Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Operation Iceberg — Okinawa Invasion in 1945

By Joshua L. Wick
Naval History and Heritage Command Communication and Outreach Division

D-Day Plus One, Green Beach, Okinawa. Artwork Mitchell Jamieson. Courtesy of the Navy Combat Art Collection. KN 21276 (Color).
On April 1, 1945, under heavy naval gunfire and aircraft support, U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps troops began the invasion of Okinawa, the last major amphibious assault of World War II. For Japan, the island was the barrier to a direct invasion of its homeland, while to the Allies, once the island was in their control, it would clear the path for the final invasion of Japan. When the island was finally declared secure on June 21, after 82 days of battle, the campaign ended up being the largest and one of the most costly battles in the Pacific.

Okinawa Operation. USS Idaho (BB 42) bombarding, circa April 1, 1945. Destroyer at left is probably USS Franks (DD 554). Courtesy of Robert O. Baumrucker, 1978. (Photo Courtesy of NHHC Photo Archives, NH 89368)

Okinawa Ryukyus Islands, April 1, 1945. Landing craft heading towards the beach. (Photo Courtesy of the National Archives) 80-G-313055

Vice Adm. Richmond K. Turner, Commanding Task Force 51, confers with Army and Marine Commanders on board his flagship, USS Eldorado (AGC 11), circa late March or early April 1945. They are working with a relief model of the South-Central part of Okinawa, with the main invasion beaches at right. Turner is in the center, with Army Lt. Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner on left and Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Oliver P. Smith, , on right. 80-G-48820.
The invasion and ultimate seizure of Okinawa was not an easy operation, in fact it was a significantly costly operation. From April – June 1945, U.S. Navy merchant ships went to this island in great numbers with the intent of bringing much needed supplies — bombs, gasoline, and more, to consolidate the operational needs of this outpost on the direct road to Tokyo.

USS Idaho (BB-42). Bombarding Okinawa with her 14″/50 main battery guns, April 1, 1945. Photographed from USS West Virginia (BB-48). (80-G-K-3829 (Color).

USS Indiana (BB-58). Chaplain serves Holy Communion while holding Mass on the quarterdeck, during the Okinawa operation, April 1, 1945. 80-G-325209.

Okinawa Operation, 1945. Marines climb down a debarkation ladder from a Coast-Guard manned assault transport to board an LCVP to take part in the initial attack on Okinawa, April 1,1945. Courtesy of Robert O. Baumrucker, 1978. NH 89369.
The operation, under the strategic command of Adm. Raymond A. Spruance, began with 5th Fleet air strikes against Kyushu on March 18, 1945, and initial landings on Okinawa itself on Easter Sunday, April 1, 1945. An enormous assemblage of ships participated in the operation, during which 36 of them of destroyer size or smaller were lost, most to the heaviest concentration of kamikaze attacks of the war.

USS West Virginia (BB-48). Crewmen on watch on a 40mm Quad. Gun Mount, while their ship was supporting the Invasion of Okinawa, April 1, 1945. 80-G-K-4707 (Color).

USS Tennessee bombards Okinawa on April 1, 1945, while LVTs head for the beach.
Okinawa Invasion, April 1945. LVTs and other landing craft head for the Okinawa landing beaches on 1 April 1945. USS LCI(G)-809 is partially visible at left, helping to cover the assault, with another LCI beyond her. Photographed from USS West Virginia (BB-48). 80-G-K-3848 (Color).

Okinawa Invasion, 1945. USS LSM 85, off Okinawa, during the landings there circa 1 April 1945. 80-G-K-4922 (Color).
USS Hutchins (DD 476) operating off Okinawa during the landings there, circa April 1, 1945. Other destroyers are in the background. 80-G-K-4919 (Color).
Almost 8,000 enemy aircraft were destroyed in the air or on the ground.

