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Category Archives: Expeditionary

Remembering the Battle of Midway

By Rear Adm. Roy Kelley

Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic

If time travel were possible, it would be interesting to go back and watch the Battle of Midway unfold. Sitting in the radio room, I could listen to pilots give updates on the position of the Japanese fleet. Then I would make my way to the flight deck and stand in awe watching Navy Avengers and Wildcats launch and recover. How amazing it would be to see and hear firsthand the actions of brave Sailors who literally reshaped history and the world as we know it today.

As a member of the Naval Air Force Atlantic team, the Battle of Midway is especially close to my heart because of the incredible impact it had on the Navy, Naval aviation and the evolution of how we conduct war from the sea.

Battle of Midway, June 1942. Torpedo Squadron Six (VT-6) TBD-1 aircraft are prepared for launching on USS Enterprise (CV-6) at about 0730-0740 , June 4, 1942.Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

From 1942 to 2019, over the course of 77 years, many aspects of naval warfare have evolvedbut some things remain resolute. During World War II, the aircraft carrier and its embarked air wing replaced the battleship as the most powerful naval offensive weapons system; that tide has not shifted.

It is amazing to see aircraft carriers are just as strategically vital to our nation’s defense now as then. While the concept of launching and recovering aircraft at sea has remained the same, the capability and lethality of our flattops has changed enormously.

The carriers at Midway were 820 feet long and dependent on oilers for fuel. Modern carriers are nearly 1,100 feet long and run on nuclear power. They can remain at sea for 25 years before needing to refuel.

As for our aircraft, the evolution is striking. Modern jets and helicopters have an increased lethality and can conduct a much wider range of missions, to include anti-submarine warfare, intelligence gathering, search and rescue, precision strike, offensive and defensive counter-air and many others.

One area where you would find little difference, however, is the quality of our men and women serving in uniform. From the Revolutionary War through the Battle of Midway to our ships deployed around the world today, our Sailors transcend time, passing pride, patriotism and professionalism from one generation to the next.

Those serving today are a direct reflection of the Sailors that stood on the bridge, worked on the flight decks and sat in the cockpit of aircraft taking off from USS Yorktown, USS Enterprise and USS Hornet in June 1942. I have no doubt that just like their predecessors, these dedicated and extremely bright men and women will lead the next “greatest generation.”

In 1942, our Navy was the only thing standing between freedom and tyranny. And ironically, today we are facing similar global threats around the world.

 

GULF OF ALASKA (May 25, 2019) The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) transits the Gulf of Alaska. Theodore Roosevelt is conducting routine operations in the Eastern Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Erick A. Parsons/Released)

Our fleet of 11 aircraft carriers have traveled millions of miles across the world’s oceans to fight our adversaries, deter aggression and ensure international waters remain free. Our current adversaries may be flying a different flag than those in 1942, but their intent to restrict access and intimidate other nations on the high seas is something we have seen before.

The aircraft carrier proved its worth at Midway. And today and for decades to come, our Nimitz- and Ford-class carriers will remain the backbone of the fleet.

Three U.S. Navy aircraft carriers at Midway turned the tide of the war in the Pacific. Today, at this moment, we have four carriers at sea: Lincoln, Reagan, Truman and Eisenhower. Each is manned by our nation’s best, prepared to take the fight to our enemies and ensure tyranny remains far from our shores.

For those who served at the Battle of Midway, we thank you for stepping forward to defend our great nation. For those who gave their lives during this historic engagement, your sacrifice was not in vain and will forever be rememberedespecially by your shipmates in Naval aviation.

https://navylive.dodlive.mil/2019/06/07/remembering-the-battle-of-midway/ jbell

BALTOPS 2019 Focuses on Partnership, Presence, Professionals

Exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS), the premier maritime-focused exercise in the Baltic Region, takes place in the Baltic Sea June 9-21. Ground, maritime, and air forces from participating nations will work together to exercise air defense, maritime interdiction, anti-subsurface warfare, mine countermeasures, and amphibious operations in order to strengthen the development of our joint leaders and teams across all layers of the battlespace.

BALTOPS 2019, scheduled to include air, maritime, and ground assets from 18 nations, is an annual exercise. It provides a unique training opportunity designed to foster and sustain cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s interconnected oceans. Designed to improve training value for participants to enhance flexibility and interoperability, BALTOPS gives allied and partner forces a chance to demonstrate resolve in defending the Baltic Sea region.

“U.S. 2nd Fleet will be leading the exercise, but make no mistake, it will be founded on NATO and partner principles,” said Vice Adm. Andrew “Woody” Lewis, commander, U. S. 2nd Fleet. “Through BALTOPS 2019 and exercises like it, we strengthen our relationships and improve overall coordination and interoperability between allies and partners during both peace and times of conflict.”

 

BALTOPS 2019 will start June 9 with ship tours and an opening media event in Klaipeda, Lithuania.

Follow this blog for stories, videos and images.

U.S. 2nd Fleet Declares Initial Operational Capability (29 May 2019)

U.S. 2nd Fleet to Lead BALTOPS 2019 (2 April 2019)

BALTOPS 2019 Planning Conference Commences in Poland (8 Dec. 2019)

https://navylive.dodlive.mil/2019/06/03/baltops-2019-focuses-on-partnership-presence-professionals/ U.S. Navy

BALTOPS 2019 Focuses on Partnership, Presence, Professionals

Exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS), the premier maritime-focused exercise in the Baltic Region, takes place in the Baltic Sea June 9-21. Ground, maritime, and air forces from participating nations will work together to exercise air defense, maritime interdiction, anti-subsurface warfare, mine countermeasures, and amphibious operations in order to strengthen the development of our joint leaders and teams across all layers of the battlespace.

BALTOPS 2019, scheduled to include air, maritime, and ground assets from 18 nations, is an annual exercise. It provides a unique training opportunity designed to foster and sustain cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s interconnected oceans. Designed to improve training value for participants to enhance flexibility and interoperability, BALTOPS gives allied and partner forces a chance to demonstrate resolve in defending the Baltic Sea region.

“U.S. 2nd Fleet will be leading the exercise, but make no mistake, it will be founded on NATO and partner principles,” said Vice Adm. Andrew “Woody” Lewis, commander, U. S. 2nd Fleet. “Through BALTOPS 2019 and exercises like it, we strengthen our relationships and improve overall coordination and interoperability between allies and partners during both peace and times of conflict.”

 

BALTOPS 2019 will start June 9 with ship tours and an opening media event in Klaipeda, Lithuania.

Follow this blog for stories, videos and images.

U.S. 2nd Fleet Declares Initial Operational Capability (29 May 2019)

U.S. 2nd Fleet to Lead BALTOPS 2019 (2 April 2019)

BALTOPS 2019 Planning Conference Commences in Poland (8 Dec. 2019)

https://navylive.dodlive.mil/2019/06/03/baltops-2019-focuses-on-partnership-presence-professionals/ U.S. Navy

The Navy’s Expeditionary Sea Base, Strengthening Naval Power at Sea

By Captain Henry Stevens
Strategic and Theater Sealift Program Manager (PMS 385), Program Executive Office (PEO), Ships

During last week’s Expeditionary Warfare Conference in Norfolk, I discussed the versatility and impressive capabilities that the Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) platform will bring to our Sailors and Marines in the Fleet. USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB 3), the first of the ESBs, recently completed Initial Operating Test & Evaluation (IOT&E), bringing the Navy one step closer to augmenting its fleet with the enhanced capabilities of this platform.

USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB 3) employs a flight deck for helicopter operations. T-ESB 3 is able to carry four MH-53E helicopters or five Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit Military Vans and still have room to maneuver and store other equipment.
USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB 3) employs a flight deck for helicopter operations. T-ESB 3 is able to carry four MH-53E helicopters or five Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit Military Vans and still have room to maneuver and store other equipment.

 

For those of you unfamiliar with the shipbuilding process, many first-of-class Post Delivery Test and Trials milestones and IOT&E must be completed prior to handing a ship over to the Fleet. Over the past 10 months, the Navy’s first-of-class Expeditionary Sea Base USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB 3) has demonstrated exceptional capabilities and inherent flexibility in a series of in-port and at-sea events at Naval Operating Base Norfolk, Va., and the Virginia Capes Operating Area.

These events included:

  • A demonstration of the Underway Replenishment Fueling at Sea system
  • Launch and recovery of a 7m and 11m Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB)
  • Several cybersecurity-related events
USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB 3) demonstrates that the ship can launch and recover the AN/SPU-1W Magnetic Orange Pipe minesweeping system.
USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB 3) demonstrates that the ship can launch and recover the AN/SPU-1W Magnetic Orange Pipe minesweeping system.

Throughout the course of Post Delivery Test and Trials, T-ESB 3 also conducted various airborne mine countermeasures simulated missions, which included launch and recovery of:

The test period concluded in August with a final event required for all new construction ships to complete Initial Operational Test and Evaluation. The test, led by Commander, Operational Test and Evaluation Force Rear Adm. Paul Sohl and observed by the director, Operational Test and Evaluation, was designed to demonstrate the ship’s full operational capabilities and determine the operational effectiveness and suitability of the platform. The ship will now prepare for a Post Shakedown Availability, follow-on crew training, and testing of additional capabilities installed to support Special Operations Forces, which will take place through the spring of 2017.

 

The ESB is optimized to support a variety of maritime-based missions and is designed around four core capabilities: aviation facilities, berthing, equipment staging support, and command and control assets.  ESBs can also be enhanced to meet Special Operation Force missions through increased communications, aviation and unmanned aircraft system support.

USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB 3) demonstrates the Vertical Replenishment with two aircraft: MH-53E and MH-60S.
USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB 3) demonstrates the Vertical Replenishment with two aircraft: MH-53E and MH-60S.

 

The ship has an aviation hangar and flight deck that includes four operating spots capable of landing MH-53E equivalent helicopters, as well as accommodations, work spaces, and ordnance storage for embarked force, enhanced command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence capabilities to support embarked force mission planning and execution, and reconfigurable mission deck area to store embarked force equipment to include mine sleds, rigid hull inflatable boats, and the Combatant Craft Assault.

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2016/10/17/the-navys-expeditionary-sea-base-strengthening-naval-power-at-sea/ U.S. Navy

Interoperability Enhances Adaptability in Amphibious Operations

By Capt. Homer Denius
Commander, Amphibious Squadron 3

Amphibious warfare is a complex set of capabilities shared between the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps that projects an adaptable and versatile force from the sea. During every Rim of the Pacific exercise, these capabilities are practiced and then tested with our partners throughout the Pacific. RIMPAC 2016 has been no exception. This year, we have not only practiced and honed our skills with our partners, but also increased amphibious interoperability through a series of landing craft exchanges during real-world scenarios.

PACIFIC OCEAN (July 21, 2016) Fleet replenishment oiler USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204), Royal Australian Navy Canberra-class amphibious ship HMAS Canberra (L02) and amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) conduct and underway replenishment at Rim of the Pacific 2016 (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joseph M. Buliavac/Released)

PACIFIC OCEAN (July 21, 2016) Fleet replenishment oiler USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204), Royal Australian Navy Canberra-class amphibious ship HMAS Canberra (L02) and amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) conduct and underway replenishment at Rim of the Pacific 2016 (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joseph M. Buliavac/Released)

 

Typically, an amphibious squadron will be responsible for three ships that make up an amphibious ready group. These three ships –normally an amphibious assault ship, dock landing ship and amphibious transport dock – each bring unique capabilities that complement each other and also provide flexibility in case we need to separate the amphibious ready group ships for special mission requirements. During RIMPAC, we not only are conducting the movement, logistics and daily operations of the U.S. ships, USS America (LHA 6) and USS San Diego (LPD 22), but the third ship of the amphibious ready group includes the Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Canberra (LHD 02). These three ships operate as a combined task group and are able to project forces ashore, combining complex aviation and surface ship-to-shore operations. Within these operations, surface craft from San Diego and aircraft from America have operated on board Canberra, while Canberra’s helicopters and boats have operated aboard San Diego and America.

PACIFIC OCEAN (July 19, 2016) A Royal Australian Navy LHD Landing Craft embarks in the well deck of amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego (LPD 22) during Rim of the Pacific 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joseph M. Buliavac/Released)

PACIFIC OCEAN (July 19, 2016) A Royal Australian Navy LHD Landing Craft embarks in the well deck of amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego (LPD 22) during Rim of the Pacific 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joseph M. Buliavac/Released)

The unique interoperability events between San Diego and Canberra have been a highlight of the exercise. Navy landing craft air cushions and Marine Corps amphibious assault vehicles have operated flawlessly from the Canberra’s well deck, while Australia’s assault boats entered and exited San Diego’s well deck like clockwork. All of these operations occurred while MV-22 Ospreys, CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters and MH-60 Sea Hawk helicopters conducted their first landings aboard Canberra. This proof of interoperability expands both the United States’ and Australia’s capabilities, which opens several new opportunities to deter simulated threats and adversaries during the “War At Sea” exercise.

RIMPAC 2016 brings 26 nations together to train in a fast-paced maritime environment and provides exceptional training for U.S. and partner forces. Whether it’s Marines going ashore or destroyers working alongside amphibious ships, RIMPAC collectively demonstrates the importance of adapting to an evolving environment, the increased capability amphibious forces bring to that environment, and how to best capitalize on the resources provided by the amphibious force. It has been an exceptional experience working with the many nations of RIMPAC. It is a unique opportunity to significantly expand our interoperability and thus our capability in amphibious warfare.

Editor’s note: For more information on RIMPAC 2016, visit the following links:

Be a part of the conversation on social media using #RIMPAC and #PacificPartners.

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2016/07/27/interoperability-enhances-adaptability-in-amphibious-operations/ U.S. Navy