Helo Moves

An MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter taxis on the runway at Air Station Traverse City, Michigan, April 13, 2017. Jayhawks are replacing the current helicopters the air station operates to provide improved search and rescue coverage in the area. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station Traverse City)

A bit of reshuffling of air assets as SeaWaves reports CGAS Traverse City receives the first of three MH-60Ts that will replace the four MH-65 previously deployed there.

One of the H-65s has already been transferred to CGAS Atlantic City. Two will go to the Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron in Jacksonville, Florida. One will be transferred to the Coast Guard Aviation Training Center in Mobile, Alabama, to support a fleet-wide training initiative associated with a modernization effort.

Morgenthau Going Back to Vietnam

We have a report from Naval Today that Morgenthau, being decommissioned today, will be going to back Vietnam.

Ironically Morgenthau served in Vietnamese warters earlier. This from Wikipedia:

Soon after its commissioning in 1970 the Morgenthau sailed to Vietnam for service in the US Navy’s Operation Market Time. (Operation Market Time was the United State’s successful operation to stop North Vietnamese ships and boats from infiltrating South Vietnam to supply weapons and munitions to North Vietnamese military, including the People’s Army of Vietnam (aka “NVA” – North Vietnamese Army) and Viet Cong.)

Morgenthau was extremely active in the Vietnam War: its duties included boarding/inspection of ships and boats suspected of running guns, ammunition and supplies, naval gunfire support missions, providing medical care to Vietnamese villagers (MEDCAPS – civic action program), ferrying special forces soldiers on missions, and 24/7 patrol duties.[10]

From records compiled by then-Lieutenant Eugene N. Tulich, Commander, US Coast Guard (Ret), Morgenthaus Vietnam numbers included: Miles cruised – 38,029 nautical miles (70,430 km; 43,763 mi); Percentage time underway – 72.8%; Junks/sampans detected/inspected/boarded – 2383/627/63; Enemy confirmed killed in action (KIA) 14; Structures destroyed/damaged – 32/37; Bunkers destroyed/damaged – 12/3; Waterborne craft destroyed/damaged – 7/3; Naval Gunfire Support Missions (NGFS) – 19; MEDCAPS (Medical Civic Action Program) – 25; Patients treated – 2676.

For exceptionally valorous action in combat, Morgenthau received a number of awards and commendations, including a Navy Unit Commendation when Morgenthau distinguished itself with outstanding heroism in action against the enemy. Morgenthau’s actions included its multi-day undetected tracking and surveillance of a 160′ North Vietnamese SL-8 trawler that attempted to resupply waiting North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong, and the April 11, 1971, destruction of that enemy ship when Morgenthau and other forces engaged in a two-hour battle against the ship, at the end of which the North Vietnamese SL-8 trawler suffered a massive explosion and disappeared from radar screens. For this and its other Vietnam service, the ship and Morgenthaus crew were additionally awarded the Navy Combat Action Ribbon; Navy Unit Commendation; Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation; Vietnam Service Medal; Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation; Vietnam Civil Actions Unit Citation; Vietnam Campaign Medal; and other awards.

Morgenthau served in Vietnam until July 19, 1971.

I am curious, will it be repainted Vietnamese Navy gray or remain white and wear the stripes of Vietnam’s recently formed Coast Guard?

57mm Mk110 Video

 

“…footage of USS Detroit (LCS-7) firing its 57 mm gun in a series of tests that sank an inbound surface target and destroyed an unmanned aerial vehicle on March 6 and 7, 2017. US Navy/Lockheed Martin Video”

Our weapons are tools we don’t get to use very often. lt is good to have confidence in your tools. The video is encouraging, but there is very little information here. What was the range to the targets? How big was the UAV? How fast were they moving? How many rounds were required to achieve the effect.

If anyone has specifics I would love to hear them.

Vigor Buys New Dry Dock

Vigor Seattle, WA Facilities

Vigor’s Seattle facility

Got a news release from Vigor which is quoted below:

SEATTLE, WASH. (April 17, 2017) Building on its ongoing investments in critical infrastructure and fulfilling a promise to customers to expand West Coast drydock capacity, Vigor has entered into an agreement to purchase a drydock from a Korean seller. At 640 feet long with a clear width of 116 feet, the new dock will be the third, and largest, at Vigor’s Harbor Island shipyard.

“The purchase of another drydock in Seattle allows Vigor to better service valued customers like Washington State Ferries, the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy,” notes Adam Beck, Vigor Executive Vice President of Ship Repair. “It also further strengthens our market position in commercial ship repair on the West Coast and supports our expansion into new markets.”

Beck and his team had been actively looking for the right drydock at home and abroad for a number of months. The one selected happened to be in Korea. The team is working to finalize the transaction and have the dock operational in Seattle by late Fall. Customer feedback to the news has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Washington State Ferries is greatly relieved and appreciative to hear of Vigor’s important investment in a new drydock for its Harbor Island/Seattle location. We have been concerned about the shortage of drydock availability for the maintenance and repair of our fleet,” said Matt Von Ruden, Director of Vessel Engineering and Maintenance, Washington State Ferries. “Regular maintenance is critical to our ability to achieve the expected service life of our vessels and keep them operating well for our customers.”

DRYDOCK PRINCIPAL CHARACTERISTICS:

Length: 640 FT, Clear Width: 116 FT, Lift Capacity: 20,000 LT

Vigor was not one of the five contractors awarded icebreaker design contracts, but this drydock could handle a very large icebreaker and Seattle is perhaps the most logical place to base them. In any case it will add to the maintenance capability in the Pacific NW.

Children’s Book

Picture

James Burd Brewster, a retired Coast Guard Academy graduate (class of ’77) author and publisher, has alerted me to his latest book, a biography of helicopter pioneer, Capt. Frank A. Erickson, which is intended to be the first of a series on Coast Guard heroes aimed at a middle school aged audience.

I have not read the book, but this is not the author’s first attempt. He has several books to his credit.

The illustrations, including those below, appear well done.

Coast Guard’s National Security Role

The Coast Guard leadership has been hitting the Coast Guard’s National Security role pretty hard since the change of administration and the “skinny budget” scare.

Here is the Commandant’s latest pitch to “a roundtable of the Defense Writers Group, a nonprofit association of defense reporters.”

Like other service chiefs he is messaging that a continuing resolution would be a disaster.

“The good news is we are modernizing the fleet, but it’s that annual operating and maintenance account that you have to get very creative,” Zukunft said. “Where we’re seeing the most pain is we defer a lot of our shore maintenance; that backlog continues to grow.”
Zukunft said his greatest concern right now is to have budget certainty and not temporary funding measures; the current continuing resolution that funds the government runs through April 28.
“Maybe we’ll see a short extension of that, but if we don’t have an appropriation in 2017, I will have to shut down operations,” he said, adding that will affect readiness. “This is not the time to sideline any military service, including the Coast Guard, but that’s what a [continuing resolution] would do.”

 

To say we are in good shape in terms of modernization is at least optimistic, but perhaps the Commandant has some favorable indications from Congress. They do like things that add jobs. Still even if we start getting icebreakers the OPC is long overdue and I suspect that we may see the WMECs start failing at an ever increasing rate since we don’t expect full replacement of the fleet until about 2034. Building two a year is going to take too long.