SASEBO, Japan – USS GERMANTOWN (LSD 42) was recently awarded the 2014 Unit Tactics award in recognition of outstanding tactical proficiency throughout 2014. The ship’s crew completed numerous qualification events, participated in multi-national exercises, and executed rigorous material readiness inspections.
Earning the award was not an easy task considering where the ship started at the beginning of the 2014 competitive period with expired certifications in several warfare areas. To get these warfare areas recertified during the upcoming Afloat Readiness Group (ATG) assessed Abbreviated Basic Phase (ABP), the leadership had to establish an aggressive plan to get USS GERMANTOWN back on track.
“Completing so many ATG certification events in a condensed schedule is no easy task for any ship,” says Lcdr Severn Stevens, the ship’s Executive Officer. “Despite the long road ahead, the GERMANTOWN crew pulled together and prevailed as they are known to do.”
The ship successfully recertified in 13 warfare areas on the first try. A key element to this achievement was due to the dedicated efforts of Lcdr Kyle Hiscock, the ship’s Operations Officer, who successfully planned and managed the ship’s arduous schedule. His efforts to attain the highest level of ship operational readiness later earned him the 2014 Junior Officer Award for Excellence in Tactics.
The crew’s dedication to excellence and willingness to demonstrate proficiency continued with material inspection checks at the Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) Material Inspection. The ship once again held up to its reputation and earned many outstanding scores. The Information Systems inspection scored 81 and was one of only two ships to pass this area. The Detect to Engage (DTE) demonstration, where the ship’s Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) targets and destroys a towed drone which simulates an enemy missile, scored 89 and was assessed by the senior inspector as the best DTE he has ever observed.
GERMANTOWN won the award not just because they demonstrated the highest level of operational readiness, but also because they displayed tactical proficiency during their 2014 Fall Patrol. The ship covered over 18,000 nautical miles and spent 103 days at sea. The crew executed an arduous operational schedule including various training exercises with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment and USAF 33rd Rescue Squadron. GERMANTOWN conducted operations in Japan and the Republic of the Philippines where they carried out multiple amphibious assault and raid exercises.
“The crew of GERMANTOWN has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to combat readiness and mission execution,” says Cdr Gary Harrington, the ship’s Commanding Officer. “Most impressive and crucial to the ship’s success is the crew’s dedication on a daily basis towards operational readiness, procedural compliance, and tactical proficiency. I can’t think of a more deserving crew to win this award.”