27 September 2011

USS PONCE (LPD 15) – “Proud Lion”

Yesterday I paid a surprise visit to the USS PONCE, a tough-as-nails ship with an even tougher crew. PONCE is one of our Navy’s oldest active ships (commissioned in 1971) and had actually begun decommissioning preps before being recalled last year for one more deployment.
She got underway in August (of last year) and recently completed her 9-month deployment to the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean where she conducted maritime and theater security operations, which included no-notice tasking to support Operation ODYSSEY DAWN (Libya Ops).
There was certainly no shortage of challenges on this deployment (we talked about them here and here), but her crew pulled together as a team, stayed focused on their mission and executed without missing a beat.
With her final deployment in the history books, the “Proud Lion” will now (once again) begin her final journey to decommissioning. And while her last deployment was no “walk in the park,” I’m quite certain there could not have been a finer crew to get the job done, bring her home and carry on the proud legacy of all those who have served on PONCE before them.
I’m very glad I had the chance to walk this ship with the CO, get into the spaces with the CHENG and meet some really great “get ‘er done” Sailors.
Well done!
All the best, JCHjr


Anonymous said...

Admiral, warms this conventional steam engineer's soul to see the 4-Star Fleet Admiral touring one of, if not THE most challenging spaces in our Navy's Surface Fleet. A 40-year old steam plant following a 9-month high optempo deployment!! Our LPDs have been a work horse in the Naval service and the engineers that steam them deserve plenty of credit. Danger lurks in every 40 year old corner of that plant where all 3 sides of the fire triangle operate in close proximity. Best years of my career were spent steaming with those awesome engineers! Thanks for sharing your obvious pride with these Sailors and your readership. V/R JR

Anonymous said...

I was a BT3 on the Ponce from 1988-1990. I had a great time, made some good friends and great memories. I am looking forward to attending the Decommissioning ceremony.JM