Skip to comments.Navy Welcomes USS San Diego to the Fleet
Posted on 05/22/2012 11:50:58 AM PDT by moonshot925
SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy commissioned the latest San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego (LPD 22) during a ceremony in San Diego, May 19.
The ship is named for the city of San Diego, principal homeport of the Pacific fleet, and honors the people of "America's Finest City" and its leaders for their continuous support of the military.
The ship will be homeported here. It is the only ship in the Navy homeported in its namesake city. San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders presented the commanding officer of San Diego, Cmdr. Kevin P. Meyers, with the key to the city, saying it was, "in honor of welcoming America's finest ship to America's Finest City."
Adm. Mark Ferguson, vice chief of naval operations, delivered the ceremony's principal address. He said that San Diego and her crew are coming into the Navy at an important time.
"Our expectations for this ship are very high," said Ferguson. "It arrives at a time when nearly half of our ships are underway on a given day; when we are surging forces to the Middle East to deter the threat of aggression; when we are rebalancing our forces to the Pacific; and when we face increasingly complex, and global, security challenges in an uncertain fiscal environment.
"Take a good look at this ship because she will be very busy," said Ferguson. "Her time will be consumed fulfilling the tenets of our Navy. She will focus on warfighting, she will operate forward and she will spend her time being ready. This is our charge to the fleet, and the expectation of our nation that our Navy be ready to answer the call to defend freedom on the seas."
Vice Adm. Richard W. Hunt, commander Naval Surface Forces, said he admired the work the crew put into making this ship a reality.
"Thank you for the dedication, professionalism and perseverance you have displayed over the years as you brought this ship to commissioning," Hunt said. "USS San Diego ... always keep warfighting first. I promise that you will operate forward. I charge you to always be ready. It is demanded by the surface warfare profession and a mandate for a ship with this incredible capability."
The ship's sponsor, Mrs. Linda Winter, wife of former Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter, gave the order to the ship's approximately 377 officers and enlisted personnel to, "man our ship and bring her to life." With that order, the crew began a spirited charge up the brow to take responsibility for the Navy's newest warship. Marines from the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Pendleton, Calif., soon joined the Sailors to man the rails of the ship, as a show of the Navy/Marine Corps team that will serve aboard.
After his ship was manned and brought to life, Meyers told the audience that the San Diego memorabilia donated to the ship by the city, including street signs, was proof that, "the city has open its heart to us and we are truly, truly appreciative."
Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class (SW) Joshua Cuevas said he was proud to be part of the ship's first crew, traditionally known as a "plankowner" because they were present as the ship was being built.
"It took a lot of hard work in building this ship so to be a plankowner is an overwhelming achievement," he said Cuevas, a Miami native.
Cuevas added that having a ship named for San Diego is fitting.
"The city has always supports the Navy and having a ship named for the city of San Diego in San Diego is a way of giving back," he said.
Built by Huntington Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula, Miss., San Diego is 684 feet in length, has an overall beam of 105 feet, a navigational draft of 23 feet, displaces about 24,900 tons and is capable of embarking a landing force of about 800 Marines. Four turbo-charged diesel engines power the ship to sustained speeds in excess of 22 knots.
San Diego is the sixth amphibious transport dock ship in the San Antonio class and the fourth ship to carry the name. Her principal mission is to deploy combat and support elements of Marine Expeditionary Units and Brigades. With the capability of transporting and debarking air cushion or conventional landing craft and augmented by helicopters or MV-22 vertical take-off and landing aircraft, these ships support amphibious assault, special operations, and expeditionary warfare missions. The ship will provide improved warfighting capabilities including an advanced command-and-control suite, increased lift capability, increased vehicle and cargo-carrying capacity, and advanced ship survivability features.
Cool, I had some friends that served on the LPD-8 Dubuque which I just noticed was decommissioned last year. Out with the old and in with the new Gator fleet.
God bless this ship and all those who sail on her.
That’s a good looking ship. As a proud alum of the University of San Diego, I’m very pleased that the Navy has done this.
Stay San Diego classy.
I served on the USS San Diego AFS-6 in the early 70’s.
What does USS SAN DIEGO (LPD-22) have for self-defense? The 16-cell Mk 41 Vertical Launch System is NOT fitted; there are two Mk 46 Mod 1 (30x173 NATO) Bushmaster II guns (range 2,200 yards); two .50 (12.7x99 NATO) machine guns (range 2,000 yards); two Mk 49 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) launchers with 21 shots each (range 8 miles); two Mk 36 SRBOC, 12 barrels each, (Super Rapid Blooming Off-board Chaff and flares). That's all folks. You have a billion dollar, Haze Gray target.
These ships are for non or lightly contested shore-landings only. They are NOT amphibious assault ships. Also the San Antonio class has a ton of major improvements to make it stealthy.
My wife and I are in San Diego visiting her brother and sister-in-law. Yesterday we were going to the USS Midway. San Diego was tied up next to Midway. We were honored to see San Diego making her maiden commissioned voyage. I popped a big hand salute as the tugs led her out.
Like it or not, these ships will be put in harm's way. That means getting closer to shore than 250 miles. This ship is extremely vulnerable the closer to the shoreline it gets.
The LPD-17 class can carry two LCACs or one LCU. The LCACs are designed for over the horizon assaults and are fast, the LCU is a self-propelled tank lighter. It can do over the horizon, but it only has a speed of 10 knots. LCUs are better employed closer to shore. Ditto for the LCAC.
In an age where anti-ship cruise missiles are cheap and can be launched from mobile land launchers, fast attack craft, and aircraft, going close to shore is suicide for a ship this large. Don't put a lot of faith in its supposed “stealthy” characteristics either. Cruise missiles can reach over 100 kilometers [in the larger birds] and carry heavy warheads. [Example: The Chinese C-802 “Saccade” has a range of 180 km, speed of Mach 0.9, and carries a 363 lb. warhead. This bird will ruin your day if it hits you.]
The LPD has to off load via its wet well deck. If it cannot ballast down to flood the well deck or open and close the stern gate, it cannot off load heavy equipment. (It could lift troops in helicopters or MV-22s from its helo deck — but no heavy equipment.)
This multibillion dollar ship cannot defend itself unless it has a carrier battle group to protect it. Carrier groups will be hard pressed in a shooting war and so will the amphibious assault groups that aren't as well protected as the carrier groups. An LPD removed from the group's protective bubble is toast.
I am not impressed by Chinese cruise missiles.
The carrier battle group has a sensor umbrella of 250 miles.
RIM-162 ESSM has the ability to be quad-packed in the Mark 41 VLS. That is 32 ESSMs in a single 8 cell VLS.
There is also the Phalanx CIWS, RAM and electronic jamming.
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