Forums / Off Topic / US Naval Deployment Thread

5 years 14 weeks ago, 3:02 PM

Schuyler

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OK, since there is at least some interest I will use this thread for a weekly update of US Naval deployments, specifically the Carrier Strike Groups (CSG) and the Expeditionary Strike groups (ESG). The thread should sink to the bottom of the pile except for update day. This anchor post will serve as an introduction to the issue. Subsequent posts will detail the current deployment status of these groups.

The United States of America controls the world's oceans, period. No other Navy in he world is anywhere close to the USN in size or capability. The Russian fleet is rusting away. The Chinese fleet is growing, but nowhere near the capability of the US. France has one carrier and the British have a couple. None are as large as the typical CVN which is approximately 100,000 tons displacement. Most other navies are effectively 'coast guards' because they are incapable of projecting power.

An ESG is centered around a LHA, which is an amphibious assault ship. It looks like a small aircraft carrier, about half the size of a CVN. It carries several helicopters, Harrier-type VTOL jets, and P-3 a Orion, which is used for radio intercept. There are usually a couple of lighter landing-dock type ships, a cruiser, and a couple of destroyers, plus an attack submarine that comprise the ESG. And, of course, a battalion of Marines as part of an MEU: Marine Expeditionary Unit. They sail in a pattern designed to protect the largest ships from enemy fire and submarines. There are only six ESGs operational at this time. They are designed, of course, to put boots on the ground anywhere anytime. Be advised, however, that though an MEU typically has up to 4 M1A1 battle tanks, that Marines are basically light infantry, not heavy armor.

A CSG is the same sort of thing centered around a CVN (Nuclear powered carrier) with the same kind of escort ship capable of defending the group from both air, water, and underwater attack. The carrier's Air Wing is composed usually of four squadrons of F/A-18 Hornets, plus a complement of support aircraft such as Prowlers (radar jammers), Vikings (anti-submarine), etc. There are currenly eleven CVN's in the US Fleet, though not all are currently deployable because of refits, etc.

BTW, a CVN is VERY fast. Published accounts will allow them 30 knots. Don't you believe it. These suckers put out a rooster tail higher than the flight deck when they get moving. They leave the rest of the fleet far behind if they want to in an emergency.

Subsequent posts will be confined to telling you the current status of both CSG and ESG units. This is not the only deployable kind of group, of course. Destroyers, frigates, and cruisers can sometimes form their own units for specific reasons, but he CSG/ESG is currently the most common and most powerful form the USN uses to project power around the globe. As for the SSBNs. Nobody knows where they are at any given time. That's kind of the point.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke
5 years 14 weeks ago, 3:11 PM

LLE

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is this era's version of AEgis?

"Laugh so hard, that even 'Sorrow' smiles at you. Live life so well, that even 'Death' loves to see you alive". (author unknown) "....would someone please show this poor asshole the way out of town?"....Avram Belinsky, the "Frisco Kid".
5 years 14 weeks ago, 4:53 PM

Schuyler

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Naval Update specifics

This is the 'least-deployed' I've ever seen the USN since I have been following this. The Stennis left Bremerton this week and very likely will relieve the Roosevelt in the Middle East. there is ALWAYS a CSG and an ESG in the Middle East close to Iraq/Iran. If anyone is in Norfolk and could confirm the whereabouts of the Bataan, that would be useful news. Deployments off the US Coasts are usually for training exercises such as qualifying pilots for carrier landings or shakedown cruises after a refit.

CARRIER STRIKE GROUPS:
CVN-65 USS Enterprise - Maintenance at Newport News
CVN-68 USS Nimitz - Homeport at San Diego
CVN-69 USS Eisenhower - Off the US Atlantic Coast
CVN-70 USS Carl Vinson - Maintenance
CVN-71 USS Theodore Roosevelt - In the Middle East
CVN-72 USS Abraham Lincoln - Homeport at Everett, Washington
CVN-73 USS George Washington - Homeport at Yokosuka, Japan
CVN-74 USS John Stennis - Left Bremerton 1/13 for Pacific Tour
CVN-75 USS Harry Truman - Homeport
CVN-76 USS Ronald Reagan - Homeport at San Diego
CVN-77 USS George H.W. Bush - Newport News - just Commissioned
CVN-78 USS Gerald R. Ford - keel laid, commission = 2015?

