Tag Archives: USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109)

Med Top Trio

Lots of joint carrier ops lately, with the Brits, Japanese and 7th Fleet steaming a trio of flattops in the Pacific (HMS Queen Elizabeth, USS America, JS Ise) last August while a five-flattop formation was photographed just two weeks ago in the Philippine Sea to include the Abraham Lincoln and Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Groups along with Japan’s Hyuga (DDH 181) and two big phibs (America and Essex).

Well, looks like the Med now has its photo-ex as the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HSTCSG) integrated with the French carrier Charles de Gaulle’s (R 91) Task Force 473 and Italian carrier Cavour (C-550) strike groups, “highlighting the strength of the maritime partnerships among the three nations,” as part of Neptune Strike 22/Clemenceau 22 over in Sixth Fleet’s neck of the woods.

And a Tico, (San Jacinto) made it as the point ship, still beautiful at age 34.

MEDITERRANEAN SEA – Elements of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 8, the ITS Cavour Strike Group, and the Charles de Gaulle Carrier Strike Group (TF 473) transit the Mediterranean Sea in formation, Feb. 6, 2022. The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to maintain maritime stability and security, and defend U.S., allied, and partner interests in Europe and Africa. Photo By: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Bela Chambers. 220206-N-DH793-1568

In the below close-up, note that Charles de Gaulle has 20 Rafales on deck as well as a pair of Hawkeyes while Cavour looks to still be carrying her aging AV-8B Harriers.

MEDITERRANEAN SEA – From right to left, Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), the Italian aircraft carrier ITS Cavour (C 550), and the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (R 91) transit the Mediterranean Sea in formation, Feb. 6, 2022. The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to maintain maritime stability and security, and defend U.S., allied, and partner interests in Europe and Africa. Photo By: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Bela Chambers. 220206-N-DH793-1262.JPG

As noted by C6F:

Elements of the strike group include the staff of Carrier Strike Group 8; flagship USS Harry S. Truman; the nine squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1; the staff and guided-missile destroyers of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 28, which include: USS Gonzalez (DDG 66), USS Bainbridge (DDG 96), USS Gravely (DDG 107); the Royal Norwegian Navy’s Fridtjof-Nansen class frigate HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen (F310) deployed as part of the Cooperative Deployment Program; and the Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56). USS Cole (DDG 67) and USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) are also part of the carrier strike group and currently supporting U.S. Fifth Fleet Area of Operations.

As the Winds Blow

Original caption: “The Coast Guard icebreaker Westwind (WAGB-281, ex-Severni Pulius, ex-AGB-6), left, receives personnel and cargo from her disabled sister ship the Eastwind (WAGB-279), right, as they lay moored in Kane Basin north of Thule, Greenland. Enroute to Weather Station Alert with supplies, the Eastwind suffered damage to her starboard propeller blade and a hole in her forepeak while maneuvering to break through heavy Polar floes driving the ship toward shore. The Westwind went to the assistance of the Eastwind and undertook the attempt to reach Alert. The two Coast Guard icebreakers accompanied a Navy Task Force Group on the 1954 joint U.S. Canadian resupply mission to far northern weather stations in the Arctic.”

Note the WWII-era Higgins type LCVP between the two icebreakers and a second one on Westwind’s davits. USCG Photo via the National Archives (205581260)

If you look carefully, you will also see the uniqueness that is a trio of H-13 Sioux (Bell Model 47) type helicopters on the breakers’ decks, with one on Westwind and two on Eastwind. The USCG purchased three up-engined Navy HTL-4 variants (dubbed HTL-5s) in 1952 and used them through 1960, with all three likely seen in the above image. They, as with other helicopters since the 1940s, proved useful in scouting paths through the ice fields.

With their full “soap bubble” canopies, the Korean War-era whirlybirds are instantly recognizable to fans of “MASH.” Between the HTL-5s and similar variants, the service used eight Bell 47s, redesignated HH-13s, as late as 1968.

Both of the above Winds were laid down during WWII– with Westwind serving with the Soviets as Lend-Lease for six years– and would continue in their role of crushing it in the polar regions for decades after the above image was snapped.

“Ice Breaker Penetrating the Ice Pack” Painting, Watercolor on Paper; by Standish Backus; 1956; “Pack ice is composed of massed fragments of sea ice drifting with wind and current. Modern Icebreakers such as Glacier, Edisto and Eastwind normally transit such ice fields without difficulty or loss of speed. However, thinned-skinned vessels must be protected from ice pressures against their hulls. This may be accomplished by leading the escorted vessel through the dangerous areas with its bow lashed firmly into the notched stern of the icebreaker. Here Eastwind is represented towing YOG-34 through the Ross Sea pack, while overhead one of the helicopters scouts the ice conditions.” –Commander Standish Backus. Unframed Dimensions 22H X 30W Accession #: 88-186-BH.

Eastwind, which had captured the German trawler Externsteine during the “Weather War” in Greenland, an event that went down in history as one of the last enemy vessels seized by an American prize crew, decommissioned early Dec 1968 and was slowly scrapped in New Jersey– a fate worse than death.

Westwind was the next to last of her class decommissioned, serving until 1988, at which point she had 43 years under her belt (under two different flags). Plans to keep America’s last WWII-era icebreaker as a museum ship never firmed up and she was, like her sisters, recycled.

Speaking of helicopters and icebreakers…

Shortly after completing her historic crossing of the Northwest Passage (during which the ice wasn’t even thick enough for an Ice Call) by the medium icebreaker USCGC Healy (WAGB-20), an MH-60R of the “Vipers” of HSM-48 cross decked this week from USS Jason Dunham (DDG-109) while off the East Coast, the first time an MH-60R had landed on an icebreaker. 

Shades of the new Polar Security Cutter, perhaps… 

Looking for a deal on a cheap AK or thousand?

A U.S. Navy destroyer operating as part of the 5th Fleet came across a stateless dhow in international waters and subsequently discovered a few guns.

CENTCOM currently says the source of the AK cache is “unknown”

According to a release from U.S Naval Forces Central Command, the USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) encountered the vessel last Monday and, boarding the inoperable small craft the following day, discovered the weapons hidden under packages. In all, Dunham’s visit, board, search and seizure team cataloged more than 1,000 AK47 pattern rifles, most shown wrapped in plastic sleeves stored inside green bags.

The Kalash were hidden under all this crap

Stateless dhow with RHIBs and Dunham showed for scale.