Ahoy, ashore! Listen up!

| June 27, 2020


The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) transits the Arabian Sea, June 12, 2020.
200612-N-RU084-1110 ARABIAN SEA (June 12, 2020) The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) transits the Arabian Sea, June 12, 2020. Ike is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and Pacific Ocean through the western Indian Ocean and three critical chokepoints to the free flow of global commerce. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Aaron Bewkes/Released)
The guided-missile cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56) transits the Arabian Sea, May 20, 2020.
200520-N-RU084-1084 ARABIAN SEA (May 20, 2020) The guided-missile cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56) transits the Arabian Sea, May 20, 2020. San Jacinto is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Aaron Bewkes/Released)

Two US Navy ships are attempting to set a new at-sea record, thanks to the CV-19 outbreak that has made it near impossible to come into port on their current deployment.

From Carrier Strike Group TEN Public Affairs:

ARABIAN SEA (NNS) — As of June 25, 2020, the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (Ike) and its escort ship, the guided-missile cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56), have been continuously at sea for 161 days, setting a new record for the U.S. Navy.

Both ships departed their homeport of Norfolk, Va., on Jan. 17, for the strike group’s Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) and follow-on deployment to the U.S. 6th and 5th Fleet areas of operation.

Although Naval History and Heritage Command does not specifically track continuous days underway for naval vessels, it has two modern documented days-at-sea records, both of which are now broken.

In Feb. 2002, the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) operated for 160 days straight in support of post-9/11 response.  And it was again, Ike, who held the record of 152 days consecutively underway during the Iran hostage crisis in 1980.

“Our ships remain undeterred in the face of adversity and this monumental feat will only make our crews and the Navy stronger,” said Capt. Kyle Higgins, Ike’s commanding officer. “I’m so proud of the young men and women I see on the deck plates each and every day. Their dedication to the mission is what makes our Navy the greatest fighting force the world has ever seen.”

Due to the corona virus (COVID-19), Ike and its accompanying strike group ships have remained at sea to minimize the crews’ exposure to the virus.

“In March, I suspended liberty port visits to reduce the chance of spreading and contracting the virus across the Fleet,” said Vice Adm. Jim Malloy, commander U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet, and Combined Maritime.  “Throughout this pandemic, maintaining the Fleet’s warfighting readiness while ensuring the safety and well-being of our Sailors has been my top priority.”

Both Ike and San Jacinto’s crews have maintained mission readiness and effectiveness despite restrictions related to COVID-19.

“San Jacinto and Eisenhower have proven their ability to remain a flexible, adaptable and persistent force while staying on station in the Arabian Sea,” said Capt. Edward Crossman, commanding officer of San Jacinto. “Both crews have been resupplying and refueling, performing repairs and upkeep, and maintaining overall readiness while continuously at sea. The two ships have spent the last five months conducting operations and exercises with foreign partners, other U.S. service branches, and U.S Navy ships in the region.”

The ships also participated in a “rest & reset” period at sea, coming off-station for a short period of time to allow the crew to relax and reenergize with morale events such as swim calls and steel beach picnics.

While all deployments bring challenges, especially ones of record-breaking duration, they also bond Sailors together through shared memories that last a lifetime.

“We’ve made it this far and I’m incredibly proud of the crew for all their hard work,” said Crossman. “The fact of the matter is our work isn’t done. We aren’t headed home yet, and we’re on path to blow the previous record out of the water. The San Jacinto Gunslingers are the most motivated, professional Sailors I have ever served with.”

Ike and San Jacinto remain at sea, deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operation in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and Pacific through the Western Indian Ocean and three critical chokepoints for the free flow of global commerce.

“Ike and San Jacinto, along with the rest of the Ike CSG, have continued to stand the watch in this critical region of the world, conducting routine operations and maintaining constant readiness and I couldn’t be prouder,” said Malloy.