CV-63 USS Kitty Hawk - just decommissioned in Bremerton
CVN-66 USS America - decommissioned and sunk
CVN-67 USS John F. Kennedy - decommissioned and inactive

EXPEDITIONARY STRIKE GROUPS:
LHD-1 USS Wasp - Off US East Coast
LHD-2 USS Essex - Homeport Sasebo, Japan
LHD-3 USS Kearsage - Homeport Norfolk
LHD-4 USS Boxer - Homeport San Diego
LHD-5 USS Bataan - Unknown. Homeport is Norfolk
LHD-6 USS BonHomme Richard - Homeport San Diego
LHD-7 USS Iwo Jima - Deployed Middle east
LHD-8 USS Makin Island - To be commissioned 10/2009

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke
5 years 14 weeks ago, 4:03 PM

Schuyler

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That system is confined to the Arleigh-Burke class destroyers and, iirc, the Ticonderoga class has a few. However, both the ESG and CSG have at least one Arleigh-Burke class as part of the group, so yes, but it is not actually on the carriers themselves. The weapons that the Aegis system controls (mostly missiles) are not deployed on the carriers, which rely on their protection primarily from the rest of the group. Having said that, none of them are harmless. Even an oiler has teeth.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke
5 years 14 weeks ago, 4:06 PM

samD

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I vote for Schuyler

as Sect of the Navy. I'll bet alot of Admirals don't know where all the carriers, etc are located.

5 years 14 weeks ago, 4:09 PM

LLE

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I worked for the AEgis prime, when the program first was initiated. Have you seen the "Cornfield Cruiser"?

"Laugh so hard, that even 'Sorrow' smiles at you. Live life so well, that even 'Death' loves to see you alive". (author unknown) "....would someone please show this poor asshole the way out of town?"....Avram Belinsky, the "Frisco Kid".
5 years 14 weeks ago, 4:10 PM

samD

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Cornfield Cruiser

that's a '51 Chevy pickup isn't it?

5 years 14 weeks ago, 4:14 PM

Schuyler

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Sorry: 7 ESG's

I said six in my post and now I can't edit it. I haven't figured out exactly where the Bataan is at the moment. But you can see it takes a looooong time to get one ship built, so this is pretty much it for the forseeable future. The Ford was just laid down and will not be operational for six whole years. I've heard mention of an LHD-9, but I can't find that it has been actually approved yet. It is possible the US could re-commission the Kennedy and the Kitty Hawk, but they're both probably destined to become razor blades along with the USS Constellation (Connie) which is sitting in Bremerton right now.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke
5 years 14 weeks ago, 4:18 PM

Schuyler

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Oh, yeah: USS Rancocas

kinda like the LBS Neversail in Orlando. LBS = Land Based Ship. :-)

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke
5 years 14 weeks ago, 4:24 PM

LLE

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was almost in my back yard----well, really about 5 minutes from my home.

"Laugh so hard, that even 'Sorrow' smiles at you. Live life so well, that even 'Death' loves to see you alive". (author unknown) "....would someone please show this poor asshole the way out of town?"....Avram Belinsky, the "Frisco Kid".
5 years 14 weeks ago, 8:40 PM

LLE

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other than the cornfield, itself??

"Laugh so hard, that even 'Sorrow' smiles at you. Live life so well, that even 'Death' loves to see you alive". (author unknown) "....would someone please show this poor asshole the way out of town?"....Avram Belinsky, the "Frisco Kid".
5 years 13 weeks ago, 5:24 PM

Schuyler

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CARRIER STRIKE GROUPS:
CVN-65 USS Enterprise - Maintenance at Newport News
CVN-68 USS Nimitz - Homeport at San Diego
CVN-69 USS Eisenhower - Off the US Atlantic Coast
CVN-70 USS Carl Vinson - Maintenance
CVN-71 USS Theodore Roosevelt - In the Middle East
CVN-72 USS Abraham Lincoln - Homeport at Everett, Washington
CVN-73 USS George Washington - Homeport at Yokosuka, Japan
* CVN-74 USS John Stennis - Near Hawaii on deployment
CVN-75 USS Harry Truman - Homeport
CVN-76 USS Ronald Reagan - Homeport at San Diego
CVN-77 USS George H.W. Bush - Newport News - just Commissioned
CVN-78 USS Gerald R. Ford - keel laid, commission = 2015?

CV-63 USS Kitty Hawk - just decommissioned in Bremerton
CVN-66 USS America - decommissioned and sunk
CVN-67 USS John F. Kennedy - decommissioned and inactive

EXPEDITIONARY STRIKE GROUPS:
* LHA-5 USS Peleliu - Off coast of California
LHD-1 USS Wasp - Off US East Coast
LHD-2 USS Essex - Homeport Sasebo, Japan
LHD-3 USS Kearsage - Homeport Norfolk
* LHD-4 USS Boxer - Near Hawaii on deployment
LHD-5 USS Bataan - Unknown. Homeport is Norfolk
* LHD-6 USS BonHomme Richard - Off coast of california
LHD-7 USS Iwo Jima - Deployed Middle east
LHD-8 USS Makin Island - To be commissioned 10/2009

The USS Stennis, which left Bremerton last week, is nearing Hawaii. The USS Boker is also near Hawaii. I'm pretty sure the Stennis is on its way to the Middle East to relieve the USS Roosevelt. The time frame is about right and they are scheduled to be gone 7 months, which is perfect for a releif operation. The Boxer may be headed there as well to relieve the Iwo Jima, though the Navy is not admitting that. New this week is the USS Peleliu, an ESG homeported out of San Diego, which is off the coast near the Bon Homme Richard conducting training exercises. Everyone else is where they were last week.

An asterisk on the listing denotes a change from last week.

HOWEVER, comma, The USS San Antonio (LPD-18), a new ship (2006) and a Landing Transport Dock, which is often on patrol with an Expeditionary Strike group, is heading the Combined Task Force CTF-151 patrolling the Gulf of Aden for pirates. The Task Force probably has a bunch of destroyers, but I have not found a list of the deployed ships. Purportedly the Iranians have commissioned a cargo vessel to carry 60 tons of rockets and other arms to resupply Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Since Israel conveniently called a cease fire Hamas is, of course, taking advantage of this to re-arm. The Combined task Force includes elements of the (wait for it) Egyptian navy as well as ships from an additional 13 countries. It's mission? "Disrupt, deter, and capture" pirates, i.e.: Anyone left alive after sinking all their ships. The Iranian cargo ship is now its first priority. THIS will be interesting to watch over the next few weeks. I'll post a picture of this strange looking ship in a few minutes.

No, LLE, I don't know what was there before the cornfields.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke
5 years 13 weeks ago, 6:34 PM

LLE

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but after the RCA Missile&Surface Radar plant was built west of the cornfields[1953], research and development started on several major state of the art Radars, including the FPS-16 missile range instrumentation radar, and later the BMEWS Tracking radar, FPS-92. RCA built a prototype of the FPS-92 in that cornfield and expanded the installation so that USAF and RAF troops could train there, prior to and during the Thule, Greenland, Clear, Alaska and Fylingdales, Scotland site construction. This radar installation in the cornfield looked like a gigantic teed up golf ball, and became known as----you guessed it---the Golf Ball. The foundation of the golf ball was used to build the cornfield cruiser, when RCA as the prime AEgis contractor needed a simulator, and later, a training facility for the naval personnel.

