A little blogging fun Posted by: McQ
on Monday, August 04, 2008
The last time I was on a Navy ship it was this one:
I was about 8 or so and we (my two brothers and my mother) were headed to Taiwan in 1956. My dad was with the MAAG there and an advisor to a Nationalist Chinese division. We were joining him for the 2nd and 3rd years of his tour.
The ship is the USS Mann, an old liberty ship carrying a whole bunch of Marines on their way to Okinawa below decks and dependents traveling to various places above. It took us 18 days of sailing to reach Taiwan. At the end of the tour we flew back to the states, which was an adventure unto itself.
Tomorrow I'll board my second Navy ship - the USS Kearsarge. The Kearsarge is a Wasp class amphibious assault ship.
I'll join it in Norfolk VA at the invitation of DoD and as a result of participation in the DoD's Blogger's roundtable. I pay my way up and pay my way back, but transportation between Norfolk and Miami, FL are provided at no direct cost to me (except recouping a few of my tax dollars).
I'm excited about it. It's going to be a nice little adventure. My only regret is I don't have the time to continue with the ship on down to Nicaragua where it will be engaged in a humanitarian mission of which I'll have more to tell you once I find out the details.
The Kearsarge's other than humanitarian role is pretty impressive as well. Here's a good rundown from Wikipedia:
Kearsarge is fully capable of amphibious assault, advance force and special purpose operations, as well as non-combatant evacuation and other humanitarian missions. Since her commissioning, she has performed these missions the world over, including evacuating non-combatants from Freetown, Sierra Leone, on 31 May 1997 and rescuing Air Force Captain Scott O'Grady from Serb-controlled territory in Bosnia on 8 June 1995. Additionally, Kearsarge is fully equipped with state of the art command and control (C&C) systems for flagship command duty, and her medical facilities are second in capability only to the Navy's hospital ships, USNS Comfort and Mercy. These facilities allowed Kearsarge to serve a dual role during the Kosovo War in 1999, as a platform for bombing missions against Serb forces in Operation Allied Force, and as a treatment facility for Albanian refugees in Operation Shining Hope.
In carrying out her mission, Kearsarge not only transports and lands ashore troops, but also tanks, trucks, artillery, and the complete logistic support needed to supply an assault.
The assault support system aboard ship coordinates horizontal and vertical movement of troops, cargo and vehicles. Monorail trains, moving at speeds up to 600 ft/min (3 m/s), transport cargo and supplies from storage and staging areas throughout the ship to a 13,600 ft² (1,300 m²) well deck which opens to the sea through huge gates in the ship's stern. There, the cargo, troops and vehicles are loaded aboard landing craft for transit to the beach. The air cushion landing craft can fly out of the dry well deck, or the well deck can be flooded so conventional landing craft can float out on their way to the beach.
Simultaneously, helicopters are brought from the hangar deck to the flight deck by two deck-edge elevators and loaded with supplies from three massive cargo elevators.
Kearsarge's armament suite includes the NATO Sea Sparrow point defense system for anti-air warfare protection, the Rolling Airframe missile defense systems, 25 mm chain guns and the Phalanx close-in weapon system to counter threats from low-flying aircraft and close-in small craft. Missile decoy launchers augment the anti-ship missile defenses.
Who could turn down a chance to see all of that? And if I can figure out a way to hook a ride on one of those air cushion landing craft I'll take it.
I have no idea, at this time, how much, if any blogging I'll be able to do from the ship. I take off tomorrow and will be back Saturday afternoon. If I can blog from there, I certainly will.
If not, I hope my compatriots here at QandO will pick up the slack, and I'm sure they will.
Anyway, starting tomorrow some different and fun stuff for the week. If possible I'll try to keep you up to date from the ship. If not, I'll catch you up afterward.
The Kearsarge has graced us in NYC with her presence for 2 of our "Fleet Weeks". The family goes out to the Verrazzano Bridge to watch it sail in, while I have sit in my cube at the office... Enjoy McQ!
I served on two Amphibs during my tour in the Navy. Kearsarge is an awesome ship and it’ll be an experience you won’t soon forget. If you do get a ride on an LCAC, well...it’ll take more than a little while to get the grin off of your face.
I was up for a position as a navigator on one of those but my eyesight did me in. Have to be better than 20/100 uncorrected. It worked out in the end though, I did a tour on a PC (Patrol Coastal...we carried SEALs).
Have fun and wave ’Hi’ to Norfolk for me. I’ll be back there tomorrow.
In 1948 my mom, little brother and I boarded the USS Breckenridge for the voyage to Guam. It took a week to get to Honolulu and two more to reach our destination. I remember three things from that trip. First, we had oyster stew every night. Second, the life jackets were way to big for a four year old. Finally, I saw my first really big explosion.
Three days out from Guam, the ship stopped in mid ocean. I think it was a 40 MM anti aircraft mount that started shooting at this black thing floating in the water. Our port was open, so I pushed a suitcase under it so I could watch. I could see the tracers bouncing off the surface. You have probably guessed what I did not know at the time. The target was a mine that had broken loose from its mooring and was presenting a hazard to navigation. When they hit it there was a huge explosion and I fell off the suitcase and hit the deck.
Explosives have fascinated me ever since. 2000 hours in the back seat of an F4 is proof enough.