Thursday, May 8, 2014


Battle of Jutland
31 May - 1 June 1916
If you've been following the blog for a while, you might have noticed that I tend to be a bit "aircraft centric." (No, really...)

From time to time you'll see an armored fighting vehicle trundle across the screen but I'm mostly about aircraft. Military aircraft. Though there was a post a while back with pictures of non-aircraft carrier type ships, that's been rare. Normally it's things that fly that I'm all about.

Today I break from that tradition. For I do love things that tend to be painted gray nowadays and steam in harm's way. (Whether the shade be battleship-gray or haze-gray, it's all the same to me.) In other words, I also have a thing for warships. And not just the gray ones.

I must confess, whenever I head down to Norfolk, or out to Sandy Eggo, I have the urge, no, the compulsion to head down to the Naval Station and see the warships. I get as excited as a little kid spotting a toy store or an ice cream truck in these instances.

For instance, last month out in Sandy Eggo as The WSO and I were traversing the Coronado Bridge (leaving Coronado), I spotted haze gray warships off to the right...

"Whoa, stop the car WSO, I need to get a picture. WARSHIPS!"

"Dad. I am not stopping the car on the Coronado Bridge."

"But I can see at least two Arleigh-Burke class destroyers and - wow - I think that's a cruiser..."

"Dad. I. Am. Not. Stopping."

"<sigh> Alright."

Warships, I like them.

Now some of you may be wondering what I mean by a warship. (I also have a few readers who may be wondering, "What's a warship?") So let me enlighten you. A warship is capable of meting out death and destruction to the enemy and surviving to bring it's crew home again. The photos which follow are what this Old AF Sarge thinks of when someone says "warship."

USS Constitution
An old warship.

HMS Victory
Another old warship.

USS Wisconsin
A retired warship of WWII through Desert Storm vintage.

USS Nimitz
Nuclear powered aircraft carrier, no guns but definitely a warship.

USS Cowpens
An Aegis* cruiser.

USS Donald Cook (foreground) and other warships meting out death and destruction.
(USS Donald Cook, DDG-75, is an Aegis equipped Arleigh-Burke class destroyer.
As are the two other ships in the near distance. In the background - on the left - is what
appears to be an Aegis cruiser.)
USS Virginia
Not haze gray but a very potent warship.

USS Nitze
Arleigh-Burke class destroyer

USS Curts
Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate
(About as small as I would go and still call it a warship.)
USS New York
San Antonio class Landing Platform Dock (LPD)
(Some would not consider her a warship. I'm sure the 360-man crew
and her 700 embarked Marines would beg to differ.

700 Marines can mete out a lot of death and destruction!)
Expect to see more in the warship department here in the future. Not to mention famous naval battles. I have neglected this area of warfare long enough!

John Paul Jones
Father of the US Navy
"I wish to have no connection with any ship
that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm's way."

Bonnehomme Richard and her consorts.
Captain John Paul Jones commanding.

* The Aegis Combat System is an integrated naval weapons system developed by the Missile and Surface Radar Division of RCA, and now produced by Lockheed Martin. It uses powerful computer and radar technology to track and guide weapons to destroy enemy targets. The name comes from Greek mythology: The Aegis (Ancient Greek: Αἰγίς), as stated in the Iliad, is carried by Athena and Zeus, but its nature is uncertain. It had been interpreted as an animal-skin or a shield, sometimes bearing the head of a Gorgon.


  1. Nimitz, No Guns? What are those two R2D2 like things on the front of the Bridge then?

    1. Actually those are not guns on the front of the island. (They are some kind of radar-thingies.) But you're right (sigh), the carriers do have one or more CIWS mounted on the periphery of the flight deck. Those technically are "guns" but when I said "guns" I mean 76mm (frigates) or better, like 5-inch (destroyers and cruisers).

      I should have been more clear though, you're right. Carriers do have guns. But they're relatively "little."

    2. Just yankin your chain. Although a CIWS vs a speedboat would not be a fair fight.

    3. August 1982 happened to be on the Kitsap Peninsula going toward the Hood Canal Floating Bridge when the Ohio came by. May sound trite but that was about the scariest thing I've ever seen. Pure menace.

    4. @Juvat - Heh (on the first part) - concur (on the second).

      @WSF - Ohio class missile boat. That there is "end of the world" death and destruction just waiting to be unleashed. Not trite at all, for those that understand, the purpose of the Boomers is terrifying!


  2. "Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate (About as small as I would go and still call it a warship.)"

    There are a number of Tin Can Sailors who sailed in DEs that displaced about 1250 tons who'd argue that point.

    1. I meant in modern times Skip. I should have been clearer.

      I would consider any class of Tim Can to be a warship. And the sailors who manned them to be warriors.

      (I'd forgotten how small the DEs were. I guess they loom large in my memory based on their war record.)

    2. I meant in modern times Skip.

      Ooooh... THAT'S gonna leave a mark!

    3. I think at this point I will just step away from the keyboard. (My equivalent of "put the shovel down" - the hole is deep enough.)

    4. ;)

      At this point you could take a page from David Farragut:
      "Damn the torpedoes... ...full speed"

  3. Re: the Virginia. Wonder if that's the last sunshine for 6 months or the first sunshine in 6 months? Takes a unique breed to work them boats!

    1. I have a number of friends who were submariners, they are definitely unique.

    2. SN2 did four years in Boomers. I always thought he was smarter than that. :-)


  5. From an old Tin Can Gunners Mate: USS Southerland, DD 743, 2400 tons.
    A ship with guns and engines but no radio is a warship that doesn’t know where to go or what to do when it gets there.
    A ship with guns and radios but no engines is a warship that knows what to do and where to go but can’t get there.
    A ship with radios and engines but no guns is a 500 million dollar portable radio.

    1. Sorry, NOW that's too funny!

    2. That is funny.

      But your last comment, I think the LCS costs more than 500 mil. But it goes real fast. Sort of.

  6. A couple of things, The quote by JPJ is one of my favorites. Love it. Second, since they stopped taking the toll to cross the bridge (east to west) few people who stopped at the top didn't make it to the other side.

    1. Same here SoCal on the JPJ quote. And on the second part - good thing The WSO was driving!

  7. I really need to find my cheater cards... I knew every damn Soviet and Chinese ship, weaps and ranges, but I had to look up our own guys... sigh

    1. Time marches on.

      (I used to be able to identify nearly every aircraft in the Air Force by engine sound alone. Nowadays?)

  8. I kinda always liked the ol' bubblehead quote:
    "There are only two kinds of ships.
    Submarines and targets."

    1. I have heard that before. A lot.

      I have a few friends who were submariners. Bubbleheads if you will.

    2. And two kinds of Planes, fighters and targets.


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