"Laugh so hard, that even 'Sorrow' smiles at you. Live life so well, that even 'Death' loves to see you alive". (author unknown) "....would someone please show this poor asshole the way out of town?"....Avram Belinsky, the "Frisco Kid".
5 years 12 weeks ago, 8:11 PM

Schuyler

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US Navy Deployments

CARRIER STRIKE GROUPS:
CVN-65 USS Enterprise - Maintenance at Newport News
CVN-68 USS Nimitz - Homeport at San Diego
CVN-69 USS Eisenhower - Off the US Atlantic Coast
CVN-70 USS Carl Vinson - Maintenance
CVN-71 USS Theodore Roosevelt - In the Middle East
CVN-72 USS Abraham Lincoln - Homeport at Everett, Washington
CVN-73 USS George Washington - Homeport at Yokosuka, Japan
* CVN-74 USS John Stennis - Now near Guam headed West
CVN-75 USS Harry Truman - Homeport
CVN-76 USS Ronald Reagan - Homeport at San Diego
CVN-77 USS George H.W. Bush - Newport News - just Commissioned
CVN-78 USS Gerald R. Ford - keel laid, commission = 2015?

CV-63 USS Kitty Hawk - just decommissioned in Bremerton
CVN-66 USS America - decommissioned and sunk
CVN-67 USS John F. Kennedy - decommissioned and inactive

EXPEDITIONARY STRIKE GROUPS:
LHA-5 USS Peleliu - Off coast of California
LHD-1 USS Wasp - Off US East Coast
LHD-2 USS Essex - Homeport Sasebo, Japan
LHD-3 USS Kearsage - Homeport Norfolk
* LHD-4 USS Boxer - Now near Guam headed West
LHD-5 USS Bataan - Unknown. Homeport is Norfolk
LHD-6 USS BonHomme Richard - Off coast of california
LHD-7 USS Iwo Jima - Deployed Middle east
LHD-8 USS Makin Island - To be commissioned 10/2009

The USS Stennis, which left Bremerton two weeks ago, is now near Guam very close to the ESG headed by USS Boxer. I believe these two groups are headed to the iddle east to relieve the Roosevelt and the Iwo Jima, but no one has actually said this.

Great Brtain has just launched the 'Taurus Deployment' which is a full-fledged Expeditionary Strike Group headed to 'Singapore and back' This will put them conviently near the Middle East and India in the course of their deployment. It includes both a US and a French destroyer, plus a couple of Trafalgar class submarines. The US DDG is USS Mitscher, which is an Arleigh-Burke class Aegis-equipped ship. This is one bad-ass strike group, let me tell you, every bit as powerful as a typical US-based ESG.

Task Force 151, which I mentioned last week, intercepted an Iranian freighter in the Red Sea which was carrying arms to Hamas in hidden compartments. There is a news blackout and there are varying reports. One says the ship is in Egypt; another says the US let it go and it is in Syria. This incident has great potential to escalate tensions in the area.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke
5 years 12 weeks ago, 9:45 PM

Dr.angusmd21

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it is my understanding

that there are NO "true" battleships in active duty. is that true? of the last 6 battleships commissioned IOWA class the IOWA, MISSOURI, WISCONSIN, NEW JERSEY, ILLINOIS AND KENTUCKY. the last two never having been completed this left 4. i like war planes as much as the next guy and watching a warthog do a gun run or a big ground shaker going off after being dropped is awesome. . . but a battleship? 16 inch guns? the sight of Iraqis surrendering to a remote controlled airplane, because they knew that the buzzing of a lil model airplane proceeded the pounding hell these 16 inch guns would deliver. we need to bring back the IOWA and MISSOURI and lob some shells back in there again!! i had a picture one time, i will find it again and post, of the IOWA hitting all her guns at once and you can see in the water it pushes the whole ship sideways. "when firing 2 broadsides per minute, a single IOWA class battleship can put 36,000 pounds of ordnance in the air. This is only matched by a single B-52 Stratofortress. The difference being the IOWA and her sisters can keep it up for hours"

2850 fps
5 years 12 weeks ago, 5:29 PM

Schuyler

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If you are talking the big monsters with 16 inch guns, it's true. they are all out of service. But the definition of 'battleship' in terms of firepower has changed dramatically. Simply put, the old-style battleships, though they make very nice booming sounds, are not as effective as carriers in dropping ordnance on the enemy. A carrier has portable guns that can fly anywhere. A battleship is a relatively stationary shooting platform for 'dumb' shells, no matter how accurately aimed. The carrier doomed the battleship.

