affairs officers, they reached out to me and offered the spot to my captain, which was excitedly accepted. This speaking engagement was a great honor for my captain as a speaker and for me as an attendee, and it garnered national media attention.


While this list is not exhaustive, my hope is that it can provide some inspiration for new collateral duty public affairs representatives or current public affairs representatives to expand and improve their programs. If you

put in the effort and create an effective program, you are sure to reap the rewards of professional satisfaction and accomplishment, while also knowing you are improving your command and positively impacting the lives of your Sailors and their families. *




Assault Craft Unit FIVE's on-site LCAC Weld School Story by Expeditionary Strike Group THREE Public Affairs Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Justin Whitley

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (NNS) -- In a predominantly steel trade, Hull Maintenance Technicians (HT) assigned to Assault Craft Unit FIVE (ACU-5) are in for quite a surprise when faced with the challenge of welding on the Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) all-aluminum hull. Fortunately, ACU-5 is home to a specialized seven-week weld school centered on the unique intricacies of aluminum welding that prepares these Sailors for such a challenge. “Aluminum differs from steel in many ways even though the basic principles are the same,” said Mr. Kirt Martin, ACU-5 weld school instructor. “Thermal expansion of aluminum is approximately twice that of steel. Hot cracking – as we call it – can occur as the weld solidifies with aluminum if not done carefully,” Martin adds. Martin, a contractor with MS Corp and professional welder of 27 years continues: “The Gas Tungsten Arc Welding process used for aluminum takes a little more dexterity than other welding processes and requires a bit of a faster pace.” With the LCAC capable of speeds of 50 knots the ‘Swift Intruders’ of ACU-5 are no strangers to a fast pace. Precisely placing the 110-ton hovercraft gently inside the belly of amphibious assault ship underway at 12 knots with a 60-ton payload on deck takes lots of skill and a little bit of luck. Sometimes rough seas result in minor fender benders while attempting this

highly technical aspect of the mission. In the war of LCAC aluminum versus ship’s steel, steel wins every time. This is where ACU-5s HTs come in. With six courses taught on-site and a throughput of 36 students each year, there is no shortage of LCAC metal experts ready to answer that call. After 12 hours of classroom lectures and 67 hours of arc-time per student, LCAC hull maintenance teams come together and demonstrate the skills they learned in ACU-5s weld course, ultimately returning almost any hull component onboard the landing craft to like new condition in accordance with Military Standard 248 and the LCAC Welding and Inspection manual. The training drastically enhances occupational standards for HTs and takes a methodical approach to specialized training, negating a ‘learn as you go’ approach, which many other on-the-job training scenarios have to offer. “Our weld school teaches the student how to weld on aluminum and stainless steel, which is specific to the LCAC community. The students get a lot of one-on-


one interaction with the instructor where they learn structural design, repairs, and fit-up, as well as how to break-down, clean and troubleshoot a welding machine,” noted Master Chief Hull Maintenance Technician Art Ponce, ACU-5 maintenance department leading chief petty officer. Although predominantly HTs with 50 percent of enrollees coming directly from HT “A” School, weld school students come from various backgrounds and possess different experience levels, with Marines counted among those matriculated in the course in the past. The course has even certified service members with the Marines’ Wounded Warrior Battalion. While the training’s focus is LCAC hull repairs, seats are also available to fleet HTs depending on quota availability. A recent addition to the weld course is a full-sized LCAC section, which adds a unique sense of realism to the students’ experience. The mock-up, a donation from the LCAC Program Office, comes from a decommissioned craft and serves as a place for students

to practice their skills in a controlled environment and make mistakes without sacrificing re-work or equipment costs on an otherwise fully commissioned LCAC. This approach drastically reduces waste and provides highly trained HTs to the LCAC fleet who are ready to produce excellent results from the start. “Welding on a life-sized piece of LCAC introduces the Sailor to the real world interaction they deal with out in the field,” Ponce continued. While most graduates remain at ACU-5 upon certification, some go on to exercise their skills at Naval Beach Unit (NBU) 7 in Sasebo, Japan, greatly enhancing LCAC hull repair capabilities for forward-deployed LCAC in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. “ACU-5 offers a unique opportunity where we take a Sailor used to welding on a different medium and not only introduce them to the concept of welding aluminum, but train them to a high degree of confidence in their skillset,” explained Capt. Chris Nelson, commanding officer, ACU-5. “There is a tremendous return on investment when you consider the positive effect our training has on the quality of the end product.” When asked what the best part of his job is, “The ability to pass on the experience passed on to me, and the knowledge and experience I have gained from working on the craft for so many years,” said Martin. *




