Aboard the USS Independence-- With a crew of just 40 sailors, everyone aboard the Littoral Combat Ship Independence -- the General Dynamics and Austal-made LCS, bidding against Lockheed Martin's USS Freedom for the ultimate Navy contract for 55 ships -- is expected to wear multiple hats.
Lieutenant Phil Garrow, the ship’s Main Propulsion Assistant, said last week while the ship was underway from Key West to Mayport that “everyone had to go to school to get out of their comfort zone,” of performing a few very specialized tasks prior to being able to staff the ship. Standing on the bridge of the ship, Garrow pointed to one of his engineers, who he described as his “resident expert on the MTU engines,” explaining that he in addition to that, “he gave me my flu shot this year. He’s also one of our range masters for gunnery, he’s one of our SAR [search and rescue] swimmers—every one of us had to go to a lot of force protection schools that I’d never gone to before. Me being the engineering officer, I’m also the auxiliaries officer, electrical officer, main propulsion system and the damage control assistant…the learning curve was significant.”
Officer 2nd Class Katrina Williams agreed, saying that “rank has no
privilege here. If my XO goes out and does sweepers, then everyone does
It was a
refrain heard time and during the two days between
Since the crew is so small, and each crewmember performs multiple tasks, “the concentration level has to be higher” Renshaw said. “Everyone has greater responsibility" on the LCS Operations Specialist (OS1) Willie Smith explained one day on the ship's mess deck. "We’re laying the groundwork as we go.”
(Pics by Paul McLeary)