An interesting fact, the first USS San Jacinto was also underway during a yellow fever epidemic during the Civil War. On May 5, 1862, under the orders of President Lincoln, San Jacinto and other union warships bombarded Sewell’s Point, Virginia. On August 1, 1862, it was reported that yellow fever had broken out on the ship, so San Jacinto sailed north, laid anchor, and quarantined for four months. – article


Category: "Your Tax Dollars At Work", Bravo Zulu, Navy

Comments (21)

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  1. 5th/77th FA says:

    BZ Sailors and Sailorettes, all of the other kids are gonna be pea green with envy. Or they may be saying; “better them than me.” As much fun as it is to take a boat ride, I’m sure that after awhile a body wants to walk on solid ground…and have a coldbeer…or get their ashes hauled…or reasons. I know the article stated that they didn’t really keep records of time spent on deployments, but I wonder if the island hopping campaigns of the Pacific Theater during WWII had longer numbers of days at sea?

    In re the name of the San Jacinto, AW1Ed had talked about how hard it was to retire the name of a ship one time. The FIRST San Jacinto, keeled in 1850, named for a River or a Battle, that wasn’t a part of the US when it happened. The closests that came to Naval action was the torrential rain during the mud march and then the Mexican Army’s attempt to fight in Peggy’s Lake. Surprised that name hasn’t been retired to the dust bin of history since it was THE Battle that enabled the land grabbing gringos to steal the Mexican State of Tejas. /s/ Some folks forget or didn’t know that there were a large number of Texians that did not want to be under the thumb of a brutal dictator like Antonio de Lopez de Santa Ana, Juan Seguin and his troopers being in that number. Many of Juan’s friends and relatives died at Bexar and Goliad. But, again, I digress.

    Tanks Ex!

  2. Sapper3307 says:

    Operation Blue Balls?

    • Graybeard says:

      I suspect any female crew members are quite popular right now.

      I just hope everything stays in the boundaries.

      • NHSparky says:

        On the Ike?


      • MustangCryppie says:

        I would immagine that the ladies on the ships would be classified like they were on Midway Island.

        I used to deploy to Midway pretty often for extended periods and a woman could be classified as a “Midway 10” pretty damn easily.

        I don’t even want to imagine how they classified us males!

    • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

      Operation Hairy Palms?

  3. AW1Ed says:

    If some back-up is required, a Tico Class CG brings a metric ass-load of pain, delivered accurately from quite a ways off.

  4. No Channel Fever for this crew.

  5. Roh-Dog says:

    Know some one that knows someone on the Ike. This is has been and is only going to get harder on the families, for which they have my prayers.
    Let us not forget the USS Seawolf with her 8 months submerged and the loss of several of her crew, many by their own hand.

  6. Slow Joe says:

    I always assumed naval deployments were for a minimum of 6 months, since we deploy for up to a year and half in the Army.

    I guess I was wrong.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      I don’t know the length of deployments for Navy ships during WWII, but that was wartime and the ocean is large. This is meant to keep the crew as safe as possible, so the COs are providing as much recreational time as possible.

      I can’t say as I blame the COs of these two ships for being super-cautious, either. I just read a forecast that takes the next episode of severe CV-19 from October 2020 into February 2021.

      • 11B-Mailclerk says:

        Minor point: We have been at war since 2001.

        And as Slow Joe points out, soldiers routinely are deployed far longer than 161 days, and under far more austere conditions.

        • MustangCryppie says:

          I’ll grant you that. Army deployments are pretty austere, but sea duty is no piece of cake. Each has its own special “embrace the suck” aspects.

          I remember sleeping on torpedo skids in the “bomb room” on subs. And when the TMs needed to “move fish”, the CO actually thought it was a solution to have us sleep on the mess decks during chow. Huh?

          Another boat I was on thought that it was cool to just throw mattresses on the deck so the “non-qual pukes” would have a place to sleep.

          I did spend extended periods at sea. 90 days was the max. Particularly on a submarine, things get mighty austere, what with all the food running out and tempers getting mighty thin.

          And just because you’re in homeport doesn’t mean that it’s much fun. I was never PCS’d to a ship, but spent plenty of time TAD to them. The PCS guys used to tell me that getting underway was a relief cause it is just so insane in homeport getting the ship ready for deployment, etc.

