APRA HARBOR, Guam -- Sailors aboard the Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Tulsa (LCS 16) and the submarine tender USS Emory S. Land (AS 39) worked together to demonstrate expeditionary combat repair capability to fix an essential ship system.
The crew aboard Tulsa discovered a leak with the ship’s aircraft fueling pump which resulted in the system being unable to refuel either of the ship’s manned or unmanned aircraft. While Tulsa Sailors continued operating at sea, they provided imagery and detailed descriptions of the issue. At the same time, the Sailors from Emory S. Land visited an exactly configured LCS, USS Charleston (LCS 18), to inspect the system in person, assess the potential for repair and plan the required work as soon as the ship arrived back pierside.
“It’s imperative that Sailors take ownership of the ship they serve aboard in order to ensure mission readiness, and I am proud of the way our crew urgently and effectively handled this repair” said Cmdr. Travis Dvorak, commanding officer of Tulsa. “We could not have done it without the support and expertise of our shipmates aboard Emory S. Land.”
Littoral combat ships deployed to U.S. 7th Fleet have used a wide variety of efforts to continue breaking records in operational availability. Sailor ingenuity, timely parts delivery, and Maintenance Execution Teams manned entirely by Sailors have dramatically increased LCS self-sufficiently. Sailors still benefit from off-ship technical assistance across several systems, but crew-led repairs remain the most practical and efficient to keep these ships on station.
"As the operational commander for all LCS in theater and past president of INSURV, I am asked frequently about the Independence variant and their past maintenance and readiness struggles,” said Rear Adm. Chris Engdahl, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7, Commander Task Force (CTF) 76. “I respond that those past issues are well documented, but today, in 7th Fleet, we see these talented rotational crews own the readiness challenges and using Chief and Sailor resourcefulness fix and sustain these ships for the fight.”
When units can work across the force in 7th Fleet, as demonstrated in this case with Tulsa and Emory S. Land, they show what makes the U.S. Navy more capable than any other Navy in the world. In this case, Sailors demonstrated how important expeditionary combat repair capability is to operational readiness.
“With the craftsmanship and extensive resources our Sailors bring to the fleet, Emory S. Land can swiftly provide any maintenance support to any vessel in theater,” said Capt. Andrew Ring, commanding officer, Emory S. Land. “The repair executed on Tulsa is only the latest example of Land increasing the Fleet’s endurance and lethality. We are proud to be a significant contributor to U.S. 7th Fleet’s effort to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
When Tulsa retuned to port for a brief stop, a section of piping from the helicopter fueling pump system was removed from Tulsa by the ship’s force and transported to Emory S. Land for restoration action that included removing the old weld, cleaning and re-welding. Members of Tulsa’s engineering department finalized the process with a successful re-installation.
“I definitely feel a sense of pride in my skillset and my fellow crewmembers when we are able to diagnose a unique problem, construct and execute a plan, and get an impaired ship function back in action.” said Engineman 1st Class Scott Barnesziegmann, assigned to Tulsa. “It’s also reassuring knowing we can reach out to other teams across the fleet and receive top-notch support.”
As a forward deployed naval force, Emory S. Land is tasked to provide expeditionary maintenance, repairs and reload, as well as provide hotel service and logistics support to deployed Guided Missile and Fast Attack submarines deployed in the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility. Emory S. Land is also capable of providing repair and logistic services to deployed surface combatants and ships.
Attached to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, Tulsa is on a rotational deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the region, and to work alongside allied and partner navies to provide maritime security and stability, key pillars of a free and open Indo-Pacific.
As the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed destroyer squadron in Southeast Asia, DESRON 7 serves as the primary tactical and operational commander of littoral combat ships rotationally deployed to Singapore, functions as ESG 7’s Sea Combat Commander, and builds partnerships through training exercises and military-to-military engagements.