Browsing: Amphibious operations

On May 7, 1970, the Beatles released their last single: “The Long and Winding Road.” Last week, the amphibious transport dock Ponce, launched 13 days after the song and commissioned in July 1971, completed its own long journey, coming home for the last time after four decades of service. Those years were filled with significant events. Ponce helped evacuate nearly 300 mostly U.S. and British Westerners from Lebanon during the 1976 civil war, and supported 6th Fleet air strikes on pro-Syrian militia positions in defense of U.S. Marines ashore. It supported military disaster relief in Florida following 1992’s devastating Hurricane…

SURFLANT and the San Antonio wanted to tout what officials are calling a successful second phase of sea trials for the much-troubled ship, so they invited me and five other reporters and photogs to ride out from Rudee’s Inlet in Virginia Beach aboard an 11-meter RHIB Wednesday morning and conduct interviews on board as the amphibious transport dock ship sailed back to Norfolk. The sea state out where San Antonio was steaming was about a 2, a sailor told me. But at the inlet, he said, it was more like a 4 or 5. It made for an interesting 7…

The oft-troubled amphibious transport dock ship San Antonio continues its journey from reclamation project to fleet-ready this week during the second phase of special sea trials following an extended maintenance period. The ship, the first in its class but deployed only once in its five years in the fleet due to widespread mechanical and electrical problems that forced cancellation of this year’s scheduled deployment, passed the first phase of the trials, held from May 17-26. Afterward, commanding officer Cmdr. Thomas Kait gave his ship and crew an “A+” following comprehensive testing of the ship’s propulsion, steering, electrical, navigation and damage…

The much-maligned amphibious transport dock ship San Antonio returned to Norfolk Thursday afternoon after 10 days of sea trials, and commanding officer Cmdr. Thomas Kait seemed like a very happy man during a press availability in his onboard cabin. “I would characterize it as an A-plus,” Kait told reporters. “I don’t know how many times I said `great’ or said, `This is the first time this ship’s done this in two years’.” Kait said crew morale was sky-high, “just knowing that their gear worked. All the hard work they put forth over the past two years. I know there were…

The deputy commander of Fleet Forces Command used his keynote speech at the decommissioning of the amphibious assault ship Nassau in Norfolk March 31 to stump for continued support for the “Gator Navy” and the capability to launch U.S. Marines onto contested shore, arguing that such a capability reduces the need for U.S. bases on foreign shores. Vice Adm. Peter Daly pointed to the Essex Amphibious Ready Group and the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit providing humanitarian assistance and disaster response following the earthquake and tsunami that ravaged northern Japan; the Boxer ARG and 13th MEU being accelerated into the Persian…

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