CIAT Meets the Mark for SWO Training Demands A USS Benfold Sailor’s personal account of the Combined Integrated Air & Missile Defense/AntiSubmarine Warfare Training Story by Lt. Aaron Van Driessche, IAMD Advance Warfare Training

[Foreword: The Center for Surface Combat Systems (CSCS) launched its Combined Integrated Air & Missile Defense/Anti-Submarine Warfare Trainer (CIAT) in December 2018. The advanced tactical simulator provides Aegis watch standers a state-of-the-art combat training facility at Naval Bases San Diego and Norfolk.]

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist Dustin W. Sisco


In the past two years, I’ve been privileged to witness firsthand CIAT’s exponential impact on waterfront training. Serving my Integrated Air and Missile Defense Warfare Tactics Instructor (WTI) production tour at the CSCS Detachment San Diego has offered me a unique perspective on Fleet Training. Our training model is intentionally linear, designed in tiers—after a ship’s Maintenance Phase— to increase in complexity and integration as ships and strike groups approach deployment. I’ve been assigned to 22 Pacific Fleet cruisers and destroyers entering Basic Phase Training. At the first intersection of combat training, we share the same observation on each ship. The quality of a ship’s combat team directly reflects the duration of a ship’s maintenance period. Without exception, the longer the dry dock period, the shakier the team. No team or watch stander has proven immune to pier side tactical atrophy. Under those conditions, ship’s force and waterfront training sites like CSCS, Afloat Training Group (ATG), Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC), and Tactical Training Group Pacific (TTGP) devote enormous effort in the training cycle, sharpening the tactical edge lost in port.

Crew feedback is always the same before deployment: “I wish there was more time. I wish there was more training.” CIAT answers both calls. It’s engineered in every detail to replicate an Aegis combat suite. In 2019, 2,000 watch standers stepped into CIAT for tactical training on their own initiative. While San Diego ships underwent significant tactical upgrades on the pier, San Diego Sailors did the same in CIAT. The simulator offers scenario complexity and customization unlike anywhere else in the fleet, far beyond what’s capable on board a ship. CIAT is equipped to simulate fights in any geography and environment, against any adversary. As facilitators at CSCS, we can degrade a ship’s weapons systems, overwhelm radars with noise, inject realistic threat profiles with electronic attack, and force every single watch stander in combat to adapt. You can’t plagiarize experience in our line of work. We t train our crews to succeed in the worst-case scenario. Since opening almost two years ago, we have hosted several training events for the local waterfront. In spring of 2020, CIAT was ready for its first forward-deployed training audience. As USS Benfold (DDG 65) made preparations for a 15-month maintenance availability in Yokosuka, Japan, Cmdr. Robert McFarlin, Benfold’s commanding officer, eyed CIAT as a new avenue for tactical proficiency. “Benfold has a very proactive posture for warfare training and completing our Selected Restricted Availability (SRA) ahead of schedule,” McFarlin explained. “We've named our aggressive stance ‘Operation: Yorktown’ in reference to the herculean effort to return the World War II carrier to service for the Battle of Midway.” Operation: Yorktown outlined specific installation dates and testing milestones in an effort to identify timeline challenges and certify all warfare areas ahead of schedule. Like Yorktown generations before her, Benfold had no time to waste in the shipyard with a demanding theater eager for her return to force. In execution of Operation: Yorktown, McFarlin requested two uninterrupted weeks in CIAT for nonstop 7th Fleet scenario training during his ship’s Maintenance Phase. With that much time, our CSCS team designed approximately 100 lab hours of customized tactical training for Benfold. By month’s end, 31Benfold Sailors had plane tickets from Tokyo to San Diego and Operation: Yorktown was underway.




