Welcome to the CavasShips Podcast with Christopher P. Cavas and Chris Servello…a weekly podcast looking at naval and maritime events and issues of the day – in the US, across the seas and around the world. This week…The Large Scale Exercise 2023, or LSE 2023 — the largest combination live and virtual warfighting exercise ever run by the US Navy and Marine Corps — ended on August 18. For ten days, more than 25,000 service members spread across 22 time zones worked through complex scenarios to test how the fleet can simultaneously synchronize global naval operations against multiple threats. We were on the scene in Norfolk and North Carolina to see some of the operations and talk with service members taking part. You’ll hear directly from sailors and Marines about what they’re experienced.
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This Week’s Naval Round Up:
Admiral Michael Gilday on August 14 relinquished his post as the chief of naval operations, and Admiral Lisa Franchetti, the current vice CNO, became acting chief. Franchetti, along with the senior officers of the US Marine Corps and the US Army, has not been confirmed by the Senate due to the ongoing blanket hold on top officer nominations by Alabama senator Tommy Tuberville. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, speaking at the relinquishment ceremony held at the US Naval Academy, noted more than 300 officers are now unable to fulfill their new duties because of Tuberville’s actions.
The amphibious ships BATAAN and CARTER HALL with Marines of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, passed through the Strait of Hormuz August 17 to enter the Persian Gulf. The movement is part of a larger show of force by the US in response to Iranian attacks and seizures of merchant shipping in the region. US Air Force F-35A Joint Strike Fighters and the destroyer McFAUL are among the additional US military forces now in the Gulf region. Marines aboard the ships are being readied as possible armed escorts aboard merchant ships passing through the Strait and operating in the Gulf of Oman.
Fresh off taking part in the Large Scale Exercise, USS MOUNT WHITNEY LCC20 pulled into Istanbul, Turkey on August 18 with Sixth Fleet commander Vice Admiral Thomas Ishee embarked. It’s as close to the Black Sea the Sixth Fleet flagship has been since Nov 2021, three months prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Huntington Ingalls on August 11 received a construction contract for the yet-to-be-named Arleigh Burke-class Flight III destroyer DDG 142, the third ship in the new destroyer multi-year-procurement contract announced by the Navy on August 1. Not included in that original announcement was that it included construction contracts for the first two ships, the THOMAS KELLEY DDG 140 to General Dynamics Bath Iron Works and the unnamed DDG 141 to HII, for a total of three destroyers ordered in fiscal 2023. DDG 142 is considered an “option” ship for fiscal 2023. The MYP covers the years from 2023 through 2027, with each of those years also containing an option contract should funding be made available.
And in new ship news, a keel ceremony was held August 17 for the Virginia-class attack submarine TANG SSN 805 at General Dynamics Electric Boat in Quonset Point, Rhode Island. … In Pascagoula, Mississippi on August 19 the destroyer TED STEVENS DDG 128, just launched on August 9, was christened at HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding.