San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Anchorage (LPD 23) arrived at her homeport of San Diego, April 18, after disembarking Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF), ASEAN, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF).
Anchorage arrived after a vigorous 31 day underway involving a wide assortment of ongoing at-sea training evolutions and hosting the U.S. Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, and other defense ministers from the Association of Southeastern Asian Nations (ASEAN), during part of the ASEAN defense forum.
“We showed the capabilities of the Navy-Marine Corps team in a physical manner,” said Lt. Col. Mark T. Donar, commanding officer, SPMAGTF-ASEAN. “We were able to showcase our equipment and the Navy’s ability to bring our equipment to the forefront.”
Anchorage conducted training in nearly every aspect of Navy readiness including flight deck operations, well deck operations, medical response training, combat systems training, and engineering casualty training. Anchorage also hosted a variety of Sailors from her sister ship, USS Green Bay (LPD 20), and amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) to gain qualifications and train in an at-sea environment.
Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Nicholas Treser, assigned to Green Bay and embarked on Anchorage, led a team of six Sailors as they worked on gaining such qualifications as: underway lookout, helmsman, lee-helmsman, line handler, well deck petty officer-in-charge, and more.
“It was a great training opportunity,” said Treser. “It allows Green Bay to have more flexibility with their watch standing and enhanced the overall qualification level of their deck department.”
Essex Sailors got an opportunity to train on the flight deck, with four receiving landing signalman, enlisted qualifications and three receiving tractor driver qualifications.
The air department was also able to certify approximately 40 pilots and crew from the Marine Corps and Army with their deck landing qualifications, landing and launching Army CH-47 Chinooks, Marine MV-22 Ospreys, CH-53 Super Stallions, AH-1W Super Cobras, and UH-1Y Iroquois helicopters.
“The fact that Marines and Sailors from other ships can combine with our own flight deck crew and crash and salvage teams to work seamlessly makes the whole flight deck training process something to be proud of,” said Yeoman 3rd Class Pedro Samame, assigned to Anchorage’s crash and salvage team. “We all worked together and I feel like it was a total success.”
USS Anchorage (LPD 23) is the seventh San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship. She was built at the Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding site in Avondale, La. She was delivered to the U.S. Navy on Set. 17, 2012 and was commissioned in her namesake city of Anchorage, Alaska on May 4, 2013. She is homeported in San Diego.
Press Release, April 21, 2014; Image: US Navy