          And, as I said, being in homeport doesn’t mean you’re going to be at the pier much. The very first ship I was TAD to was USS Henry B. Wilson, DDG-7. The supe I worked for on the ship told me that when their skipper came on board he told the crew that he intended on making O-6 and if he had to spend his entire command tour underway, he would.

          He kept that promise. They would operate all week out of port, then when the weekend arrived, he moored the ship off shore so they could get underway lickety split. You know, just in case the admirals needed someone for a “special project.” In fact, I came on board for one of those projects.

          He only went into port if he absolutely had to. Yay, what fun!

          And yes, we have been at war since 2001, but a very different war from WW2 for the Navy. The Battle of the Atlantic and the island hopping campaigns of the Pacific guaranteed that the sea services would be strained to the breaking point.

          The War on Terror just isn’t the same. I don’t hear of any USS Yorktowns needing months of repairs after a battle being told they have days to get ready for the next battle.

          The Navy is always an important part of our national strategy, but our current conflict just doesn’t have the maritime component that WW2 had.

          Here is a Navy film on living conditions on a ship in the early 50s. Things have definitely improved, but there are just some things that you can never improve.

          • George V says:

            For my 3rd class Midshipman cruise in the summer of 1970 I was assigned to the USS Joseph P. Kennedy, DD-850.

            I can tell you things were not much different than what’s in this old film! Only thing I noticed was in the berthing compartment there were bunks in what looked like the aisle. But the rest of it looks just the same, right down to showing the night’s movie on the mess deck with a sheet for a projection screen. Or the head which gives full meaning to the term “shared bathroom”

        • NHSparky says:

          First year on my first boat we were deployed or underway for 307 days, and 45 of the remaining days we were in 12 on/12 off shift work, and figure every 3rd day was a duty day where you were either standing watch or doing maintenance for 18-20 hours out of that day.

          And oh yeah, quals. Getting qualified was paramount.

          An average in port week would be 70-80 hours, and around 100 hours per week at sea. No email, no fresh anything, no sunshine, hot racking. Yeah, regular fucking pleasure cruise.

      • MustangCryppie says:

        One time I was shooting the bull with a guy who was USN in the Pacific theater. Now, he can be just as full of crap as anyone else, but he told me that he pretty much spent the entire underway.

        Of course, that doesn’t mean he spent it all underway. I’m sure that they got a chance to feel the ground under their feet on some godforsaken island.

        • MustangCryppie says:

          Instead of “he pretty much spent the entire underway”, of course I meant “he pretty much spent the entire war underway”.

          That “war” being the Big One, WW2.

    • MustangCryppie says:

      I retired in 2005. Deployments were, for all intents and purposes, 6 months during my career and I’m sure that hasn’t changed except that they have gotten longer.

      But that doesn’t mean that a ship will spend its entire deployment time at sea. There will be port calls for various reasons. It just means that you will be away from your home port for 6 months.

      What is happening here is that the ship is “haze gray and underway” without going into port.

      • NHSparky says:

        I bet the 3M coordinators are freaking the fuck out right about now. Especially on the nukes. NR takes a very dim view of deferred or overdue maintenance.

  7. Jim says:

    I recall sometime in the early to mid 80s time frame, battleship USS New Jersey was underway off coast of Long Beach, CA. They received short notice tasking and sailed for Beirut. They were gone from their homeport for close to a year, but do not believe they were underway for 161 days consecutive.

  8. 26Limabeans says:

    The ocean scares me. I grew up swimming in the brown waters
    of Revere Beach in the fifties. It was the horseshoe crabs
    that gave me the willies with those sharpened spikes to step on.
    I was too young to know about the other “crabs” along the boardwalk.

    I think warships are awesome and I have toured a carrier and a sub
    in the same brown waters of Boston Harbor. Even the USS Constitution
    was a sight to behold. It takes a certain kind of person to venture
    far from shore, out of sight and over the horizon. That’s not me.

    Seems to me that ships in port are mere floating targets with
    very limited response available. It happened once.
    I would like to see our fleet deployed everywhere all the time.
    Bless the people that are willing to serve in that environment.