– Eighteen community leaders hit the high seas over a three-day period last week aboard the guided-missile cruiser, USS Cape St. George (CG-71), as part of the Leaders to Sea (LTS) program.
Through the LTS program, Naval Surface Force, Pacific Fleet (SURFPAC) provides an opportunity for leaders from business and civic organizations to experience the daily operations on board a Navy warship and to become familiar with the capabilities of the Surface Fleet.
“It is important for our nation to understand how the Navy is adapting to prepare for evolving global threats,” Capt. John Gelinne, SURFPAC chief of staff told LTS participants. “Our Surface Fleet is posturing for the 21st century theater through technology upgrades and ship-class modernization, but also by seeking cream-of-the-crop recruits.”
LTS participants were flown to Cape St. George by Navy Seahawk helicopters from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21 on Naval Air Station North Island. Once on board, Cape St. George Sailors gave the guests an in-depth ship tour, showing them rarely seen aspects of shipboard life. The tour included a visit to the Sailors’ living quarters and dining facilities, as well as engineering and combat systems compartments.
“It was especially fascinating to me, being a former mechanical engineer, to see how the ship worked and how the crew trains,” said LTS participant Vern Schooley, a former General Dynamics employee and current patent attorney. “What impressed me most was how enthusiastic the young men and women were about their jobs.”
Schooley also said he enjoyed learning about present-day missions. The LTS program offers the opportunity for community leaders to develop an educated understanding of how U.S. Navy warships manage the waters--doing more than assisting with conflicts around the world, they also provide critical support for humanitarian efforts, help train our allies during multilateral exercises and provide security in strategically sensitive waterways around the world.
“I love this part of the job. It is an honor for me to show off this great ship and her fabulous crew to folks who are going to help us tell our story,” said Capt. Bill Byrne, Cape St. George’s commanding officer. “It’s also inspiring for me to see the genuine pride in my crew.”
Some LTS participants also had the unique opportunity to witness a refueling at sea. “The refueling mission was very impressive, top-notch,” said Tom Prenovost, Planning Commissioner for the City of Brea, Calif. “It was a very good experience for a civilian to see exactly what the Navy does.”
The community leaders included several boat captains from the San Diego Whale Watchers Consortium. “I have been very impressed with how the Navy is up-front and open to environmentalists and other mariners in the area,” said William Reese, a captain for the Hornblower cruise fleet. “It was a great experience to meet the Sailors I interact with on a daily basis out on the water. My day aboard the ship has magnified my respect for the U.S. Navy and specifically for the Sailors who sacrifice so much to serve in our military.”
Cape St. George is a Ticonderoga-class, guided-missile cruiser attached to the Abraham Lincoln Strike Group and has been conducting training exercises in the Southern California operating area. The Abraham Lincoln Strike Group is preparing for a deployment to the 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operation. For additional information on USS Cape St. George, please visit www.cape-st-george.navy.mil.
Naval Surface Forces hosts Leaders to Sea events bi-monthly. For more information about the program, or to inquire about participating, please contact the SURFPAC Public Affairs Office at firstname.lastname@example.org