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Surface warfare work never really changes

USS DeKalb, officer firing a 1-pounder (37mm) Hotchkiss gun while a Sailor observes, 18 May 1918.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph. Catalog #: NH 41702

Fast forward 102 years:

PHILIPPINE SEA (March 10, 2020) Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Shelby Wilkes fires a Mark 38 25mm machine gun during a live-fire exercise aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin (DDG 89).

(U.S. Navy photo 200310-N-AJ005-1173 by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cody Beam/Released) 

Warship Wednesday, March 25, 2020: Lady Lex off Panama

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1833-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places.- Christopher Eger

(This week’s WW abbreviated due to events.)

Warship Wednesday, March 25, 2020: Lady Lex off Panama

Original negative given by Mr. Franklin Moran in 1967. Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 64501

Here we see the U.S. Navy’s second aircraft carrier, the brand-new USS Lexington (CV-2) off Panama City, Panama on 25 March 1928, some 92 years ago today.

The fourth U.S. Naval vessel named for the iconic scrap against Minutemen and a detachment of British troops on 19 April 1776, Lexington had originally been designed and laid down as a battlecruiser, designated CC-1.

Authorized to be converted and completed as an aircraft carrier 1 July 1922 she commissioned 14 December 1927, Capt. Albert W. Marshall in command.

The above photo and the four that follow were taken while the $39 million “Lady Lex” was on her shakedown cruise, deploying from her East Coast builders to her homeport at San Pedro, California, where she would arrive on 7 April 1928 and spend the next 13 years of her life.

NH 64697

NH 64699. At the time, she carried her inaugural air group to include Curtiss F6C fighters and Martin T3M torpedo planes, which can be seen on deck.

Note her twin 8″/55 gun mounts. NH 64698

“‘A close squeeze.’ U.S.S. Lexington. 33,000-ton aeroplane carrier, going through Miraflores Locks, Panama Canal.” Courtesy Jim Ferguson via Navsource. http://www.navsource.org/archives/02/02.htm

Of note, Lex had only received her first aircraft aboard only two months prior to her Panama photoshoot.

First plane on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Lexington– a Martin T3M –at the South Boston Naval Annex January 14, 1928, Leslie Jones Collection Boston Public Library. Note her 8-inch guns

If you liked this column, please consider joining the International Naval Research Organization (INRO), Publishers of Warship International

They are possibly one of the best sources of naval study, images, and fellowship you can find. http://www.warship.org/membership.htm

The International Naval Research Organization is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the encouragement of the study of naval vessels and their histories, principally in the era of iron and steel warships (about 1860 to date). Its purpose is to provide information and a means of contact for those interested in warships.

With more than 50 years of scholarship, Warship International, the written tome of the INRO has published hundreds of articles, most of which are unique in their sweep and subject.

PRINT still has its place. If you LOVE warships you should belong.

I’m a member, so should you be!

Ford marks 1K trap, cat

Looks like the Ford is actually getting the kinks worked out of its new-fangled electromagnetic cats and upgraded arresting gear.

From the NAVY:

ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) — An F/A-18E Super Hornet, attached to “Blue Blasters” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 34, landed aboard USS Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN 78) flight deck marking the 1,000th recovery of a fixed-wing aircraft using Ford’s Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) March 19, 2020, at 5:13 p.m.

Minutes later, the crew celebrated a second milestone launching an F/A18 E Super Hornet attached to “Warhawks” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 97 from Ford’s Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) catapults for the 1,000th time.

This significant milestone in the ships’ history began on July 28, 2017, with Ford’s first fixed-wing recovery and launch using its first-in-class AAG and EMALS technologies.

Capt. J.J. “Yank” Cummings, Ford’s commanding officer, explained how the entire Ford crew has worked together over the last few years to reach this achievement.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our crew, their motivation is amazing,” said Cummings. “We’ve been working extremely hard to get here today, and to see this 1,000th trap completely validates their efforts and the technology on this warship.”

Boasting the Navy’s first major design investment in aircraft carriers since the 1960s, Ford’s AAG and EMALs support greater launch and recovery energy requirements of future air wings, increasing the safety margin over legacy launch and arresting gear found on Nimitz-class carriers.

Lt. Scott Gallagher, assigned to VFA 34, has landed on five other carriers but became a part of Ford’s history with his, and the ship’s 1,000, recovery.

“There are a lot of people who are working night and day to make sure that this ship is ready to go be a warship out in the world,” said Gallagher. “To be a part of that, and this deck certification is super cool. Also getting the 1,000th trap helps the ship get one step closer to being the warship that it needs to be.”

Capt. Joshua Sager, commander, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8, explained why his squadron’s integration with the ship’s personnel is important and how their relationship impacts operations.

