In an article published January 13, the collision, and ultimate sinking, of the Sea Shepard’s Ady Gil was visually documented. You may have thought that the Ady Gil looked like an ultramodern, high-tech hull design. If so, hold on to your handrails and look at the latest United States Navy class of modern war ships.
Advanced technology, unique manning, and a very recognizable tri-hull – at first glance, nearly everything about Independence’s steep angles, high bridge, and aluminum construction appears to be the first of its kind. That impression continues inside, where a spacious mission module bay is reached by stairs instead of shin-banging ladders, and down below, where four water jets compliment two diesel and two gas turbine engines.
In addition to the radical design, the method of manning the ship is different from war ships of the past. The Independence is manned by two rotational crews, “blue” and “gold,” of 40 Sailors each. These crews are further augmented by detachment specialists for each of the mission modules.
On other ships, Sailors from every department help in the kitchen, and the cooks do just that – they cook. On the Independence, there are three cooks who can also shoot a gun, fight a fire, manage systems, and stand anti-terrorism watches. All Sailors aboard have a lot of skills and do lots of multi-tasking.
According to Cmdr. Michael Riley, his best machine-gunner is a culinary specialist; his best emergency medical technician is an electronics technician. Riley said. “We’ve really brought out the best in the Sailors we have on board.”
“It handles like no ship I’ve ever been on,” said Cmdr. Curt Renshaw, who leads the Independence’s Blue crew. “We’re like a long, skinny canoe with outriggers.”
The ship can reach a cruising speed of 45 knots (about 52 mph) in two minutes. Destroyers and frigates top out at roughly 30 knots.
The Independence’s higher speed means its bridge officers must pay extra attention to their surroundings, said Sailors who have driven the vessel.
The USS Independence (LCS 2) will be commissioned Jan. 16 in Mobile, Alabama.
If you have never attended a commissioning ceremony you are missing something special. I recently had the opportunity to witness the commissioning of the USS Wayne E. Meyer, (DDG 108) in Philadelphia. Perhaps it was the fact that I was once in the Navy, or perhaps it was just the energy of the young (and I do mean young) men and women who were directed into service and to “Man the Ship and Bring Her to Life” that day. It was one of the most exciting and emotionally charged events I have personally ever attended.
After all the “political” introductions the “Man the Ship and Bring Her to Life”ceremony starts with a Navy band playing all the appropriate music including “Anchor’s Aweigh.” Then the Commanding Officer calls for “Man the Ship and Bring Her to Life.” The Executive Officer replies, Aye Aye Sir and the entire crew of the ship then literally runs from the stands, up the gangway, going in various directions as they hit the main deck. Some obviously took their battle stations while others gathered side by side, at Parade Rest, on the main deck facing the large crowd of onlookers.
The American flag is hoisted followed closely by the ship’s flag. The Executive officer then announces “The Ship is Manned and Alive Sir” whereby every visible piece of equipment starts moving. The radars begin to spin, the guns begin to rotate back and forth and up and down, satellite communication dishes rotate from side to side and up and down. After confirmation from the Executive Officer to the Commanding Officer that the task has been complete, each Sailor then snaps to attention and salutes the crowd as the ship’s horn sounds an extended prolonged blast.
If you have a chance on Saturday to visit Mobile, Alabama, don’t miss the ceremony.
For more information including information on the ship, crew and a photo gallery, go to: