Life at sea with the ‘Ghetto Navy’

Life at sea with the ‘Ghetto Navy’

The life of a frigate sailor in the U.S. Navy doesn’t look much like what you see in the recruiting commercials.

As described by Navy Times’ senior writer Mark D. Faram, the crew of the frigate USS Elrod struggles constantly with breakdowns, old equipment and the limitations of a ship deliberately left out of combat relevance in the 21st century.

Plus sailors’ accommodations are cramped. Their clothes come back damp and wrinkled from the central laundry. Sometimes they shower without hot water for weeks.


The frigates, in short, are the self-described “Ghetto Navy,” the part of the surface force that makes the rest of the surface force — which has had its own maintenance, training and readiness problems — look good. But in the true spirit of the service, the crew has to look on the bright side. Everyone, starting with the ships’ chiefs, treats her or his time aboard as an experience that, as Calvin’s father might have put it, “builds character.”

Wrote Faram:

“That’s what frigate sailors do,” said Senior Chief Gunner’s Mate (SW/AW) Asa Worcester, the ship’s command senior chief. “That’s not a bitch, that’s a fact that we live with every day ‘cause the mission still has to get done.” This is Worcester’s second tour on Elrod and third on a frigate. He made chief onboard Elrod and is proud to be back as the ship’s top enlisted sailor.“I feel there’s something special about these ships and the type of sailor it produces,” he said. “Grow up in this environment and you’ll be a better sailor for it — our sailors don’t just survive, they thrive.

That sentiment is echoed up and down the ranks. Life is tough onboard the 453-foot-long, 45-foot-wide ship. The gear is old and has a tendency to break. But still, Worcester said, the mission gets done because of the crew.

“We’ve got old machinery that doesn’t always work. In fact, we still have electronic gear in here that uses vacuum tubes. You know how hard that is to fix?” [GSMC (SW) James] Richards said. Even worse, he said, is the lack of spare parts. Many of the companies that provided the gear in the 1970s and 1980s are now out of business, causing Elrod and the other frigates to scrounge for parts and often make their own.

 “And that’s where our sailors benefit,” Richards said. “Sailors learn their jobs best by doing them, by tearing down gear and rebuilding it — and this is a real hands-on environment for them to learn.”

Nothing accelerates your life makes you a global force for good like scrounging parts for obsolete equipment so your ship can pull into a sleepy port to show the local coast guardsmen how to pull-start an outboard motor. Ah, but not to worry — the figs may not be long for this world, but soon the much-discussed littoral combat ships — which are not frigates! except when they are! — are on their way to take over. Right?

Explained Faram:

Many of the 30 “figs” that have been discarded by the fleet are now serving in the Bahraini, Egyptian, Pakistani, Polish and Turkish navies. The remaining 21 are likely headed for the same fate in the coming years as the Navy places its faith in the smaller, faster littoral combat ship to perform traditional frigate missions.

Three were put down this fiscal year and six will go in 2013. Seven will depart in 2014 and 2015. The remaining three will go at a slower pace, with two leaving in 2017 and the last, the Ingraham, in 2019. The problem is the frigates are going away faster than the Navy can build the LCS to replace them. That delay has caused many observers to call on the Navy to cover the gap by extending the life of the remaining frigates, but officials are sticking to the schedule, saying the ships are too worn-out to make it worthwhile.

There will be 31 fewer ships to do the same number of missions in 2015 than there were in 2009,” retired Navy Capt. Rick Hoffman, who commanded the frigate DeWert and later the cruiser Hue City, wrote in a 2009 paper. “Decommissioning the FFGs prior to LCS arriving in the fleet in sufficient numbers to cover the mission set seems to introduce significant risk.” The end result, he said, will be the Navy doesn’t have the ships to cover the missions they’re doing today, and some things will have to give. Officials have hinted that counter-drug and nation-building work in Central and South America will be one of those things.

Which revives our longtime question about whether those missions were ever that important, or whether they were just make-work for a class of ships the Navy had already decided to put out to pasture.

At any rate, the Navy is stuck. There’s nothing to be done. The frigates are too old and fatigued to preserve any longer; LCS is too far behind to come online at the rates the Navy would need to fill the gap. Eventually, the brass expects to field at least 55 LCSes — though Norman Polmar has bet you a whole dollar that won’t happen — but in the meantime, commanders have no choice but to squeeze all the good they can from the “Ghetto Navy.”

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And that is why I will try as hard as possible to not be on a Frigate.

One of the main missions of the Navy is what they call “presence,” or in more common language, “showing the flag” around the world. The Navy is as much a diplomatic tool as it is a war-fighting tool, it always has been, dating back to 1800. 31 fewer ships IS going to handicap that mission.

Let me guess, just like the USAF diverted vital maintenance funds from the F-15 and F-16 fleets to fund the F-22 and F-35 (resulting in a number of accidents a few years ago among the F-15s), I bet the Navy did the same thing here. The FFG-7s should have been modernized a decade ago. Heck, step back a decade, the Spruances should never have been decommissioned so early.

When your job is to sail the seas reinforcing—and sometimes enforcing—US foreign policy, you have to have hulls in the water. It’s a big ocean.

The FFG-7s are warships; neither version of the LCS is a proper warship. It bears repeating:
the LCS is NOT a warship.

Its better to have less warships than to put our people at risk on the LCS; the only quality that thing has is that it would make a good target. It can’t fight back, modules or no modules.

Build more DDG 51s until the someone in OPNAV and NAVSEA figures out the threats and how to respond. The LCS appears to be a legacy of “From The Sea”. Where are we now…oh, yes, Air-Sea Battle. Is the Navy up to the mental gymnastics, spinning, and obfuscation to try to make the case that the LCS is an “integral” part to the execution of this (latest) “bold” and “visionary” strategy? I dread the answer.…

Someone dust off the “Maritime Strategy”; it looks like we’ll have a peer or near peer in a decade to contend with.

What a mess, I served on one these ships when they still had their manhood aka its Mk 13 Launcher, where it actually do something. These underarmed FF(G-less)s are sad state of our navy, they should been replaced with actual frigates that could be maintained easier then these. The Perry Class should be warning sign ot the Navy; If you don’t maintain some means of building parts for your older ships, your going end up with embarrassment and arguablely very vulnerable warship in harms way. They need slightly better balance between high-tech weaponry and lowtech upkeep. I hope those sailors don’t have to pay the price of this unspoken problem.

“Nothing makes you a global force for good like scrounging parts for obsolete equipment so your ship can pull into a sleepy port to show the local coast guardsmen how to pull-start an outboard motor.”

Of course we want to modernize but the writer TOTALLY missed the Chief’s point falling victim to the cheap temptation to be “cute” at the chief’s expense but only succeeding in demonstrating a lack of understanding of the service. Austere conditions actually do build character. Improvising, inventing and hard work to get the mission done are excellent attributes we want to nourish in our servicemen. Otherwise good points from the Beltway but definitely out of touch with service.

Geoffry Woods hit it on the head. With the BIG brass trying to find every Penney to save LCS they chose to scrap maintenance on none aircraft carrier ships to save money/ Same thin happened in the late 60s till the USS Scorpion disaster forced them to change. Overall this will get worse as the budget fight is ground to a stalemate on Capital Hill and sequestration hits next winter. Overall maintenance should take 1st place for safety. Numerous programs like ICC and GCV can be scrapped to save Billions to maintain key ships and planes to make them safe not only for crew but for everyone around them as well.

Looks like a few Lock-Mart employees gave you some thumbs down… ;-)

Lcs can do more but till under this crap of obama budget crunch.. Hopefully with 10 or more lcs’s around we will learn how to fightvwith them..

The US Navy deliberately chose to let these assets deteriorate, including emasculating them by chopping off topside parts of her GMLS MK 13, while the Royal Australian Navy spent a ton of money to turn their six “figs” into modern combat platforms with upgraded FCS MK 92 with SM-2s in their upgraded GMLS MK 13, with and with ESSMs in added VLS MK 41. We could have followed their model. Before planning the demise of the “figs”, the US Navy delibrately scuttled all but one relatively young SPRUANCE-class DD-963. The sole survivor is the ex-PAUL F. FOSTER (DD-964) serving as the Self Defense Test Ship under the direction of NAVSEA Port Hueneme with a contract crew. She is now completing a major overhaul at a yard in Oregon. The demise of the “figs” and 963s is probably a downpayment on the questionable two-design LCS not intended to go in harm’s way.

Im sorry thats not possible the brace has already stated that LCS will not be put into harms way.…so no combat.

We should give the navy what it needs. They are the country’s primary security.

Let’s continue having defense contractors design our ships. Isn’t that going well?

“Hope” does not constitute a plan.

The Navy are the only ones pushing for the LCS.….. They want to retire the figs, this is exactly what they want. Is it what they need? No but I dont trust D.C. to force them to build a new boat anymore than I trust that the LCS is going to work.

Tube-based electronics? You could replace five cubic yards of that unrepairable trash (understand-it used to be the best, but 1970 is a long time ago) with a couple of cubic feet of solid-state stuff– and maybe a bunch of VLMs. Oh, sorry, we can’t do things like that in this country anymore. I may be wrong, but didn’t they used to do re-engines on fleet subs in WWII?

And yeah, there just isn’t anything like having a guy who could care less, designing a vessel a guy who COULD HAVE designed it has to ride. Based on the way the LCS’s turned out, it sounds like a post of Sea Scouts could have done a better job of both design and construction.

And Austal employees…

This is a never ending game the brass plays to cover thier butts. The FFG’s made the rest of the fleet look obsolete in thier early days(smaller — faster– equal firepower– less operational cost) so new DD’s and cruisers had to be purchased and funding moved from the FFG’s and weapons removed as well. Same thing happened to the 637 class SSN’s, they were better built — had far less maintenance issues and better dependability — had under ice capability — better crew accomadations and such over the new 688’s, so as this became better known funding was moved from the 37’s to the 88’s and the retirement accelerated on the 37 boats. Then the I class 88’s took funds from first flight 88’s, then seawolf took over even hitting Trident sub budgets and now the VA class is getting the bulk of funding in subs hurting upkeep of the remaining sub fleet. This new shortfall will show its teeth and funding will come foward for new ships as always, possibly the Bently Marine trihull FFG and carriers that is now the design rage at NAVSEA along with thier 70knt ballistic hull corvett.

To all you anti FFG-7 folks who wish to knock down this platform .. if you’ve never ridden one don’t complain about it .. I rode one for 4 years they were a major improvement over Knox class FF’s and Brooke Class FFG’s.
We did Blue Water and Littoral combat ops .. the LM2500 was an adequate power plant .. wasn’t crazy obout the 76mm pea shooter but rest of weps systems were adequate and the 76mm is better than that little 57mm they are putting on the LCS . quite frankly I’d take a fleet of FFG-7’s and wipe out a armada of LCS’s

I must insist you define a “proper warship”… the LCS, besides the Oliver Hazard Perry class, is also replacing the Avenger class mine counterwarfare ships (which the Navy classifies as a warship despite being wooden hulled and having only two .50cal machineguns) and the Osprey class coastal minehunter. So while the LCS isn’t a frigate, its certainly more ship than those last two. The Navy’s primary means of defining something a warship, has more to do with the likely level of risk and engagement the ship will see not its armor, survivability, or offensive capability. __I’m not going to say LCS is the right choice but buying destroyers to replace frigates and mine counter warfare ships isn’t either. At the estimated price for the next batch of DDG51s to be built ($1.8B/ship, Flight IIA being 2 ships for $3.8B) you can build 6–7 LCS per DDG. That means those who insist on DDG51 insist on building about 15 ships instead of 55, but the important part is that at that juncture you’d still NEED anti-submarine and anti-mine capabilities. The blind insistence on DDG51s is misguided. The fleet composition is like a Swiss army knife, do you want more blades or do you want a toothpick, a can opener, and a fork?

While LCS might not be as impressive in size between the number of LCS and its faster speed potentially puts it in more place than existing number of frigates,

The sad reality is that, like all great empires, the US will have to experience a humbling, embarassing defeat at the hands of a technologically primitive enemy, in order to bring public opinion to a place where we demand that the politicians and military leadership design and build defense platforms primarily suited to the modern threat environment and security requirement, as opposed to allowing additional taxpayer funding to support a congressman/defense contractor’s retirement package.____In an austere budget environment, defense funding must be allocated judiciously. The short term savings identified in the consolidation of the defense industrial base in favor of contractor driven specifications and proprietary technology become yet another ballooning expense that materializes in future fiscal years as those entities dissolve, leaving the Sailor to scramble to find solutions to meet the persistent demands of their mission, and the military leadership to settle for the ‘compromise’ solution with the lowest up front contractual cost, regardless of degredation of functionality or lifecycle cost.

That’s missing the point of the LCS… which would additionally provide counters to mines while providing a cheaper alternative to dealing with assymetric threats.