“It’s great to share this moment in history with Ford. Integration between the air wing and ship’s company is crucial to the everyday success of carrier operations,” said Sager. “Completion of the 1,000th catapult and arrestment shows that the ship and her crew have tested and proven the newest technology the Navy has, and together we are ready to meet the operational requirements of our nation.”

With 1,000 launches and recoveries complete, Ford will continue its flight deck and combat air traffic control certifications in preparation to deliver to the fleet regular flight operations in support of East Coast carrier qualifications.

ATLANTIC OCEAN (March 19, 2020) Lt. Scott “Gameday” Gallagher lands an F/A-18F Super Hornet, attached to “Blue Blasters” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 34, for the 1,000th trap on USS Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN 78) flight deck during flight operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Gary Prill)

Abbreviated Warship Wednesday: Mount 43, 60 Years Ago Today

(Shorter WW today due to events-Eg.)

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1833-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places.- Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday, March 18, 2020: Mount 43, 60 Years Ago This Week

Here we see the Midway-class carrier USS Coral Sea (CVB/CVA/CV-43) as she sits in Vancouver, Britsh Columbia, her haze gray tower lending its own perspective to the majestic North Shore Mountains overlooking the harbor.

Photo by Leslie F. Sheraton, Courtesy of the Vancouver City Archives https://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/aircraft-carrier-in-vancouver-harbour-coral-sea-9 Item 2009-001.153

Coral Sea called in Vancouver only once from what I can tell, for three days from 18 to 20 March 1960. This was immediately after her 33-month SCB-110AB conversion at Bremerton and before she picked up Carrier Air Group (CVG) 15 for her first post-modification WestPac cruise.

Mar 1960 – Newly recommissioned USS Coral Sea entering Vancouver B.C., Canada. Via USS Coral Sea.net https://www.usscoralsea.net/pics1960s1.php

Her crew spells out CANADA on the flight deck. Via USS Coral Sea.net https://www.usscoralsea.net/pics1960s1.php

She was reportedly the largest ship to pass under the city’s famous Lion’s Gate bridge (later dwarfed by USS Ranger‘s 1992 port call) and drew huge crowds.

As noted from a Vancouver historical blog:

Over 100,000 people lined the shorelines to greet the 63,000-ton aircraft carrier, There were traffic jams into Stanley Park as Vancouverites tried to get the best vantage points to see the huge aircraft carrier. The most spectacular moment was when the aircraft carrier went under the Lions Gate Bridge with a few feet to spare. The crew had to take down the “Lollipop”, the 11-foot section of the navigational aid at the top of the mainmast.

According to newspaper articles, thousands of school children skipped school or were permitted to leave to watch the ship come into port. According to one article, one principal said those that played hookey will pay the price with detentions. There were a lot of social events organized while the ship was in port including a huge dance where over 900 local women were invited to meet the sailors.

While in British Columbia the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada, commanded by two world war Veteran Lt.Col Ian Malcolm Bell-Irving, paraded alongside the dock and then, coming aboard, down her new-fangled angled flight deck and into her empty hangar deck.

US Navy photo now in the Seattle Branch of the National Archives. # NS024335, via Navsource.

Seaforth Highlanders on the hangar deck of USS Coral Sea

While the Coral Sea, recipient of a dozen Vietnam Service Medals, decommissioned in 1990 and was scrapped by 2000, the Seaforths are still stationed in Vancouver and are set to celebrate their 110th Anniversary in November.

If you liked this column, please consider joining the International Naval Research Organization (INRO), Publishers of Warship International

They are possibly one of the best sources of naval study, images, and fellowship you can find. http://www.warship.org/membership.htm

The International Naval Research Organization is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the encouragement of the study of naval vessels and their histories, principally in the era of iron and steel warships (about 1860 to date). Its purpose is to provide information and a means of contact for those interested in warships.

With more than 50 years of scholarship, Warship International, the written tome of the INRO has published hundreds of articles, most of which are unique in their sweep and subject.

PRINT still has its place. If you LOVE warships you should belong.

I’m a member, so should you be!

Stickleback found, filed 10,944 feet down

Just serving two days on her first (and only) WWII combat patrol before the cease-fire was issued in August 1945, the Balao-class submarine USS Stickleback (SS-415) served as a training ship until her GUPPY IIA conversion in the 1950s. She managed to complete five sometimes dicey Cold War patrols, spending lots of time creeping around Soviet Red Banner Pacific Fleet assets including snapping photos of two Sverlov class cruisers.

Taking some time off, she stood out of Pearl on 28 May 1958 with the John C. Butler-class destroyer escort USS Silverstein (DE-534) and a torpedo retriever on an antisubmarine warfare exercise.

As Stickleback was going to a safe depth about 19 miles off Oahu the next day, she lost power and broached about 200 yards ahead of the steaming Silverstein, who was unable to avoid a collision and holed the submarine on her port side, riding over the submarine’s pressure hull.

USS SILVERSTEIN (DE-534) and USS STICKLEBACK (SS-415) Collide 19 miles out from Barbers Point, Oahu Hawaii on 29 May 1958. The photo was taken in a HUP-2 piloted by Ensign Rucks, PHAAN R.K. Ahlgren, photographer. USN 1036229

USN 1036225

USN 1036226

While the submarine Sabalo (SS-302), destroyer escort Sturtevant (DE-239), and rescue ship Greenlet (ASR-10) quickly responded, the combined efforts were unable to correct the flooding, Stickleback at 19:57 made her last dive in 1,800 fathoms of water. Luckily, she suffered no losses and all 82 of her crew were taken off.

Silverstein would be mothballed at San Francisco the next year and would be disposed of in 1973.

Now, Stickleback has been discovered by the Lost 52 Project. She is one of four US Navy submarines lost since the end of World War II

Happy Pi-Day

In my own naval-heavy military history salute to Pi-Day (3/14), we take a look at the peculiar exhibition that was U.S. Navy pie eating contests.

Apparently, these were a regular occurrence at “steel beach” type gatherings on Uncle’s warships from the 1900s through WWII, especially on larger ships with well-equipped gallies.

I guess BBQ and pizza replaced it after that.

Pie eating contest On board a U.S. Navy battleship, circa 1907-1908. This view may have been taken during the Great White Fleet World cruise NH 106075

A pie eating contest On board a U.S. Navy battleship, circa the mid-1910s NH 106274

USS Wyoming BB-32, Pie eating contest on board, on 22 February 1915. NH 77036

USS Mercury.Pie eating contest during a recreation session held for embarked troops, probably while the ship was bringing personnel home from France, circa 1919 NH 98582

USS Maryland (BB-46). Pie-eating contest on board, during her cruise to Brazil in August 1922 NH 76520

USS Augusta (CA-31). Pie-eating contest aboard ship, circa 1936 NH 77855

Pie eating contest held during a happy hour aboard the USS SARATOGA (CV-3) at sea. NH 119205

Also, Marines like pie, too.

Three Marines hungrily wait for the first pie to come out of the field oven on Bougainville during WWII– Note the sweetheart grips on the center-most Devil’s 1911

 

LCS to get Laser Zapper

Artist’s rendering of Lockheed Martin’s HELIOS system. The company picked up a $150 million contract to develop it for the Navy in 2018 to include a high-energy laser system for use against drones and small boats, a long-range ISR capability, and a counter-UAS dazzler capability. The version company’s LLD for use on the LCS is undoubtedly smaller but likely with the same attributes. Credit: Lockheed Martin

From DoD:

Lockheed Martin Corp., Baltimore, Maryland, is awarded a $22,436,852 letter contract for the integration, demonstration, testing and operation of the Layered Laser Defense (LLD) weapon system prototype onboard a Navy littoral combat ship while that vessel is underway. Work will be performed in Moorestown, New Jersey (30%); Baltimore, Maryland (25%); Sunnyvale, California (12%); Woodinville, Washington (10%); Manassas, Virginia (5%); Dallas, Texas (15%); San Diego, California (2%); and Santa Cruz, California (1%). Key areas of work to be performed include development of a prototype structure and enclosure to protect the LLD from ships motion and maritime environment in a mission module format; system integration and test with government-furnished equipment; platform integration and system operational verification and test; systems engineering; test planning; data collection and analysis support; and operational demonstration. Work is expected to be complete by July 2021.

The total cumulative value of this contract is $22,436,852. The base period is $22,436,852 and no options are proposed. The action will be incrementally funded with an initial obligation of $11,218,426 utilizing fiscal 2019 research, development, and test and evaluation (Defense-wide) funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured under N00014-20-S-B001, “Long Range Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for Navy and Marine Corps Science & Technology.” Since proposals are received throughout the year under the long-range BAA, the number of proposals received in response to the solicitation is unknown. The Office of Naval Research, Arlington, Virginia, is the contracting activity (N00014-20-C-1003).

A more LCS-like laser system from Lockheed-Martin is their Advanced Test High Energy Asset (ATHENA) device recently tested by the Air Force to splash drones at Fort Sill.

The radar track was provided to airmen who operated ATHENA via cues from the C2, then ATHENA’s beam director slewed, acquired, tracked and defeated the drone with a high-energy laser.

The ATHENA system shown here destroyed multiple drones in a real-world demonstration for the Air Force. Could it be coming to an LCS near you?

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