Landing dock ship USS Germantown (LSD 42) completed her amphibious warfare (AMW) certification June 18 during routine operations off the coast of Japan.
The AMW certification involves 18 separate events including administration and supply, small boat operations, ballasting and de-ballasting, cargo handling, crane operations, and a wide range of amphibious landing craft exercises.
“This amphibious certification is a certification that brings everything together, that says ‘Yes, we can execute these events. We can deliver the Marines and their cargo to a specific place at a specific time,'” said Lt. Michael Castillo, Germantown’s 1st lieutenant.
The final exercise to obtain the AMW certification was a simulated recovery of a stranded, off-cushion, landing craft air cushion (LCAC). During the scenario, Germantown simulated navigating shallow water and challenging seas, creating a situation where the ship would have to continually correct its course and adjust its angle of approach to the downed craft.
Flight deck personnel issued commands to ship’s handlers on the bridge via handheld radios. It was a complex evolution that required immense planning and coordination.
“Everybody on the bridge and the flight deck were working together to maneuver the ship to recover the LCAC,” said Lt. Dwayne Scott, the ship’s boatswain. “The best thing to come out of this exercise was that we were able to conduct training, and there were no casualties to personnel or equipment.”
The certification is a culmination of engineering, operations, deck department, supply, and everyone really coming together to execute the primary mission of amphibious ships, said Castillo.
“At the end of the day, we have another capability that we are more proficient at.”
Germantown is one of three ships operating in the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), the U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed ARG, and certifications such as AMW increase the ARG’s mission capability and readiness.
The Bonhomme Richard ARG is currently operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility and reports to the Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Jeffrey A. Harley, headquartered in White Beach, Okinawa, Japan.
Press Release, June 20, 2013; Image: US Navy