Sometimes the news just doesn’t quite ‘get it’…
On a news crawler there was a statement that the USA was rushing to set up a ‘floating base’ in the middle east for use in some kind of attack or other on Somalia and / or Iran.
Makes it sound exotic an like some kind of super carrier… the reality is much more prosaic.
We have a class of ship called an Amphibious Transport Dock. The one being deployed is of the Austin Class (and was followed by The San Antonio Class which is pictured above and looks more ‘stealthy’). Many of the Austin class have already been decommissioned and many of those have been scrapped. (Why? Don’t ask why, down that path lies insanity and ruin. -E.M.Smith)… Only in America could we have a wonderfully designed fleet of ships that we periodically cut up, sink, or scrap out.
At any rate, one of them was in the process of decommissioning (The Ponce) and as the latest Seal Team raid to rescue hostages worked out well (and given the ‘leaving the area’ plans of Mr. Obama) and given that ANOTHER guy got nabbed by the Somali Pirates: They decided maybe having a place to put some guys and equipment for such raids would be “a good thing”. Having scrapped or decommissioned most of these, they decided to pull this one back from the brink; clean it up and refit it, and send it over.
Not much of a base, really. More like a floating warehouse and dock with a helicopter pad.
At any rate, if you hear that news, now you know what’s REALLY being sent over.
The registry of the Austin Class where you can see which are already decommissioned with links to the Navy page with specs and disposition. (Some are just in the mothball fleet, others are scrapped out.)
USS Ponce (LPD-15), an Austin-class amphibious transport dock, is the only ship of the United States Navy that is named for Ponce in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, which in turn was named after the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon, the first governor of Puerto Rico and European discoverer of Florida.
Her keel was laid down on 31 October 1966 by the Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Company of Seattle, Washington. She was launched on 20 May 1970 sponsored by Mrs. John J. Hyland, and commissioned on 10 July 1971.
Has a nice picture of it too:
Well, it’s nice to see it being saved from the scrap heap. It would be nicer still if we took all the ones in mothballs, put Seal Teams on them, and parked them around Somalia. Might have a lot fewer pirates grabbing ships…
Would make a lot better use of tax money than giving it to electric car companies to burn, then go bankrupt… or solar companies… or …