Tag Archives: USS Germantown (LSD 4)

The Queen Waves Goodbye to her most Powerful Consort

How’s this for a great photo-ex? Triple flattops.

HMS Queen Elizabeth, USS Carl Vinson, and JMSDF Izumo-class helicopter destroyer JS Kaga transiting in formation with an airborne flypast comprising (left to right): F-35B (617 Sqn), F-35C (VFA-147), F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-192), E/A-18G Growler (VAQ-136), E-2D Hawkeye (VAW-113), F/A-18F (VFA-2), F/A-18E (VFA-113), F-35C (VFA-147) and F-35B (USMC VMFA-211). In the background, the eagle-eyed will see pair of Sea Hawk helicopters.

One of the most unsung members of the UK Carrier Strike Group 21 (CSG21), formed for the inaugural deployment of the largest British aircraft carrier in history, has been the guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG-68). While a 24-year-old Flight I Burke, Sully’s Aegis suite and SM-2 missiles are still much more effective against high-end threats than the other two air-defense escorts of the task force, the Type 45 destroyers HMS Diamond (D34) and HMS Defender (D36)— which are reportedly plagued by “technical issues” as a class.

Sailing from her DESRON 28 homeport at Mayport on 19 April 2020, bound for the United Kingdom in order to join the British carrier strike group for deployment, Sully finally broke away from CSG21 on 20 October 2021, headed home after some 18 months on loan to the RN.

RN photo

“Thank you and fair winds,” noted First Sea Lord, ADM Tony Radakin.

Of course, and somewhat ironically, Sully is named for a five-pack of tough Irish-American brothers. Who better to escort the Queen?

The Sullivan brothers on board USS Juneau Joe, Frank, Al, Matt, and George. NH 52362

British, American, and Japanese flattops at play

As part of Exercise Noble Union/Large Scale Global Exercise (LSGE), units of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, U.S. Navy’s America Expeditionary Strike Group (with the 31st MEU aboard), and the Royal Navy’s CSG21 task group have been operating together this week.

Notably, this put the 65,000-ton British carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08), the 45,000-ton Lightning carrier/gator USS America (LHA-6), and the 19,000-ton Hyūga-class “helicopter destroyer” JS Ise (DDH-182) side-by-side.

Both HMSQE and America have F-35s on deck, while Ise is sticking with rotary-wing assets, although it is theorized that she and her sister Hyuga could someday operate the little 5th Gen fighter. (Royal Navy photo)

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Aron Montano, 210824-N-BG089-0596)

Of interest, RN FAA Merlin helicopters of 820 Naval Air Squadron cross-decked from HMSQE to America during the exercise, as did Marine F-35s of VMFA-211, a historic moment for each type and class.

Talisman Sabre Photoex

Talk about a great shot. The ships of the forward-deployed USS America (LHA 6) Expeditionary Strike Group steam in formation during Talisman Sabre (TS) 21 in conjunction with warships from Australia, Canada, Japan, and South Korea. In all, you have three ‘Phibs, six escorts, and two auxiliaries with a battalion of Marines and a half-squadron of F-35s along for the ride. 

The place? The Coral Sea. What a difference 80 years makes, right?

CORAL SEA (July 22, 2021) (From left) USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204), ROKS Wand Geon (DD 978), HMAS Parramatta (FFH 154), USS America (LHA 6), USS Rafael Peralta (DDG 115), USS JS Makinami (DD 112), USNS Alan Shepard (T-AKE 3), (center) HMCS Calgary (FFH 335), (back) USS New Orleans (LPD 18), HMAS Brisbane (D 41), and USS Germantown (LSD 42) steam in formation during Talisman Sabre (TS) 21. This is the ninth iteration of Talisman Sabre, a large-scale, bilateral military exercise between Australia and the U.S. involving more than 17,000 participants from seven nations. The month-long multi-domain exercise consists of a series of training events that reinforce the strong U.S./Australian alliance and demonstrate the U.S. military’s unwavering commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Daniel Serianni)

And the breakaway.

CORAL SEA (July 22, 2021) (From left) USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204), ROKS Wand Geon (DD 978), HMAS Parramatta (FFH 154), USS America (LHA 6), USS Rafael Peralta (DDG 115), USS JS Makinami (DD 112), USNS Alan Shepard (T-AKE 3), (center) HMCS Calgary (FFH 335), (back) USS New Orleans (LPD 18), HMAS Brisbane (D 41), and USS Germantown (LSD 42) break from formation steaming during Talisman Sabre (TS) 21. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Daniel Serianni

For the record, the America ESG has the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked. The 31st MEU currently comprises the F-35B-augmented Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 265 (Reinforced) as the ACE, Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines as the GCE, and Combat Logistics Battalion 31 as the LCE.