I think the FFG-7 has its place as does the frigate class, in general, but LCS has more in common to a corvette so saying an FFG-7 could take out LCSs is as silly as pointing out that DDG51s could take out FFG-7s. Both instances litterally outclass the other ship.

FFG-7 is being retired largely because the primaryily carried missile it carried was retired. LCS, will never be retired for that reason because the modularity of its design that’s driven its cost, allows its weapons and surface warfare modules to be replaced in hours or days not several months.

Jeff, comparing the LCS with the OSPREY and AVENGER as the baseline is wide of the mark in my (very humble) opinion. No one pretended that these were substitutes for a frigate; they were special purpose vessels. Rather than pointing out that an LCS “out guns” an AVENGER, it might be more worthwhile to compare the LCS with the order of battle of potential adversaries and see how it stacks up? I have said this before, but what I fear is that in an “asset constrained” situation, some fleet commander in the not too distant future may be persuaded to use one of these under armed and under manned vessels in lieu of a FFG or DDG (for naval presence, interdiction, recon, whatever). I’m old enough to remember PUEBLO. Short of war there wasn’t much we could do back then. What would happen to this thing if it were isolated from proper adult supervision and surrounded by NOKOR or Iranian patrol boats/helos? Surrender or go down with 9mm pistols blazing? Either alternative would have catastrophic political consequences.

In my opinion, it is NOT a proper warship. It can’t defend itself from serious air or surface attacks. Given its small complement, I doubt they could man more than one effective damage control team. The CNO recently said it would not be placed in harm’s way. What on earth is it good for? We might have found some utility for this thing in the 80s as we were building up to a 600 ship navy, but today more than ever every unit counts. Unfortunately, the LCS doesn’t count for much.

UH, any weapon system can be upgraded, been done on ships and subs for decades. Also arguing about the non existant modular weapon suite of the LCS is mute, flat out does not even exist — let alone the validity of it in actual operation after years of trying to come up with one and most of the produced corvetts out thier right now and patrol craft can out perform and out gun an LCS, Heck a SPECWAR MK5 would lay waste to an LCS in no time with its better firepower and speed. Also want to point out that FFG’s have been fitted with mine gear in the past and unlike an LCS were multirole platforms 24/7 not needing to run back to port for various scenario modular equipping, which makes the FFG more cost effective. LCS is flat out garbage from the get go due to its modularity scheme, all combatants should be 24/7 fighters.

OK shipmates help me out here in bringing some of these folks up to speed on the NAVY. You can forget about all the hooha that the LCS will never be put in harms way — every ship in the fleet including transports, oilers and cargo ships go into harms way, If it floats and belongs to the USN it will be used if it is in the right place at the wrong time. Cyclone class (the 1st littoral attempt) went into harms way doing ops in the gulf and it is 1/2 the size of an LCS. Any ship out there can do mine ops for modern mines — most of the mines today are sizemic and not contact meaning it does not matter what your hull is made of because its the size of your ships wake that will trigger them, ROV’s are the best way to find them other than running a torpedo type devise at high speed and wake through the water to detonate them. CONTINUED BELOW

CONTINUED FROM ABOVE: There are not many WWII spike mines out there anymore. A true littoral or any type of combat ships needs to be responsive to anything 24/7 and can be built with whats on the shelf currently and updated later. Forget about old school designation of ships — we have the ability to build ships right now the size of a frigate, nuclear powered so it is self sufficient with more firepower than a cruiser and DDGcombined with 24/7 combat situation adaptability and smaller crews to run them. Let the blue shirts and chiefs design the boats — not officers and contractors.

with it’s “tele-transportation module” alongside it “Oiler/supply ship module”

I hear that the “friken lazer” module will be completed soon-I can’t wait

next up is the “Pepsi verses Coke” module, you know we have to have both in the fleet, we can’t choose just one crappy soda

This is why the US Navy is making a huge mistake in the LCS crap. If the US Navy wanted a corvette, they should have listened to European navies that operate corvettes and learn the lessons from them. As for the LCS, they really, really need to kill the LCS and switch to the US Coast Guard’s National security cutter and build a Frigate based on the NSC hull.

As much as I like the LCS I gotta disagree. As big as the oceans are.. Even a ship doing 60+knots all the time can’t compensate for more ships. It may have the capabilities to perform multiple objectives at once but you have to think Strategic.

The LCS is Tactical. The name of the Navy game is to cover more ocean more often. The only way to do it is to have more ships.

“At the estimated price for the next batch of DDG51s to be built ($1.8B/ship, Flight IIA being 2 ships for $3.8B) you can build 6–7 LCS per DDG.”

Let’s look at the facts Jeff, well keep this analysis simple by just looking at weapons

you buy (7) LCS and you have:

7 x 57mm guns

you buy one Burke you have:

1 × 5-inch (127-mm)/62 Mk-45 mod 4 gun
1 × 20 mm Phalanx CIWS
2 × 25 mm M242 Bushmaster cannons
2 × Mark 32 triple torpedo tubes
96 cell Mk 41 VLS with a mix of:
* BGM-109 Tomahawk
* RIM-66M Standard medium range SAM
* RIM-161 Standard Ballistic missile defense missile for Aegis BMD
* RIM-162 ESSM SAM
* RUM-139 Vertical Launch ASROC
* RIM-174A Standard ERAM

so Jeff are you telling everyone here that buying seven LCS in place of a Burke is a wise and smart move?

To quote a Soviet tank general during the Cold War, “quantity has a quality all its own.” While I do not disagree with that statement, or your statement, I have to point out that today’s ships are much more capable than the ships during WWII or Vietnam. The truth, like anything, lies somewhere in the middle of the two arguments.

Don’t tell Robert Work, he’ll blow a gasket telling you how wrong you are.

You know, I’ll bet all the money in my pocket that in five years, you’ll see Mr. Work on the board of Lockheed-Martin. Any takers on that bet?

The NSC was a disaster and still is. Did you read the budget blow out from that ship’s Deepwater program? That ship is not a frigate, no matter what the shipyard/contractors says or what addition weapon systems they can add to it. The NSC has serious structural issues and won’t survive real combat. It was built on commerical civilan vessel standards to lower costs, but their there doubts they could handle stress of rough oceans storms. Northrop Grumman offered them as a Patrol Frigates, to suppliment the LCS classes. If they want an actual frigate to suppliment the LCS type, revive older one and update it the Cost & Development too much for them.

One step better, go to Europe and buy the design rights to build a Frigate in America

AMEN BROTHER!

