USS Makin Island
“Work Together”
 
12/29/2016
Coordination, Collaboration, Alignment Help Makin Island ARG Set Record



The USS Makin Island (LHD 8) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) sailed west in October with only 10 casualty reports (CASREPs) cumulatively – and USS Comstock (LSD 45) sailed with zero. This achievement is easily the best report in readiness for a deploying ARG within the last 10 years.

When Vice Adm. Tom Rowden became commander, Naval Surface Forces in 2014, one of his first orders of business was to improve amphibious readiness. “We owe it to our Marine Corps brothers and sisters to provide ships fully mission ready for the fight,” said Rowden.

To lead this effort, the office codes of N46 for Amphibious Current Readiness and N47 for Cruiser-Destroyer (CRUDES) Current Readiness were established. These two codes were immediately given the charge to work closely with the ships, staffs and maintenance teams to send warships fully ready for tasking to sea.

“When a ship sails past [Lighted Whistle] Buoy San Diego (SD), they should be CASREP free,” ordered Rowden. Lighted Whistle Buoy SD is located a few nautical miles beyond the entrance of San Diego Bay.

Internally, N46 and N47 consist of ship-type desk officers, ship-class advocates and embedded Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) representatives who work closely together in shared office space to build the synergy necessary to not only resolve current individual CASREPs and issues, but to identify and resolve trending issues that may plague the class of ships as a whole.

 

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Externally, the N46/47 staff worked hard to foster healthy relationships with the rest of the headquarters staff, ships’ force, port engineers, regional maintenance centers, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) personnel, and NAVSEA codes in order to resolve more complex Category 3 (C3) CASREPs, which indicate major primary mission degradation, as well as the less severe C2 CASREPs.

The commitment to maintain ready and capable amphibious forces had already produced proven results. In May 2015, the USS Essex (LHD 2) ARG deployed with 57 percent fewer CASREPs than the previous deploying ARG, and the following deploying ARG with even less.

However, a full court press by the whole team, including the herculean efforts of the Sailors aboard Makin Island, Comstock and USS Somerset (LPD 25), was applied to the Makin Island ARG – they were able to proudly sail west with only 10 CASREPs. Although specific records haven’t been located, no one in the community can remember an LSD (dock landing ship) ever deploying CASREP free!

The success the N46/47 staff has contributed toward current readiness in the amphibious fleet resulted in the stand-up of office code N48, Oct. 1, to address littoral combat ship and mine countermeasures ship class readiness issues. The expectation is to take the collaborative victories with the amphibious force and apply them to the other two ship classes in order to reduce CASREPs and, ultimately, increase the surface fleet’s warfighting readiness.

Although deploying with so few CASREPs is highly impressive and sets a significant mark in progress, Rowden asked the team for even more. “The goal is zero CASREPs,” said Rowden. “My team won’t rest until we can achieve the ultimate goal.”

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