18 June 2012


Earlier this month USS PONCE (AFSB-I) got underway on a historic deployment as our first-ever Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB). The timeline of this deployment is remarkable when you consider that just six months ago she finished her “final” operational deployment and was on schedule to be decommissioned. From the moment we received the order to execute, our shipyard workers and staffs at MSC, NAVSEA, and CNSL (and later, the PONCE crew) worked around the clock to complete the maintenance and refurbishments necessary for her new missions. We went from zero-to-complete in just three months – a remarkable feat for an unplanned and very significant overhaul of a 42-year old ship.

Having recently commemorated (and written about) the Battle of Midway, I am reminded of the herculean effort from the Pearl Harbor shipyard workers to get the USS YORKSTOWN (CV 5) turned around after the Battle of Coral Sea and back into the fight at Midway. YORKTOWN was hit hard at Coral Sea and initial estimates were that it would take three months to return her to service…ADM Nimitz needed her back in the fight in just three days. Our Naval engineers and shipyard workers at Pearl Harbor worked around the clock to make the necessary repairs and three days later she got underway from Pearl Harbor just in time to join Task Force 16 in the Battle of Midway – the turning point of the war in the Pacific.

Just like the men and women at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in 1942, our PONCE teams worked together to overcome many significant challenges (technical and bureaucratic) to fix her and send her back to the fight on a very tight timeline. I could not be more pleased with the hard work and commitment we received from all involved. PONCE and her crew will soon arrive on station, ready for tasking. All the best, JCHjr


Unknown said...

Plenty of credit belongs to the skilled trades workers in the Hampton Roads area. The proud heritage of constructing and repairing ships at sea continues to be a hallmark of this seafaring community. Please relay a Thank You from the crew, PONCE is on station doing the Nation's work largely because of these patriotic shipbuilders and their families. V/R JR CO PONCE

ADM J.C. Harvey, Jr USN said...

JR, will do! Sail safe out there and please give my very best to your fine crew. We're all very proud of the Proud Lion back here. All the best, JCHjr

Bud Brinker said...

I was certainly glad to hear that Ponce is still alive and doing our country proud. Godspeed to her and her crew in their future missions.

Walter F. Brinker
Plankowner, USS Ponce

JR said...

Mr Brinker, Shipmate, the high standards the plank owner crew set at commissioning I am certain enabled the decision to extend her service! From the brink of Decom to Deployment, PONCE is on point with clear stacks and collecting drains! Thanks much for your service and I will relay your post to this fine crew.