Having served both my division officer tours onboard forward-deployed USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), I understand the high operational tempo, demand for quality training, and the challenges achieving both. Benfold’s investment in early training resonated as a culture shift. Their request marked the first formal ship training event endeavored during the Maintenance Phase and would become be the most rewarding training mission of my WTI tour. With more than 100 undivided hours to test the lab and crew to full potential, we returned to Destroyer Squadron 15 the most lethal combat information center (CIC) watch team in the 7th Fleet. Free from distractions in San Diego’s CIAT, 6,000 miles away from Yokosuka, the CIC watch team got to training. No administrative paperwork, meetings, dut y, or maintenance. Nothing but 100 hours of operational repetition honed their skills to increase their lethality. “The CIAT venue itself was a great asset for my team,” said Lt. Cmdr. Kyle Sullivan, Benfold’s combat systems officer. “The opportunity to focus solely on warfighting skills and step away from the dayto-day routine of ship business ensured the reps and sets in the CIAT sank in and every minute of training retained its value.” With two weeks together, we stretched far beyond the scope of Basic Phase training requirements. I invited my peers at SMWDC headquarters to present focus area projects on new tactics. USS Princeton’s (CG 59) Air Defense team hosted Navy Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air and air asset management training. Dave Dunn and the Afloat Training Group (ATG) team led individual Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) training offsite. Most importantly, we achieved a high level of team combat cohesion through the nonstop scenario play. “The San Diego location allowed access to a wide variety of subject matter experts, including the ATG BMD team, who brought first class training and lectures to our crew,” Sullivan said.

Photos by Clinton Beaird Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center

The crew feedback was loud and clear. “Build a CIAT in Yokosuka!” was scribbled on 11 student course critiques before the team departed. “Don’t deploy without it,” one Sailor’s course critique read. “I cannot stress enough how important this training has been for my team and myself,” read another. Six months later, Operation: Yorktown continues as Benfold completes crew and material certifications. To no surprise, the watch team successfully safeguarded the tactical proficiency earned during last year’s patrol. “CIAT proved absolutely invaluable in preserving Benfold’s proficiency as we prepare for certification,” said Cmdr. Marcus Seeger, Benfold’s executive officer. McFarlin’s Operation: Yorktown succeeded in equal parts action and philosophy. “Our trip to CIAT cost $3,500 per Sailor,” McFarlin said. “The return is worth double, or even triple, that cost. Even now with my Aegis suite back online and embedded training systems available to the crew, the high fidelity of CIAT and the incredible training provided by the CSCS San Diego team would make another trip worthwhile.” “CIAT is that good. We absolutely recommend our sister ships here in Yokosuka make the same investment,” McFarlin concluded. As an instructor who has driven two dozen ships through the Optimized Fleet Response Plan (OFRP) cycle, Operation: Yorktown is my model of success. I keep going back to Benfold’s example and have held onto the student course critiques as a constant reminder. Our community embraces the Maintenance Phase as a necessary investment in a ship’s long-term success. But it’s not just an investment in preserving the ship’s hull, renovating engineering spaces, or modernizing her combat systems. The Benfold family proved the Maintenance Phase is equally an investment in the crew. Benfold’s dedicated combat team training during the Maintenance Phase is a paradigm shift essential for winning the high-end fight and worthy of Yorktown’s namesake. *


“CIAT proved absolutely invaluable in preserving Benfold’s proficiency as we prepare for certification”

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Daniel Barker




By Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet

SAN DIEGO – Vice Adm. Roy I. Kitchener relieved Vice Adm. Richard Brown as Commander, Naval Surface Forces (COMNAVSURFOR) and Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMNAVSURFPAC) during a change of command ceremony held at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Aug. 3. Recommended for promotion to vice admiral in March, Kitchener reports to San Diego from his job as Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet (SURFLANT), based in Norfolk, Virginia. “I am honored to assume command of Naval Surface Forces and command of Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet,” said Kitchener. “I am thankful for Vice Admiral Brown’s leadership the past two and a half years. His focus on good stewardship, professional development, and safety were the catalyst for rebuilding a better and smarter force of combat ready ships and battle-minded crews.”