The FFGs were lousy ships when new, and they have only gotten worse as they age. When the last one is stricken from the Fleet rolls, few will mourn their passing. The fact that they were better than their predecessors and DEs before that does not make up for the fact that they were built as missile sponges, not intended to be survivable, and their design reflects their expendable nature. My former son-in-law served as a JO aboard one of these ships, and I was shocked at the lack of redundancy and glaring deficiencies in damage control if the ship suffered a midships missile or bomb strike.

The Russians still produce vacuum tubes. There is a strong market for glass audio sound systems.

Think that you might be overlooking the survivability of the Clark and the Roberts. When armed and dangerous they were more than adequate when compared to the other (Real) “Small Boys” in the fleet.

I have two Battle “E’s” from the Clifton Sprague!

Those ships look pretty darn useless.

We need fleets of ships gathering up plastic and other waste and either recycling or reusing the waste somehow.

Now you know what the Navy SHOULD be doing.

Why don’t you tell me what the useless Navy is ACTUALLY doing with those useless looking ships.

Are you transporting people from coastal disaster areas to safety? It does not look like there is much room on those to hols many survivors. The hell are you morons even doing with yourselves out there?

SDTS ? Self Defense Test Ship ? the one at Port Who Needs Me ? I thought that USS PAUL FOSTER was now part of the set of the TV series, NCIS ???? Am I wrong ??

I believe several of the comments made here highlight a critical point about military hardware replacement, rather than updating current platforms. When the problem is component obsolescence, rather than basic design problems (stealth vs non-stealth), there are viable engineering solutions that are both effective and economical. As a member of a sister service I am not qualified to judge the strategic value of this particular platform, but if it remains a viable component of the Navy’s task forces it would certainly be prudent to do engineering upgrades on obsolete electronics and mechanical systems, rather than starting from the water up to produce a less capable replacement vessel.

The whol LSC concept makes about as much sense as the F-111 joint fighter did in the 60’s. You’d think that he brain thrust at the puzze palace would figure it out by now. it’s like the idea of chasing Somila pirates with large warships. When you should be using something like WW2 PT boats ( the Japs, not PC I know, called them Devil Boats for a reason ).

Why does it seem that the Federal Government throws out the baby with the bath water? We have people at the ISS but shut down the space shuttle without a replacement and therefore no way to get there in an emergency. Now we see FFG’s retired with no replacements to shoulder the load. Is this a case of no common sence? Is this a case of very bad management? Is this a case of inability to properly plan? Who is running the country? God help us!

Majkowski, they’re big enough to transport a boat load of Somali pirates to justice.

You all are better off than we were ol the old WW II cans!

Listen to Chief Worcester — “Grow up in this environment and you’ll be a better sailor for it — our sailors don’t just survive, they thrive.” He’s been there and knows what he’s talking about. If you would like a nice smooth ride and would like to salute a lot of brass a hundred times a day, try a carrier. If you want to be with the real sailors in the real navy catch a frigate. After duty on a couple of frigates you can hold your head high for the rest of your career no matter where it takes you. If FFGes are too big and luxurious for you, try a Fletcher Class Destroyer on for size. Oh, sorry you missed out, there aren’t any in commission any more.

Back in yje ninetys the graybacks in government who did the procurement using Milspecs were replaced by college kids. These kids hired their own kind with big ideas and no common sense about how to build or procure equipment or even maintain it. This led to the current mess where the government tells contractors what they envision and let the contractors do the rest.

But these ships were also tough little suckers… Two ships took major combat damage and survived. The U.S.S. Stark took two exocets strikes. And I think it was the Samuel B Roberts (not sure if that is the right ship) that had its ass end blown off by a mine.

Both survived and continued to serve. The crew and training are what ultimately saved both ships… but the ship itself stayed afloat long enough to give the crew time.

Kinda like being an Army Infantryman

The people in charge of the navy need to set down and come up with a program where in so many years a ship goes in to the yard for a refit, then so many years later it goes into the they yard for a complete over haul from stem to stern. Set a time limit on how long the service of the ship can be maintained in good combat working order after that date scrap it and move the crew to it replacement. Take some of the money that the great one is using for his and his wife’s vacation trip and build some new ships. In other words come up with the money for new ships

Mike, if you want to be a real SAILOR,try an Adams Class Destroyers in the 80’s. Talk about getting parts for obsolete equipment.…give me a break. Some of the parts in storerooms were had manufacture dates in the 1940’s. I wish I could have had a cold shower underway.…..that beats no showers.

Pretty sad state of affairs since the SWO community has been running the Navy for several years. They’ve certainly gotten more than their fair share of officers promoted to Admiral, yet the Fleet is in a sad state. The FFGs haven’t been maintained and now suck and the LCS program is a huge failure. Let’s promote more SWO Naval Academy idiots to 4-Star so they can continue to drive the Fleet into the crapper.

Seems to me we had a similar situation when the admirals couldn’t play well together back in the “old days”. We owned a nice squdron of nuclear powered “Cruisers”, actually they were DLG’s, that would be in service yet today had the two who controlled nuclear surface ships and the Ageis Weapons system not threw a tantrum and refuse to ‘play together’. So the whole flock of DLG’s went to mothballs and the nuclear ones to the scrapper. Damned capable ships too, a real handful for the Soviets back then. Even the “MacNamera’s Nightmare” fleet of single screw DE’s and “Frigates” like the Knox and Garcia’s were better ships that the Perry’s and the Perry’s are/were alot more that the Littorals they’re building now. Those ships are expendable as are their crews. Sort of like WWII PT Boats.….

Interesting, still have it 100% better than an infantryman, I could only imagine how much whining would increase if the sailors had to actually ensure real austere environments

Hey, the Coast Guard would love to pick these vessels up — we’d make them into well oiled machines…it’s what we do best — Do with what we have available and best of all — we complain half as much.

Wow, I grew up on the Robert G. Bradley (FFG 49) I defected to the Army a few years back ( stupid move on my part )and had no clue the figs were being “replaced”. I didn’t care about all the repairs that had to be done, it was my job. The lack repair parts for certain equipment just made things interesting. GSMCS Morrison and GSM1 Tandarich always drilled the old saying “Adapt, improvise and overcome” into me everyday. I felt like I earned my paycheck being on board a fig. If I ever had the chance to go back to the Navy I would jump all over it and I would fight to stay on a fig until the last one was gone.