Okinawa Operations, 1945. Six USS Hancock (CV 19) TBM bombers fly near Okinawa, while supporting the invasion forces, 4 April 1945. 80-G-319244.

Okinawa Landings, April 1945. View of one of the beaches taken by CPhoM E.W. Peck off USS Tulagi (CVE 72), April 3, 1945. Several LSTs and LSMs are on the beach with other shipping offshore. Note LVTs in fields in the foreground. 80-G-339237.

As April 7 rolled around, the last remnants of the Japanese Navy were met by overwhelming Navy airpower. Japanese battleship Yamato, a cruiser, and four destroyers were sunk in the one-day battle. Once U.S. Joint Forces secured Okinawa, the supply lanes of the East China Sea were blocked, isolating all southern possessions which were still in Japanese hands … the last obstacle in the path to the Japanese Home Islands was finally cleared.

World Ocean Council Welcomes Damen Shipyards Group

March 25, 2015 - Damen Shipyards Group, a global shipbuilder headquartered in the Netherlands, has become the latest member of the World Ocean Council (WOC).
Damen is the first European shipbuilder to join the WOC, the international business leadership alliance on ocean sustainability, science and stewardship.
By focusing on optimising ship design and working on product innovations, Damen works to reduce environmental impacts of shipping. This has resulted in, for example, an in-house E3 label, applying only to new Damen designs that are Environmentally friendly, Efficient in operation and Economically viable. Other examples are the new generations of hybrid, CNG and LNG tugs and inland shipping vessels, some of which are built and some of which are in research programmes, Damen‘s recent partnership with the Bellona Foundation, the Oslo-based institute for sustainable environmental solutions, and the BlueTec Tidal Energy project. 
Damen’s designers and developers are structurally investigating possibilities to contribute to a new generation of cleaner ships. The company is identifying and developing new ways to address growing ocean challenges, such as pioneering the world’s first mobile ballast water treatment vessel (InvaSave) to operate in ports and support ship deballasting operations.
Arnout Damen, Chief Commercial Officer, stated, “Vessels are a common and fundamental aspect of all ocean industries. Many of the impacts to the marine environment can and must be addressed through improved vessel development and operations. Through the World Ocean Council, Damen can better work with the diverse ocean business community to identify and develop the innovative designs and products needed to tackle these issues – creating business opportunities and business solutions in support of cleaner seas.”

Navy Awards General Dynamics Bath Iron Works $610 Million for Construction of DDG 122

General Dynamics

Bath ME April 1, 2015 - The U.S. Navy has awarded funding for the construction of DDG 122, the Fiscal Year 2015 Arleigh Burke-class destroyer under contract at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works. This $610.4 million contract modification fully funds this ship which was awarded in 2013 as part of a multi-ship competition for DDG 51 class destroyers. The total value of the five-ship contract is approximately $3.4 billion. General Dynamics Bath Iron Works is a business unit of General Dynamics.
Fred Harris, president of Bath Iron Works, said, "This announcement allows us to continue efforts associated with planning and construction of DDG 122. We appreciate the leadership of Senators Collins and King and the strong support of our entire delegation in matters of national defense. We are grateful for their recognition of the contributions made by the people of BIW to the U.S. Navy's important shipbuilding programs."
There are currently three DDG 51 destroyers in production at Bath Iron Works, Rafael Peralta (DDG 115), Thomas Hudner (DDG 116) and Daniel Inouye (DDG 118). The shipyard began fabrication on DDG 115 in November 2011, and delivery to the Navy is scheduled for 2016. Fabrication on DDG 116 began in November 2012, and that ship is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy in 2017. Fabrication has just begun on DDG 118, the first ship of the 2013 multi-ship award.
Bath Iron Works is also building the three ships in the planned three-vessel Zumwalt-class of destroyers, Zumwalt (DDG 1000), Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001) and Lyndon Johnson (DDG 1002).

