Friday, December 16, 2005
Amphibious Group Two welcomed it's newest ship into the fleet. Rear Admiral Garry Hall said he accepted USS San Antonio (LPD 17) into the amphibious group. and with a little more outfitting the amphibious transport dock will be ready to operate with the fleet.
USS San Antonio-LPD 17News crews were brought aboard Wednesday at Naval Station Norfolk to tour the new ship. As first in it's class everything the best in the Navy. One highlight is the Ship Wide Area Network. The technology is like no other ship in that information can be accessed from anywhere on board. Chief Petty Officer Jonathan Seys said, "The ship is a network. It is interconnected. No matter where you are, you can access information. Information is key nowadays." The ship's Commanding Officer Captain Jonathan Padfield says San Antonio has "new ways to make water, shoot weapons, defend the ship, and get the amphibs on land. It truly is a revolutionary ship." The ship was plagued with problems during construction. An early inspection by the Navy Board of Inspectors found problems with wiring, corrosion, water tight integrity, among other things. The Commanding Officer says the problems have all been addressed. Addressing those problems was costly. The delays pushed the price tag up past one-and-a-quarter-billion-dollars. When the keel was laid in December 2000, delivery was supposed to be September 2003. The Commanding Officer says the problems found in the inspector's report delayed delivery 8 months. Other delays were caused by the fact everything is first of it's kind. "As the lead ship I think every ship will be built more efficiently from the lessons learned on San Antonio." San Antonio returns to Texas after the holidays. The Commissioning Ceremony is set for January 14th. The ship will then return to it's home port of Norfolk as USS San Antonio.