A native of Connecticut, Kitchener graduated from Unity College with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 1984. He attended the Navy’s Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island, and received his commission in 1985. He attended the Naval Post Graduate School where he specialized in Western Hemisphere studies and earned a Master of Arts degree in National Security Affairs. The ceremony also marked the end of Brown’s 35-year naval career. “The U.S. Navy has the premier surface force in the world—second to none—that controls the seas and provides the nation with combat naval power when


and where needed,” said Brown. “Leading the force is rewarding work. Today, I can proudly say that we only deploy ships that have the required manning, are fully certified, and materially ready. That isn’t possible without the hard work and dedication of the SURFPAC staff and the great crews of our ships.” Brown, with the entire SURFPAC team, was responsible for ensuring the readiness of 93 ships and 42 shore commands since January 2018. As commander of the Surface Force, Brown implemented significant changes to ensure the force was trained for the highend fight and built a culture of excellence. These changes included

a revision of the Surface Force Training and Readiness Manual, the establishment of Surface Development Squadron (SURFDEVRON) 1, implementation of the Crew Endurance and Fatigue Policy, and the building of state-ofthe-art training facilities, including Maritime Skills Training Centers; the Combined Integrated Air and Missile Defense and ASW Trainers (CIAT); and delivering On Demand Trainers (ODT). The mission of CNSP is to man, train, and equip the Surface Force to provide fleet commanders with credible naval power to control the sea and project power ashore. *

Photos by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kevin C. Leitner




Mine Countermeasures Ship Decommissionings





USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6)


“They had experienced the intense, inferno-like heat, the dark smoke that obscured view of teammates by their side, and the explosions — the latter had to be like a mine field … unknown when and where, and how severe, those blasts might be. Some had been knocked down by these blasts — some, more than once — but they got up, refocused and reattacked.”

Photos by U.S. Navy




Voices From the Fleet Life Lessons from the





History and Heritage USS Indianapolis: Supreme Success and Sacrifice By Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

The last major U.S. Navy ship sunk in WWII, the cruiser delivered the final blow that ended the war. 75 years later, they’ve left a legacy of a free and open IndoPacific. After earning ten battle stars for heroics over four years of war, the U.S. Navy cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA 35) had just successfully delivered the bomb parts that would finally bring to a close WWII. Days later, on July 30, 1945, and barely a month from the end of the war, she was sunk by an enemy submarine returning from her top secret mission. More than 880 of the ship’s 1,196 Sailors and Marines went into the water.

After more than four days of exposure, drowning, and shark attacks, only 316 survived. On behalf of all Sailors, past and present, I want to express my deepest gratitude for the service and sacrifice of the crew of USS Indianapolis," Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Mike Gilday said during a video address honoring the ship's crew. "During our nation's darkest hour, they dared everything and went into harm's way again and again. We will always remember their valor in battle and the role they played in ending the most devastating war in history. Today eight crew members remain. The youngest are 93 years old. While the ship’s final act has made her the subject of enduring public interest, it was her remarkable success in battle that made her and her crew legends.


The flagship of the 5th Fleet, USS Indianapolis served in the Pacific during WWII -- from responding to Pearl Harbor to Alaska to Tarawa to Saipan to Iwo Jima right through until her final, successful albeit tragic final mission. She earned ten battle stars for:

- Bougainville Air Action (20 February 1942) and the Salamaua-Lae Raid (10 March 1942) - Aleutians Operation (Attu Occupation) (25 May-3 June 1943) - Gilbert Islands operation (20 November-8 December 1943) - Marshall Islands operation, including the occupation of Kwajalein and Majuro Atolls (29 January-8 February 1944) and the occupation of Eniwetok Atoll (17 February-2 March 1944) - Asiatic-Pacific Raids, involving Palau, Yap, Ulithi, and Woleai (30 March-1 April 1944) - Marianas operation, involving the occupation of Saipan (11 June-10 August 1944), the Battle of the Philippine Sea (19-20 June 1944), and the capture and occupation of Guam (21-23 July 1944) - Tinian Island Capture and Occupation (24-25 July 1944) - Southern Palau Islands apture and Occuaption (6 September-14 October 1944)

The U.S. Navy remains vigilant, and is committed to sustaining a free and open Indo Pacific that the men of the USS Indianapolis and those like them sacrificed to ensure. In today’s Great Power Competition, U.S. military members recognize they must be ready to fight and win when called. The men of USS Indianapolis set the standard today’s service members strive to honor. The USS Indianapolis’ proud legacy continues today. On October 26, 2019 the nation commissioned the current USS Indianapolis (LCS 17), a littoral combat ship homeported in Mayport, Florida. The ship’s motto “Legacy of War” reflects the ships named Indianapolis have served in World War I, World War II, and the Cold War. LCS 17 is the fourth ship to bear the name.