Final Bahamas Stan Patrol 4207 Delivered

April 1, 2015 - The Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) has taken delivery of the fourth and final Stan Patrol 4207, named HMBS Rolly Gray. The four Stan Patrol 4207s form part of the six-year Sandy Bottom project.
The Stan Patrol 4207s carry a 24-person crew, have a range in excess of 2000 nm and can achieve speeds of 20 knots. As well as their weapons systems each carries two RHIBS for fast interception and boarding. The first 4207, HMBS Arthur Dion Hanna, arrived from the Netherlands in May 2014, followed by HMBS Durward Knowles in July and HMBS Leon Livingstone Smith in September 2014.
As well as the acquisition of a fleet of nine patrol and support vessels of various types, the Sandy Bottom project includes the upgrading of the existing naval base at Coral Harbour plus the construction of two new facilities elsewhere in the Bahamas. The vessel element will include a spares and training package and great emphasis will be placed on skills transfer to ensure the vessels can be maintained and operated by Bahamians. Dutch civil engineering company Van Oord is undertaking the design, engineering, dredging and construction of the three ports for the RBDF, including the deepening of access channels and construction of quay walls, breakwaters, buildings, jetties, moorings and facings.
When complete the new fleet will include a dedicated roll-on, roll-off landing craft (a Damen Stan Lander 5612) which will be fitted with a 25 tonne crane and demountable disaster relief equipment. Special containers will be acquired to provide emergency relief, medical facilities, desalinated water and sanitary equipment which will rapidly be deployed in the event of natural disasters. In addition, four Damen Stan Patrol 3007s Sea Axe type) will join the 4207s to combat drug smuggling, human smuggling and other illegal activities, as well as conduct search and rescue operations.
Of the four 3007 Sea Axe patrol vessels, the first is now nearing completion. The RoRo Damen 5612 is currently under construction at Ha Long in Vietnam. These vessels will be delivered in the coming months with the last due for delivery by summer 2016.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Patrol Boats across the Pacific converge to help Vanuatu

Lieutenant Commander Semisi Tapueluelu stands on the deck of the Tongan Patrol Boat Voea Neiafu in Mala Wharf, Port Vila, Vanuatu.   (photo: CAPT Jessie Platz)
Lieutenant Commander Semisi Tapueluelu stands on the deck of the Tongan Patrol Boat Voea Neiafu in Mala Wharf, Port Vila, Vanuatu.

April 1, 2015 - The international response to the crisis in Vanuatu has been nothing short of exemplary, with immediate contributions from countries like Australia, New Zealand, France, USA, UAE and South Korea.  
But now even more support has arrived from smaller nations like Fiji, Solomon Islands and Tonga.
Fiji has embedded a 12-man medical team in Tanna Island and a 30-man engineer element in Efate Province, while the Solomon Islands and Tonga have each sent a Pacific Patrol Boat to provide a niche capability in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Pam. 
Commander of the Tongan Patrol Boat Voea Neiafu, Lieutenant Commander Semisi Tapueluelu said his 21-man team will deliver humanitarian aid to locals in hard to reach places.
“The main tasks we are looking at are transportation of humanitarian relief to the outlying islands, particularly the ones that don’t have an airstrip or a wharf,” he said.
“Pacific Patrol Boats are so effective in missions like this because we can get close to the islands, we have more space to move, and we have local knowledge of the waters.”
Under the Defence Cooperation Program, Australia provided 22 Pacific Patrol Boats to 12 Pacific Island countries in the 1980s and 1990s. 
The boats are now owned by the Pacific Island countries, but the Australian Department of Defence continues to provide ongoing maintenance and logistic support for the boats and training for crews in Australia and within the region. 
Lieutenant Commander Tapueluelu has experienced the full effect of the program; he joined the Tongan Navy in 1995 and completed several training courses at the Australian Maritime College in Tasmania and is a graduate of the Australian Command and Staff College.  
“I am so proud to be here, it’s an opportunity to work with Australia again and of course New Zealand, the French, the Solomon Islands and the Fijians; it’s really good to get everyone to work together during an incident like this, we are very lucky to be invited,” Lieutenant Commander Tapueluelu said.  
“The more we work together, the more that we get to understand our friends and their roles, it will be easy to play our part and add to the overall effort.”
Solomon Islands Patrol Boat Auki is currently in the Shepherd Islands delivering crop seeds and planting material, as well as transferring women, children, the elderly and the disabled back to Port Vila until their homes have been reconstructed.  
The Tongan Voea Neiafu began tasking on 28 March.
“It will absolutely be a special moment for me and my team; we in the Pacific have experienced natural disasters for so many years now,” Lieutenant Commander Tapueluelu said.  
“Standing there with no one to turn to and then seeing all this help right in front of you, we are so proud of ourselves because saving one life is so important, and when they need it, we are there.”