In terms of sheer firepower, the designation 'battleship' now belongs to the Arleigh-Burke class destroyers (DDG) and the Ticonderoga class cruisers (CG). The old way of classifying (battle) ships of the line was by number of guns. If you take the same principle of classifying a naval vessel by the number of its most prominent weapons, then the afore mentioned DDG and CG class ships can be classified by the numebr of precision-guided missiles they have.

Here's an article on this issue: http://blog.usni.org/?p=927. And here's probably the most important paragraph in it: "The Arleigh Burke class is more flexible and more capable in the current era of naval warfare than the Iowa class was during any naval era it participated in. The Arleigh Burke class, 62-70 strong, represents greater AAW capability, greater ASW capability, greater land attack capability, and greater ASuW capability than the sum total of all surface ships that make up any other single Navy in the world. We even reconfigured a few of our Burkes to deploy unmanned vehicles for MIW, you know, like the cherry on top. That is before we add ballistic missile defense capability, making this class of battleships not only the master of the seas, but we intend to give the entire battleship class military reach into space."

Defintions: AAW - Anti Air warfare. ASW = Anti ship warfare. ASuW = Anti Submarine Warfare, MIW = Mine Warfare.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke
5 years 12 weeks ago, 3:57 AM

Dr.angusmd21

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while i agree

the Burkes are bristling with weapons to infer that all a REAL battleship had were is "dumb" weapons is wrong. after retrofit for the cold war and the gulf war the "basic" upgrade was
9 × 16-inch / 50 cal. Mark 7 guns
12 × 5-inch / 38 cal. Mark 12 guns
32 × BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles
16 × RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles
4 × 20 mm / 76 cal.Phalanx CIWS
The Iowa-class battleships were among the most heavily armed ships the United States ever put to sea. The main battery of 16-inch (406 mm) guns could hit targets nearly 24 miles (39 km) away with a variety of artillery shells, from standard armor piercing rounds to tactical nuclear charges called "Katies" (from "kt" for kiloton). The secondary battery of 5-inch (127 mm) guns could hit targets nearly 9 miles (14 km) away with solid projectiles or proximity fused shells, and were equally adept in an anti-aircraft role and for damaging smaller ships. When commissioned these battleships carried a wide array of 20 mm and 40 mm anti-aircraft guns, which were gradually replaced with Tomahawk and Harpoon missiles, Phalanx anti-aircraft/anti-missile Gatling gun systems, and electronic warfare suites. By the time the last Iowa-class battleship was decommissioned in 1992 the Iowas had set a new record for battleship weaponry: no other battleship class in history had so many weapons at its disposal for use against an opponent
i know i pulled this off the net. but hey i love these old ships and another thought, to recommission one or two of these monsters would create thousands of new jobs.

2850 fps
5 years 11 weeks ago, 3:21 PM

Schuyler

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which requires money. Would that we had a 600 ship Navy, but that's just not going to happen. Even if you retrofit an Iowa Class with every new weapon we have, it still would not be as efficient as the newer ship. The few remaining battleships (4 only) were built using 19th century technology. They are no different, technically, from the USS Maine from the Spanish American War. The battleship is built as a platform for nine 16 inch guns on 3 turrets. Anything else newer is stuck around these whereever it can fit. The new stuff isn't integrated into the ship as much as it is bolted onto the wooden deck. Much of the additional firepower it does have is devoted to defending itself rather than offensive capability. They are extremely expensive to maintain. If all four were in service it is unlikely more than two of them at once could be deployed.