FFG 49
Power To Prevail

The LCS would fit right in with the NSC, same pop gun main armament, but only 2/3 the size. Someone mentioned the Fletcher class (WWII Fletcher?). Similar size to the LCS, but with more armament, bigger crew. How is the LCS going to fight with only 40. Oh yeah, 75 with mission specialists. The problem with mission specialists is are they crew or just visiting? Sometimes “mission specialist don’t fit in with the crew. And even if they do, how are 75 folks going to fight the ship, do damage control and stand watches?

My husband is serving on this ship. Yes it has broken down and then there are days with no communication. This ship doesn’t even have pay phones to use on the ship like the bigger ships do. I must say I am happy he has gotten to experience a Frigate even though it maybe tough at times. He will only come out as a stronger sailor and leader.

SWO’s [1110] are the Navy’s version of the USA Infantry Officer (11A). BTW, in my younger day I served on a RESFOR MSO [Minesweeper] which had lower priority than today’s FFG (-). We recruited our reserve crew with the likes of “shade tree” diesel mechanics and NAVSEA GS’s / USNR PO1’s who were able to turn a backwater bucket into a fully capable classic “Wooden Ship”. We even made the cover of Surface Warfare in ’92. FFG sailors wonders never cease if the will is there. Will = Creative Leadership.

I rode an FFG for 4 years from its commisioning, cold war era, Those remember the new guys wet behind the ears architects designed them and forgot about why you do not have 1 long continuous superstructer. Go to the North sea in the winter and they cracked open about 4 inches in the center, then they had the update to “fix” the issue but it moved to the edges of the fix.
It was the best command I was ever attached to and did its job of getting there and showing the flag.

try living on mine sweeper…talk about cramped quarters 4 toilets for 85 people…

I spent my 4 years on Perry Class except for about 6 months on BB-63. We never seemed to get any respect, BUT, we always seemed to fulfill “the mission”

Yes the larger ships are stronger and have the facilities that the Perrys lacked, but I am proud to have served in the “Ghetto Navy” (never heard that exact term before, huh.…)

As a Frigate sailor, I held the line in the western Pacific during the Libyan “Line of Death”, I stood up to the Soviet Navy as they made a move on the Philippians, I found an “unfindable” Soviet sub. I followed the USS Ranger as we evaded the Soviet Air Force to make a mock attack on Vladivostok (through a Typhoon no less).

So don’t tell me we did not have what it took. Yes the old gals have been neglected, de-fanged and where not the most powerful of ships, but we had spirit. We relied on our other strengths to fulfill the missions given us.

Oh ya… that OTHER ship I was on (the Mighty Mo) I am sure we would have left great destruction during the “tanker wars ” in the 80’s but we where put back on our leash… It is not always the tool, but how it is used.

USS Lewis B Puller
USS Curts
Oh ya… BB-63

But thats my point is 55 LCS at 40 knots beats 19 FFG-7s at 29 knots on ocean coverage.

Both FFG-7 and LCS have comporable ranges between refueling, so I don’t think you know what you’re talking about. 55 LCS at 40 knots can cover more ocean than the 19 FFG-7s. The issue presented by Geoffery is one of distribution, and more speedy shift will factually have greater distribution.

if you babies would wipe the tears so you could see what you are doing and do your jobs the ship could run.The ship is a reflection of it‘s people . If you drive thru a ghetto you can still see a house with good paint and cut grass . It‘s a matter of pride. SO GET OFF YOUR BUTTS AND DO SOMETHING.

No in fact I explicitly said “I’m not going to say LCS is the right choice but buying destroyers to replace frigates and mine counter warfare ships isn’t either.” The driving factor for purchasing the LCS is more its modular support role and not its surface warfare role. What I’m saying is that in the absence of LCS, the Navy wouldn’t buy a frigate or even a destroyer… they’d be buying something for special forces and they’d be buying mine counter warfare ships first before even considering a larger ship. What the Navy is doing would kinda be the equivalent of saying they wanted to replace Bradley FV and Humvees with a single vehicle, and you’re proposing they buy Abram tanks.

The Navy perspective is that the mine countermeasure mission and the assymetrical warfare are drivers for the hull size. Even with the surface warfare module it doesn’t come close to either FFG or DDG. You have to judge the LCS by the merits of its intended use, using it for something else, though likely may also just be stupid. My point with the Osprey and Avenger is just to say that if 50% of why the LCS exists is a role where it doesn’t need a gun, it shouldn’t be regarded as deficient solely for that. The failure of the LCS is that they marketed it as a FFG alternative with out any qualifiers, while the only role of the FFG that the LCS is fully responsible for taking over is its submarine counter warfare role. The Navy simply defines a warship as a ship that’s intended to fight other ships, but if LCS is only intended for fighting submarines and small riverine sized craft does need to be as robust?-No.

The word is “moot”. Upgrading isn’t the same as modularity; upgrading means taking the ship out of active service for months while systems are removed and replace at a more significant cost; modularity means the ship can continue active service while components are changed out. FFG was killed because it couldn’t be upgraded any further at an economical cost, LCS can continue to adapt as long as power sockets and cargo containers remain the same. If we assume your arguement were valid would invalidate any weapon system yet to be invented; that is nothing new should ever be devised. The same arguements were made by the Navy of aircraft carriers and submarines and while I don’t believe LCS is even close to being prolific it has its merits. Half the ships LCS is replacing are wooden ships with only a pair of .50cal machine guns. You approach LCS as a step down from FFGs but its designed as a step up from the Osprey and Avenger. I do not insist the the LCS is a frigate or even a combatant, I support LCS on the grounds that it is a support ship that carries a more significant armament.

Why not?-The idea of the LCS is to be something that flexible.

The main difference between the US and Europeans is that with their fewer ships they’re more dependent on their corvettes which they do try to use in the role of a frigate. For the US we have enough bigger ships we really don’t need to worry about that as much and are predominantly using them in support and specialized roles. The NSC has many more problems than the LCS, the NSC has been found to have such serious design flaws that, beside being just as vulnerable as the LCS, the expected service life on the Coast Guards NSC has been reduced to 10 years. NSC without any changes or special equipment is 40% more costly than the LCS.

LCS does all the jobs no other ship in the fleet wants to do.

All four of my ships were older than 20 years when I reported aboard. The first was the Forrest Sherman which was the first DD built after WWII. Cockroaches, AC problems, no hot water, and the list goes on. FFGs are cruise liners compared to my old ships.

