Navy Reservists from units in Florida, Georgia and Texas provided much-needed maintenance assistance to the crew of USS Coronado (LCS 4) from Jan. 31 to Feb. 12, while continuing to complete training that will qualify them to serve with the fleet.
Reservists will play pivotal parts throughout the deployment cycles of littoral combat ships, said Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Galka, the operations officer aboard Coronado.
“Not only are the Reserve elements used in specific missions, but they play a key role in assisting the ship’s force with maintenance,” Galka said. “The integration of the Reserve LCS team allows the core crew of the ship to share the preventative maintenance workload.”
By taking on preventative maintenance duties, Reservists allow a ship’s crew to focus on mission planning and execution, Galka said. In addition, while completing mission-essential maintenance, Reservists will work closely with crew members and become more familiar with LCS-class ships. Finally, the Reservists will hone their maintenance proficiencies and skill sets.
“It’s a win across the board for all entities,” Galka said.
Reservists participating in the recent training included members of the Mine Countermeasures Mission Module unit at Mayport, Fla.; Surface Warfare Mission Module Atlanta; Countermeasures Mission Module Fort Worth, Texas; and Littoral Combat Ship Seaframe Mayport. Many could serve on littoral combat ships that are scheduled to be homeported in Mayport over the next several years.
They want to contribute to the LCS community but must complete the Train to Qualify process first.
“We’re taking this opportunity to stand watches and get our qualifications done,” said Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Stephen Lovinggood, of LSC SUW Atlanta. “For us prior active-duty Sailors, we are getting re-certified in these areas, standing under-instruction (UI) watches and learning as much as possible.
“A lot of the watchstanding, you think you forget,” he said. “Then, once you assume your UI watch, you realize you remember everything. Watchstanding is very important; it’s something that always stays with you.”
Littoral combat ships are innovative surface combatants designed to operate in littoral seas and shallow water to counter mines, submarines and fast-surface-craft threats in coastal regions.
They are designed to be reconfigured for various roles by changing mission modules, including weapons systems, sensors, carried craft and mission crews for anti-submarine warfare, mine countermeasures and surface warfare, with other mission sets forthcoming.
The reconfigurations were envisioned to allow a single littoral combat ship to change roles in a matter of hours at any commercial port, permitting a group of ships to rapidly optimize its effectiveness against a developing threat.
Coronado, an Independence-class LCS, is capable of speeds in excess of 40 knots and can operate in water less than 20 feet deep. It will address a critical capabilities gap in the littorals and conduct the Navy’s mission to enhance maritime security by deterring hostile acts, maintaining a forward presence, projecting power and maintaining sea control.
The third Navy ship to be named after the city of Coronado, Calif., it will be commissioned April 5. Susan Keith will christen the Coronado, just as her mother christened its predecessor in 1996.
Press Release, February 20, 2014, 2014; Image: Wikimedia