It's kinda like old Jaguars. Yup, they're pretty cool cars (I had a Mk II), but maintenance on them will kill you and it will spend a lot of time in the shop. A new car, on the other hand, doesn't even need a tune up until 100,000 miles. Same rule applies with 19th century-designed ships.

The Navy no longer has the expertise to man those ships or even keep the 16 inch guns loaded. You would have to re-invent the skills, reconstitute the rates, and re-build the plants to support these ships, and there are only four of them. Plus, their top speed is about half that of a Carrier. They can't keep up with the modern Carrier Strike Group, which can travel much faster than its official rated speed.

We now have 62 Arleigh-Burke class DDGs and 27 Ticonderoga class CGs. Six more Burkes are in the works. They are fast, efficient, and versatile. In effect, they can be in many places at once (because of numbers). They also have the extremely sophisticated Aegis weapons system. The Burkes were built around the Aegis platform the same way the Tridents were built around the Trident missile. You don't just add the Aegis to an existing ship.

I say again: The carriers doomed the battleships. It's a done deal; it's over. The DDG/CG combo took over whatever role the battleships had. The future of the Navy is going to be both in littoral capability and in Expeditionary Strike Groups. The Landing Ship Dock, ugly as sin though it is, will be used more and more as the Navy moves from a blunderbus approach (as typified by the battleship) to a more surgical approach. This reflects the fact the assymetrical warfare is becoming the norm. Large armies of men and artillery do not face off on a field any longer. The littoral component extends the Navy's reach into shallower waters where the big ships cannot go. That is the direction the US Navy is now headed.

The bottom line is this: Retrofitting an Iowa Class battleship for modern Naval warfare would be like retrofitting a propeller-driven airplane with jet engines. It's easier and cheaper to start over.

They are lovely, though. No doubt about that.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke
5 years 10 weeks ago, 6:23 PM

Schuyler

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US Navy Deployments

CARRIER STRIKE GROUPS:
CVN-65 USS Enterprise - Maintenance at Newport News
CVN-68 USS Nimitz - Homeport at San Diego
CVN-69 USS Eisenhower - Off the US Atlantic Coast
CVN-70 USS Carl Vinson - Maintenance
CVN-71 USS Theodore Roosevelt - In the Middle East
CVN-72 USS Abraham Lincoln - Homeport at Everett, Washington
CVN-73 USS George Washington - Homeport at Yokosuka, Japan
CVN-74 USS John Stennis - Now near Guam headed West
CVN-75 USS Harry Truman - Homeport
CVN-76 USS Ronald Reagan - Homeport at San Diego
CVN-77 USS George H.W. Bush - Newport News - just Commissioned
CVN-78 USS Gerald R. Ford - keel laid, commission = 2015?

CV-63 USS Kitty Hawk - just decommissioned in Bremerton
CVN-66 USS America - decommissioned and sunk
CVN-67 USS John F. Kennedy - decommissioned and inactive

EXPEDITIONARY STRIKE GROUPS:
LHA-5 USS Peleliu - Off coast of California
LHD-1 USS Wasp - Off US East Coast
LHD-2 USS Essex - Homeport Sasebo, Japan
LHD-3 USS Kearsage - Homeport Norfolk
LHD-4 USS Boxer - Now near Guam headed West
LHD-5 USS Bataan - Unknown. Homeport is Norfolk
LHD-6 USS BonHomme Richard - Off coast of california
LHD-7 USS Iwo Jima - Deployed Middle east
LHD-8 USS Makin Island - To be commissioned 10/2009

There are no new developments in the Strike Groups this week. Everyone is pretty much where they were last week. There are usually some near-off coast deployments that I won't detail. These are usually just shake-down cruises or qualification runs rather than a "real" deployment.

