Admiral Harvey posted to his blog that SAN ANTONIO is underway again.

The hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life was serve aboard SAN, especially during the last deployment and the start of the yards period right after — Afghanistan was nothing compared to the deployment aboard SAN (granted, I was a fobbit out there). I am incredibly proud to have served aboard her, and of my Shipmates in seeing her underway again, especially of those still aboard who checked-in the same year I did (2006).

Galrahn had a post the other day saying that no one has been held responsible for all the challenges SAN and the class have had. I would add a caveat to his statement: The crew has been held responsible for all of the challenges. The crew has constantly worked to meet those responsibilities — no matter what happens the crew returns to the 17 every day, stands their watches, works to fix the problems. There were times when I couldn’t get my head around how the Snipes did it, how they stood all the watches, how they would be so ambivalent over being doused with lube oil multiple times during the deployment, how they were able to keep pushing despite challenge after challenge was discovered. The ITs running all over the Ship dealing with SWAN challenges. The officers and Chiefs earnestly working to manage all of it, and also standing their watches. Through three ‘generations’ of crews I watched and was apart of all this.

Outside the skin of the Ship, you don’t see nor hear it. But, there’s a lot of emotion invested by the crew into their Ship, a lot of emotion. The sweat and tired eyes are just the tip of the iceberg. Coming back from the maiden deployment, I was in a way worse state of mind than when I came back from Afghanistan.

If you haven’t seen the door to the chartroom, it’s well worth it. As it is emblematic of the spirit that has carried the crew through it all. It has never been easy to read Naval blogs as I do being a SAN ANTONIO Sailor. You can’t help but take even the best intentioned criticism of the Ship a little personal. But, because of the crew I will always hold my head high and say I sailed in LPD 17 for the maiden deployment — I was there. HOOYAH SAN ANTONIO!

Posted by CTR1(SW) H. Lucien Gauthier III in Navy

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  • DC1(SW) Stephen Allen

    I could not have said that any better. It was a tough tough time onboard and it is something that I will never EVER forget! I am glad to see that the ship is out to sea again and hope that everything is going good for them.

    Gauth, I second your post almost to a T… The 3 “generations” of crew members sure did endure a lot and kept coming back for more, answering the call day in and day out.

  • Eagle1

    Well said! Too many people unfamiliar with the flow of Navy life miss that truth you wrote, “The crew has been held responsible for all of the challenges.”

    40 years from now, she’ll still be “your ship.”

  • Wendall

    As much as I said I hated it, I must say that when I look back, I am somewhat proud of serving on that ship. Every day was a new challenge, but I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today had I not learned from those challenges daily. Hope she does well out there on the sea…

  • P.S. Wallace

    As much as some things that he did might have been not quite what one would desire, the entire San Antonio saga does help point out a.) why Hyman Rickover often felt he had to act the way he did, b.) that it is not always the norm for an organization to inherently believe that there is a proper engineering way, and an improper, and that it will only do it the proper way (because it both knows how to do it and can do no other).

  • Phil

    I have said it 100 times and I will say it 1000 more. All the emphasis on “leadership” has left the Navy with poor managers. The saga of 21st century shipbuilding…. It makes me sick to look at that surface warfare badge in my shadowbox. And to think we now pay SWOs bonuses!

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    They will say of you, “They were giants in those days.”

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    Also the faithless hussy who treated you rough and treated you mean will have the firmest grasp of you heartstrings, in memory.

  • Marvin

    YN2, I can only say one thing – BZ –

    I never served on a ship that had less than 22 years of service – I cruised on baling wire and duct tape.
    Even when on the Decomm Insurv, when we had a faster full power run than the ship had on builder’s trials, it was still duct tape and baling wire.

  • Michael West

    If you poke hard enough, you might find that same emotion about Every Ship. My 1st was the PERKINS DD-877. Commissioned in time to steam to the signing in Tokyo Bay. I came aboard in Dec 71, De-Commissioning in Jan 73. Sold to Argentina, and the last I saw, was headed out the Golden Gate, full-tilt-boogie, w/ a rooster tail that hid the DASH Hangar. My ammo ship, FLINT AE-32, transferred to MSC and is still prowling.

    Everybody has stories. It’s one of the things that binds us together.

  • Larry MM1 (Screws)

    You talk about sweat, and tired eyes, try 42 days at sea aboard a “Fletcher Class Destroyer”

    Hey Marvin, is that what you used to keep your typewriter running?
    Sorry, but I always did give the yeomen a hard time.(No offense meant).

  • Retired Now

    While LPD-17 may have almost completed her prolonged Birth Pains, LPD-22 has been, to a lesser degree, also undergoing an exceptionally painful start of life process. On the surface, it appears minor with some slight slippage of first Trials underway moving to the right a few times. Changing builder’s trials from Spring 2011 to early Summer 2011, and now back to late Summer 2011 seems fairly commonplace and innocent enough. But the new commissioning crew of LPD-22 named USS SAN DIEGO is aware of the rocky start for this newest Navy amphibious ship.

  • Retired Now

    LPD-22 was innovative in her construction plans at the old Northrop Grumman shipyard in Pascagoula. Parts of this “gator” were constructed in Texas and Northrop had the drawings plans provided from the design shop at Avondale shipyard, sent over to the sub-contractor near Houston Texas. As these structures started to arrive back to Pascaoula Northrop Grumman discovered that all sorts of problems were occurring during the assembly process. LPD-22 kept on proving to be another almost repeat of the LPD-17 problem child, with lots of rework, delays, costs increasing, etc. Finally Northrop Grumman discovered the problem: Avondale had not provided the latest correct ship drawings to the subcontracted shipyard in Texas ! And during assembly in Pascagoula, all sorts of mismatches were discovered and foundations had to be cut, reworked, etc. So, the final result is Northrop Grumman’s big mistake, has resulted in LPD-22 taking too much time, over budget, problem plagued and in general, not off to a great start. Let’s hope USS SAN DIEGO will end up having a long and useful life for the U.S. Navy despite the “mistake” made years ago by Avondale shipyard, which is mercifully being closed next year.