The Chief has a point. The military environment is so dependent on technology to do the work and thinking that people who can do more than push buttons and recite what is on a screen will be in high demand when it all starts to fail. I mean it all works great when it works but you have to wonder if our potential enemies aren’t thinking in terms of defeating us by defeating GPS for example. Imagine if you took that one capability away from us, just that one, by zapping a stupid satellite sitting all alone out in space? Just cause a break up — think high EMF — in signal and all those networked ships, planes, tanks, etc., etc. Oops, what do we do next folks? Folks? Hello…anyone there. Shee-it, I can’t get Facebook. Our tech dependant generation of war fighters will definitely need extra ayholes. Remember, and you can check this out on the web if you don’t know it, a person has two thumbs, one ayhole — what will they sit on when the buttons and screens don’t work?

The Fletcher my dad was on (USS William D. Porter (DD579) is in about 12,000 ft of water just northwest of Okinawa. Picket station 12. Damn nip kamikaze. If you want a good story, read about this ship.

Hell, put them in wooden ships with sails. That’ll make real “men” of them. Unbelievable! The richest nation on the face of the earth and we have f’ing ships using vacuum tubes.

Jeff, if nothing else, look at it in terms of “return on investment”. Quite true that a DDG 51 is much more expensive than an LCS, and rightly so since its many, many times more capable. It’s capabilities, offensive and defensive, run the gamut: air-sea-ASW, and (arguably) space in the ABM role. History teaches that we can’t always “shape the battlefield” and conflict has a tendency to occur when we least expect it. As I noted in my example, buying these very expensive and horrendously under armed ships in quantities will likely force an under resourced fleet commander to consider using them in a role intended for a real combatant since that’s all he/she may have to work with. A hostile foreign power with an axe to grind, like North Korea or Iran, might just seize the opportunity to stick the knife in and give it a good twist. The ensuing 24 hour news coverage world wide would be horrendous. The last time I looked, the price of an LCS was well north of $400 million per. If anyone believes the party line of “costs will come down as we buy future units in quantity” then they’ll also believe that the lame duck session of Congress is going to solve the nation’s budget woes. Frankly, neither is going to happen–at least not in this universe.

These are momentous issues of life-death/win-lose. I simply do not understand what the Navy leadership is doing by investing so much political capital and national treasure in a woefully unsatisfactory platform. Its a mistake that has been allowed to flourish through wishful thinking, bureaucratic inertia, politics, and the lack of media focus such as what was brought to bear on the Congressional insider trading loop hole.

ROI? With the investment in a DDG51 we get a real warship that can defend itself. With the LCS, we get a liability.

Don’t the dill dos, aka “dildos”, who write the filtering software know the difference between c-o-c-k and c-o-c-kroaches?
Maybe you should have tried caulkroaches? This screening nonsense is stooo-pid.

d-i-l-d-o-s.

I served on the USS Mitscher DL-2, in the very early 60’s. Being young and ignorant, I thought it was a beautiful ship, and still do. The Sixth Fleet CO often sent us into Med. ports alone because the ship looked so impressive. Only caveat I have was the enormous Radar antennae above the bridge. Made the ship very top-heavy and really rolled in a storm. This was vacuum-tube days and the dawn of the tranistor. The design was easy to live with, larger than the DD’s, approx. the size of a Lt. Cruiser. First ship and good memories.

We only have our Congress and the White house to thank for this type of obsolescence. The $500 billion reduction in defense spending doesn’t allow room for new ships. Instead the government reduces the number of people in the military and freezing their pay raises to .5% for 2 years and 1.5% for the 4 years after that. The government then has the money it needs to increase the number of entitlement programs along with Federal employee pat raises and increases in staffing. It isn’t just the Navy getting the short end of the stick, but also our fellow services. The government expects us to do a lot more with nothing. I guess asking for bows and arrows as our primary defense weapon system is out of the quresrtion. Think twice when you go to the polls in 2012.

And who signed the pledge to reduce government spending and taxes? You dinosaurs are getting old. Thats right, dinosaurs couldn’t adapt so they went extinct. Having said that, not happy with the state of the Navy, but don’t belive it is all Obama’s fault. My pension got cut by Reagan, so the GOP is not all our friends either.

LCS piece of crap, commercial high speed ships are more versatile. Just as fast and more efficient. They lost the bubble when they killed the Raytheon offering. Best bet is to build more DDGs and use the DDG 1000 systems in those.

I served on a Sumner Class DD in 1970 when it was already 26 years old. I can relate. Tight quarters, frequent breakdowns, etc. But what a learning experience. I concur heartily with SCGM Worcester’s comments.

I loved my time on a frigate. FFG 36 USS Underwood. Sadly she’s being sold to France next year :(. I agree w/ Aurora above LCS’s are not warships, Frigates are. How can you make a “War Ship” from aluminum. We had numerous issues with old equipment (60’s tech on an 80’s ship) But nevertheless it was an amazing experience. The life on a Frigate is like no other, we didn’t get the modern fancy tools. These new ships are all electronic, what happens when the power goes out, at least on a FFG you can still drive it, might be by hand or by wrech at a steering gear. However I do agree w/ others the Navy needs to get it’s act together they’re making major mistakes like decomming ships and this crazy PTS program they have, kicking perfectly good sailors out that want to be there and keeping the ones that have nowhere else to go.

Big issue is the brass is stuck in the past while trying to employ new tech and ideals at the same time, still going on right now with nex gen dd’d and cg’s when a new class designation for a new full time multi role ship shiould be the focus. A ship does not have to be 600 foot long and weigh tons to be a powerhouse. You also open up a lot of space doing away with ward rooms — officer state rooms — officers mess — chiefs mess — goat lockers– lpo berthing– class rooms and such (one ship, one crew right??). A nuclear powered 300 to 350 foot long 40 foot wide ship with below waterline torpedo tubes for MK48ADCAP/UGM109/ ROV’s/mines, multiple (at least 4) MK32 surface torpedo tubes, VLS, 5″ main battery guns, searam, multiple MK48 mod3 launchers, mk38 automated cannons, and so on, with mine detection, ASW, and drone launch capability would be ready for anything at any time. You also do not need helos on every ship in the NAVY, its just stupid to give up that much room to have a helo or two on board when they are already on the support ships.

As I said you didn’t ride it your son in law did and zero’s are not the best answer for how ships operate / perform, the chiefs and blue shirts know the ships better. Sure the FFG7 was missile bait, but guess what so are the modern day DDG’s & CG’s . once they expend there missile loads trying to shoot down incoming bandits they become missile bait so the CVN doesn’t get hit .. and modern day CG’s/DDG’s cost a heck of a lot more than an FFG.