However, we did have the USS Port Royal (CG-73), our newest Ticonderoga class guided missle cruiser, go aground at Pearl Harbor this week. This billion dollar baby is stuck big time on a sand bar within full view of the commercial airport. Efforts to release it today were not successful. There's a pretty good write up about it here: http://blog.usni.org/?p=1150. Boy, would I hate to be the skipper of this ship. The investigation continues, but my guess is that he's toast. I'll put a picture of the cruiser up in a minute.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke
5 years 10 weeks ago, 6:27 PM

samD

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in your bathtub? Good job, probably better than the Dept of th Navy does...

5 years 10 weeks ago, 6:42 PM

Schuyler

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and the F-18's would bounce off the tiles anyway. I'm on an RSS feed for some naval blogs and subscribe to a couple of intel reports, keep up at the Navy Times, that sort of thing. I was in long time ago--didn't do well, I'm afraid. My Moon Unit completed six years in--very proud of her. I also worked 30 years in Bremerton, Kitsap County, home of Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and the Carl Vinson, among others. I worked at Bangor on Trident subs (the boomers) for awhile, too. So it's just a personal interest.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke
5 years 7 weeks ago, 6:23 PM

Schuyler

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Navy is in motion

After several months of very little activity, we have some. First, I was wrong about the USS Stennis. It's hanging out near the coast of China along with The ESD Essex. I thought Stennis was headed to the Middle East. Instead we have a significant force off the coast of china, which I would think is somewhat provocative. the Chinese fleet has also been on the move lately and I suspect this is to show them we know what they are up to. bear in mind that the George Washington is forward deployed in Japan, so we actually have two carriers in the far east right now, either one of which could get to the Middle East in a few days.

It's the Eisenhower that is headed to the Middle east, which left the East Coast last week and is now in the Med along with the Iwo Jima. These two Strike Groups just happen to be close to Israel. It may be this is just a changing of the guard, but four strike groups within striking distance of Iraq, Iran, and Israel is a whole lot of firepower in one place at one time. Also, the USS Nimitz is out and about in the Pacific reportedly for a six month tour. We now have four carriers armed and deployed along with four Expeditionary Strike Groups (lots of Marines and helicopters capable of amphibious landings.)

I'm not sounding an alarm here, but if the Nimitz heads toward the Middle East, then something's up.

CARRIER STRIKE GROUPS:
CVN-65 USS Enterprise - Maintenance at Newport News
* CVN-68 USS Nimitz - Underway in W. Pacific - 6 months
* CVN-69 USS Eisenhower - In the Med, will relieve Roosevelt
CVN-70 USS Carl Vinson - Maintenance
CVN-71 USS Theodore Roosevelt - In the Middle East
CVN-72 USS Abraham Lincoln - Homeport at Everett, Washington
CVN-73 USS George Washington - Homeport at Yokosuka, Japan
* CVN-74 USS John Stennis - Off the coast of China close to USS Essex
CVN-75 USS Harry Truman - Homeport
CVN-76 USS Ronald Reagan - Homeport at San Diego
CVN-77 USS George H.W. Bush - Newport News - just Commissioned
CVN-78 USS Gerald R. Ford - keel laid, commission = 2015?

CV-63 USS Kitty Hawk - just decommissioned in Bremerton
CVN-66 USS America - decommissioned and sunk
CVN-67 USS John F. Kennedy - decommissioned and inactive

EXPEDITIONARY STRIKE GROUPS:
LHA-5 USS Peleliu - Unknown whereabouts, prob. Calif.
LHD-1 USS Wasp - Off US East Coast
* LHD-2 USS Essex - Off coast of china with the Stennis
LHD-3 USS Kearsage - Homeport Norfolk
* LHD-4 USS Boxer - Now near Iraq/Iran
LHD-5 USS Bataan - Unknown. Homeport is Norfolk
LHD-6 USS BonHomme Richard - Off coast of california
* LHD-7 USS Iwo Jima - Now in the Med
LHD-8 USS Makin Island - To be commissioned 10/2009

* means recent activity this week.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke

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