Ingalls Shipbuilding Awarded $499.8 Million Construction Contract for Eighth NSC

Pascagoula March 31, 2015 - Huntington Ingalls Industries' Ingalls Shipbuilding division has received a $499.8 million fixed-price incentive contract from the U.S. Coast Guard to build an eighth National Security Cutter, Midgett (WMSL 757).
"We are performing extremely well in this program, proving the point that serial production is the most efficient and effective way to build complex military ships," said Jim French, Ingalls' National Security Cutter program manager. "We continue to fold in learning for each ship we build, and the three under construction right now are tracking well because of this knowledge."
Ingalls has delivered four National Security Cutters to the Coast Guard and currently has three more under construction: James (WMSL 754), Munro (WMSL 755) and Kimball (WMSL 756). These ships will be delivered in 2015, 2016 and 2018, respectively. Midgett is scheduled to deliver in 2019.
National Security Cutters, the flagships of the Coast Guard's cutter fleet, are designed to replace the 378-foot Hamilton-class high-endurance cutters, which entered service during the 1960s. NSCs are 418 feet long with a 54-foot beam and displace 4,500 tons with a full load. They have a top speed of 28 knots, a range of 12,000 miles, an endurance of 60 days and a crew of 120.

Raytheon receives $109 million for SM-6, SM-2 parts

Tucson March 31, 2015 - The U.S. Navy awarded Raytheon Company $109,583,490 million to purchase the long-lead materials needed to meet Standard Missile-6 full-rate production requirements and Standard Missile-2 sustainment. This award was booked in the first quarter 2015.
SM-6 is a surface-to-air supersonic missile capable of successfully engaging manned and unmanned aerial vehicles and fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft. It also defends against land-attack and anti-ship cruise missiles in flight.
The SM-6 deployed for the first time in 2013, and Raytheon has delivered more than 160 missiles. The missile's final assembly takes place at Raytheon's state-of-the-art SM-6 and SM-3 all-up-round production facility at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala.
SM-2 is the world's premier fleet-area air defense weapon, providing increased intercept range, high- and low-intercept capability, and performance against advanced and anti-ship missile threats. Its primary mission is fleet-area air defense and ship self-defense, but it has also demonstrated an extended-area air defense protection capability.
SM-6 delivers a proven over-the-horizon air defense capability by leveraging the time-tested advantages of the Standard Missile's airframe and propulsion.

  • The SM-6 uses both active and semiactive guidance modes and advanced fuzing techniques.
  • It incorporates the advanced signal processing and guidance control capabilities from Raytheon's Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile.

SM-2s are the world's premier fleet-area air defense weapons. The missiles are also capable of providing extended-area air defense.

  • SM-2's international customers include: Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Spain and Taiwan.
  • SM-2 has been integrated with both Aegis and non-Aegis combat weapon systems.
  • The missile can be launched from the MK-41, MK-13 and MK-26 launchers.
  • SM-2 has an extensive flight test history of more than 2,500 successful flight tests
  • More than 5,000 SM-2s have been delivered to the US and allied customers.