Yo Mike don’t forget the Ghering class, served on USS Rich (DD 820) USS Hank (DD 702) USS Harold J. Ellison (DD 864) also the J. Douglas Blackwood (DE 219). AHHHHHHHHHHHHH the 5in 38, torpedoes, 40mm cannon;s, hedge hogs, depth charges, FRAM I & II’s. HTC (SW) USN/RET

I would rather have the US Navy go with two options to replace the LCS program. The first one is to go with a modified Patrol frigate out of the US Coast Guard’s National security cutter. In the same way they did with the Spruance class and Tico’s. The other is to go to Europe and by the rights for the Fridtjof Nansen class frigate,Álvaro de Bazán class frigate,Brandenburg class frigate and the Sachsen class frigate.

If the US Navy is dead set on a corvette, they should have gotten involve with the German Navy and gotten in on the Braunschweig class corvette. The other option would have been to go with the Knud Rasmussen class patrol vessel,Holland class offshore patrol vessels or the Kedah class offshore patrol vessel. The other is to revive the Israeli’s Sa’ar 5-class corvette and maybe build a version of the Sa’ar 5-class corvette.

Just another sign. Much like what so many of us went through in the Clinton years of the 90’s.
The administration began CUTTING OFF OUR NOSE TO SPITE OUR FACE..by allowing ships to degrade while cutting the strength of the crews by early-out’s, early retiree’s, and just general PAY OFFS that so many experienced people took.
It’s happening again, and our Military force is being degraded…one person at a time, based on nothing more than POLITICS.

What happen to the comshaw artist. That is the only way we servived during Nam. If supply didnt have it you stole it.

and we are forecasting how much to Karzai for his ‘army’???? Most of it no doubt will end up
in his private account somewhere.….……
BILLIONS that need redirection to what WE obviously NEED

I was only on 1 new ship in 25 years of service, DE1071 Badger. I rode a fleet minesweep, a Burke class DE, and Charles F. Adams DDG2. I look back on years of sleeping in non air conditioned berthing, no ships store, no laundry, or any other services. It’s not fun, and I hope the Navy will in the future take better care of its sailors. I saw a lot of good sailors leave the service because of living and working conditions.

keep the old faithful’s running— they do build character officers and the enlisted crew members are a reflection of the can do attitude.

Col J. Kimrey,
usa/sf Retired

“There will be 31 fewer ships to do the same number of missions in 2015 than there were in 2009”. Similarly with the US Army in the land context. The US has NEVER been attacked by anyone when we were prepared. Thank you, liberals and obama administration, for placing liberal political and social objectives before the safety and security of our citizens.

You are probably not a veteran, and surely not a Navy person , you have no sea experience nor do you know anything about ships worth or what type of vessel that this ship is. That ship is a war ship not a pleasure boat you Jackass!

That’s what the hell cruise ships are for, Warships are to make president’s crap thier skivvies… make all them conex ships pick up the plastic and take that crap back to china for recycling…

Well — one thing that can be said about vacuum tubes — they are more EMP resistant. Maybe if we get in a nuclear conflict with Iran it will help! :p

Jeff—I’d hate to meet your math teacher. The LCS is costing $562 million each without the mission modules, and tops 700 million with. At current prices, you could barely buy 2 fully outfitted LCS for the price of one Burke. Always remember, you get what you pay for!!!

The FFG’s should have been decommissioned long ago. My son served on one in Mayport as a QMC and said they are POS. 50 cals and Phalanx and that’s all. I wouldn’t want to go into battle on one. Doubt if it would have made it. Probably would have broken down.

as a fellow plankowner ‚my time on an FFG was a great duty station. with a good crew these ships kick ass and take names for about 8 1/2 mins. then steam like hell to only end up a missle sponge.

I spent 3 years an 9 months on the USS Lewis B. Puller FFG-23
The problem with the US Navy has always been that we SAY we are going to maintain our vessels (Quality over Quantity) when the truth is that we tend to Pony Express our equipment. we run it into the ground and do not bother to repair nor upgrade these platforms.
For all those folks that have never served on a FFG or on any fighting vessel for that matter, I can promise you that when properly armed, equipped and maintained a Perry Class Frigate could hold its own with any ship in the navy and was more than intimidating to the forces it was designed to confront.
These Sailors do more with far less and anyone that has ever served on one understands that the Price of freedom is more important than personal comfort and like them or not; they deserve respect as do the Sailors that have sailed on them.

As a former frigate (FF-1052) sailor and a former SIMA planner/estimator (TAR Program) I know about making it ‚scrounging it or making do. The realworld fact is that small ships of any kind, do not have the onboard manpower or technical skills to keep things running “brand new”.The failed attempt to Reserve crew these ships might have worked if they had manned them blue & gold like subs or actually made the SIMA’s large enough to work on them like an aviation squadron. I learned a lot then and made some great friends. The FFG’s (Perry Class) were never meant to be 30 year ships. While at SIMA I learned this the hard way. They were someones idea of a “future navy” where they could project presence as long as technology could make them capable to do more with less. After the force draw downs in the early 90’s these class of ships have done fantastically well considering the odds against them. TIn Cans have always been the “Ghetto Navy” but just ask any Tin Can sailor and he will tell you there is nothing like them for feeling like a Real Sailor…short of something with canvas that is.

Sad to see the El-Rod not looking as good as she did 22 years ago… I had some good times on her and one bad time. Great memories.

Pat wheres your sense of adventure? I served on a Brooke class frigate in the early eighties as a Hull Tech, I found it rather challenging to make the repairs on all types of machinery and equipment and get the equipment back up on line and functioning.

Most of the Euro frigates will not work for US needs, being designed with limited ranges and limited endurance. The exceptions being the British frigates which are designed to have the range to operate in the Atlantic and Pacific rather than merely the Med or the Baltic seas.

So if you buy rights to Euro frigates you would be essentially limited to the UK frigates and the ANZAC class modified MEKO 200s as the Aussies and Kiwis had the MEKO 200 range extended by an additional 50% for a true blue water capability.

The brainlessness of the US Navy in regards to this situation is stunning. We have need for ships of this type and what do we get? The LCS, a class of ship that looks pretty but can do little. Somebody please explain to me why this was done when you ships such as Singapore’s “Formidable” class (to me, it is a better French La Fayette) and the South African “Valour” class (a German MEKO derivative). Both are modern, stealth type (especially the Formidable) and are a bit smaller than the Perry’s while packing a good punch. Either one of these ships would eat up and spit out an LCS.