- Iwo Jima Operation (15 February-6 March 1945), Fifth Fleet raids against Honshu and the Nansei Shoto (15-16 February, 25 February, and 1 March 1945) - Okinawa Gunto Operation (17-25 March 1945) and the assault and occupation of Okinawa Gunto (26 March-5 April 1945)

The ship’s location had been a mystery until August 18, 2017, when naval historians and the Research Vessel Petrel teamed up and discovered the remains in the Pacific at a depth of nearly three and a half miles (5,500 meters). “Dad would have been amazed at the incredible images of Indy captured by the crew of Petrel. He always said though that if the ship was found, the site should be kept a sacred place to honor the memory of his shipmates who were lost,” said Peggy Campo, whose father, Donald C. McCall, served on the ship for two years. While assigned, the ship earned eight of its ten battle stars. He died in June 2017 at the age of 92, only weeks before the wreckage of the ship was discovered.

LCS-class ships allow the Navy to strengthen its partnership with other countries’ navies and coast guards. They perform maritime security operations, theater security cooperation engagements, and freedom of navigation patrols – keeping critical maritime commerce routes open. Littoral combat ships are able to patrol the littorals and access ports where other ships may be unable. Americans should forever remember the crew’s remarkable success in battle, and honor the service and sacrifice of the ship’s Sailors and Marines. *





Command Changes June 2020

July 2020

August 2020

Rear Adm. Brad Cooper..............................Naval Surface Force Atlantic (SURFLANT) Rear Adm. Ryan Scholl.......................................................Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 8 Rear Adm. Andrew J. Loiselle........................................... Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 4 Rear Adm. Timothy J. Kott..................................................Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1 Capt. Bill Shaffley....................................................Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 26 Capt. Tom Ulmer...................................................................... USS Makin Island (LHD 8) Capt. Bryan K. Carmichael............................................................... USS Bataan (LHD 5) Capt. J. Tate Robinson..................................................................USS Green Bay (LPD 20) Capt. Jay Clark...............................................Commander, Destroyer Squadron (CDS) 1 Capt. David Loo.................................................................................USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) Capt. Jesus Rodriguez..............................................................Amphibious Squadron FIVE Cmdr. Kelly Mahaffey.............................................................Beachmaster Unit (BMU) 1 Cmdr. David L. Burkett........................................................USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) Cmdr. Stacy Wuthier..........................................................................USS Jackson (LCS 6) Cmdr. Austin Duff...........................................................USS Montgomery (Blue) (LCS 8) Cmdr. Samantha Dutily.......................................Naval Surface Squadron (SURFRON) 5 Vice Adm. Eugene H. Black...........................................................................U.S. 6th Fleet Capt. Gervy Alota................................................................USS John P. Murtha (LPD 26) Capt. Derek Brady.............................................Mine Countermeasure Squadron SEVEN Capt. Brian Schrum..................................................................USS New Orleans (LPD 18) Capt. David Guluzian...........................................................Amphibious Squadron (CPR) 6 Capt. Joel Stewart..............Maritime Prepositioning Ships Squadron (COMPSRON) Two Capt. Tim Thompson.............................................................................Task Force (CTF) 67 Capt. Jeremy Gray..........................................................................USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) Capt. Eric J. Anduze....................................................USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Cmdr. Brandon Booher............................................................USS Stockdale (DDG 106) Cmdr. Isaac Harris...........................................................................USS Ramage (DDG 61) Cmdr. William A. Fensterer.................................................USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) Cmdr. Shane Dennis.........................................................................USS Chafee (DDG 90) Cmdr. Derek Rader........................................................................USS Decatur (DDG 73) Cmdr. John Baggett...........................................................................USS Preble (DDG 88) Cmdr. William Buford....................................................................USS Momsen (DDG 92) Cmdr. Rob Niemeyer...........................................................................USS Milius (DDG 69) Lt. Cmdr. Franklin Lemene................................................................USS Sentry (MCM 3) Vice Adm. Roy Kitchener........................Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (CNSF) Capt. Gary L. Cave....................................................................USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) Capt. Paul Allgeier...........................................................USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) Cmdr. Christopher R. Cummins........................................................USS Mahan (DDG 72) Cmdr. Bryan E. Geisert....................................................USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108)


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