Are the Navy standards really that low? I am not Navy, I was an Army Tanker for 23 years, we learned from the M60 series. “Adequate” isn’t good enough. Only superior is “good enough” and the more SUPERIOR the better. (See M1A2). If chzrplzr’s idea that an “adequate” ship, with an “adequate” power plant and “adequate” weapons systems is prevalent throughout the Navy ranks, then the Navy will have a long road to haul if we ever have real war on the seas. Somehow, I don’t feel that is the case.

I think you forgot about the Stark, go back to your desk job…

That’s exactly what the Coast Guard did with their new 150 foot fast patrol boat from Bollinger. Bought a European design. Looks pretty and goes fast in the commercials but has no capability whatsover. The Coast Guard of all agencies need modules, but bought a racing yacht.

(1) Navy underfunds its ship maintenance account trying to spread the pain. Better to have 80% fully maintained and well-trained ships that 100% partially maintained. Those 20% stand downs publicly announce Navy doesn’t have the money and should encourage the admirals to make different chocies.

(2) While the monohull LCS is just another frigate-looking ship, can the modules crap and load it up with weapons.

(3) The LCS modules approach is just a way for Navy to spread out the true cost so Congress doesn’t get on their case. They really aren’t any less costly. And knowing the Navy’s record, the modules will trail ship construction by years, so the ships will be toothless.

(4) Complexity adds cost, which in turn, drives down the number of ships and future maintenance funding. It’s a vicious cycle, but one that requires leadership to fix. We don’t have any.

I rode a Gearing class, the USS Southerland DD743. 2 showers up forward. No ac in our berthing space when we went overseas in 1973. No spare parts becuase they did make alot of the equipment anymore. That would be on a canvas rack and a foot locker. We had no uniform storage. 90psi firemain to flush the crappers. Would not trade that experience for the world. We thought we were uptown when we got a pop machine on the ship. GMCS retired. I would take a tin can to go to sea anyday!

Actually, having lived in both worlds, the small ships can get pretty “austere” as well. When you’re in large weather on a small ship you can get miserable right quick. No, it’s not like being a grunt, but it’s frequently no picnic, especially when you can’t repair broken things such as plumbing, heating, and air conditioning. Inside a ship can get really cold or really hot if the machinery’s not working. The bulkheads close in on you after awhile, and you really want to get the HE double L off that ship!

You are obviously not a sailor, and apparently did not read the article.

I knew man was on both ships during that period. He was darn lucky he survived (physically) through it.
Perry’s were good ships for their time, when they were being maintained and kept up todate. I agree, its their crews that keep these boats viable, but what happening to them now…its more than terrible. Least the Knox Class ships were still actual warships with ability to fight back. No Mark 13 launchers, means you have resort to Sea Wiz to for protection if out on your own, frankly i won’t bother mention lack of Harpoon missiles makes it worse. Funny thing though, Perry still better armed than the LCS coming out at the moment…that sad.

A lot of post before me but did anyone bring up the fact that the Chinese read this tripe. How can you squids put your dirty laundry out like this? They air brush Sandra Bullock before they release a photo of her. Seems that would be least you could do for this old bird.

Then to put the cherry on top someone actually put a story out there to go with it. Just like using M-Nu before an inspection. We could pretend for the rest of the world that we can afford to maintain our gear or a can of paint.

Its also a strategy to maximise the purchse of the highest profit margin parts of the ship — the electronics and weapons. The concept is to buy more modules than there are ships thus each hull generates a greater return. Even better the same module has to be stockpiled in multiple locations in case they are needed.

Its all part of the deliver less and cost more drive of the contractors.

My first ship, USS Schofield (DEG-3), as soon as got we got u/w, the CO would get on the 1mc and explain to the crew and most of San Diego’s waterfront how to take a navy shower. Being on water hours from cast off all lines to tying up was the norm. I spent five years on sea duty with Schofield, Ramsey and Brooke. Three Westpacs in a two and a half year period between the three ships. To this day, I am the water and electric nazi in my home. Old habits are hard to break.

I was interested in the Navy as a kid, stories of British ships of the line, The mighty frigates that were the light, yet highly utilitarian vessel of its day. My first shipboard assignment as a SMSA was the Frigate, USS Ainsworth FF-1090. When I received those orders, I thought, how lucky, a fast powerfull well armed vessel. As I gained experience and discovered we were actually a single screw, relatively slow warship. Our main function was anti-submarine warfare,and she was a good platform for this mission. Hunting Russian subs was a big game back then. Iam sorry, I digress, the bottom line was, how could we remove such a time proven vessel, to something untried and unknown. We have’nt gotten rid of destroyers of cruisers, why forsake a historically proven vessel for some “new” idea a builder can milk the taxpayers (as already shown)? where are the responsible stewards of the taxpayers money?

To those that have never served on board a “FIG” You’ll never know. To those that have. No words are required. I sailed and worked on 5 FFG’s. Plank owner for 2. East coast, West coast and Japan any where anytime one wheel as we used to say in the plant. And for those who say its not a war ship May I remind you of the USS STARK (FFG-31) and the USS SAMUEL B. ROBERTS (FFG-58) both took a full measure and continued to serve after. Enough said.

I agree with Chief Worcester too. I was a Knox class sailor twice and I loved it! I knew everybody onboard and we got to go places that other ships couldn’t. We had to think for ourselves when we were independently steaming. We learned to adapt. Times were tough but homecomings were very sweet! I am very proud of the time I spent on the USS Hepburn FF1055 and the USS Elmer Montgomery FF1082. It disturbs me that the Oliver Hazard Perry Class FFGs are being referred to as the ghetto Navy. The FFGs were brand new when I first enlisted. They were very clean and their equipment was state of the art. I don’t know what still had vacuum tubs but the equipment that I worked on with tubes went away when Walker did. Anyone who serves on any US Naval vessel should not feel that they are in a ghetto. Their environment may not be perfect but it is probably adequate and the job they are doing is vital to the Navy and to our national defense. Be proud that you served.

I served aboard a DLG the USS Leahy DLG 16 from 4/70 to 10/73. they were very eligent ships and very deadly. Many millions of dollars were spent on them in the early to mid 90s for NTU then they were all retired, sunk or scrapped. While the new DDGs are supposed to be able to take their places there is one thing that they can’t do. With the Standard extended range missile we could reach out and touch someone out to around 100 miles. The Standard SM2 has a range of around 30 miles if they are lucky. the LEAHY and BELKNAP class DLG/CG classes were good ships that were retired way too early and we realy don’t have anything to replace them yet even today. Gary M. Spencer, GMM2, Pettyofficer in charge Forward Missile House and Launcher Captain.

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