Saturday, November 12, 2016

Haze gray and here for three days. DESTROYER!!

So I'm down along the river having breakfast, and I notice something different on the Gov. Nicholls St. wharf skyline.
That wasn't there before.

I ride around the other side of the wharf and lookie, lookie!!
It's USS Lassen (DDG82), an Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer! She's here for the week-end and they're giving tours!

So I get all metal-detected (just like at the airport, only here there are four sailors with guns and plate carriers watching me "No pictures of the checkpoint please!") and head aboard.
This is NOT a World War Two destroyer like USS Kidd. It's much bigger. She's 509ft long, 60ft wide, and displaces 9,600 tons. Comes with a crew of 320.

Still has torpedo tubes though.
And 25mm guns.

But the welcome mat was out for guests today.
They took us aboard in small groups of ten (And I was in the first group) and took us all around her deck to show us stuff and tell us about her.

Port side 25mm gun.
With warnings and safety instructions. (See, it's not just Ruger and S&W doing this.)
A plaque commemorating her namesake, Lt. Clyde E. Lassen, a Vietnam War rescue helicopter pilot.

Let's read that up close.
No, they didn't name this ship after some gay-rights activist or Democrat party icon. This ship was named for a warrior and meant to go in harm's way.

Here's a sailor standing watch with an M-240. And he does have an ammo can at his feet.

Phalanx CIWS (Sea-Whiz) all ready for close-in anti-missile defense.
Forward 5"62 gun, with a range of 13NM and a rate of fire of 20 rounds per minute. Belt-fed (!!) and pretty much entirely automated.

Comes factory standard with two Vertical Launch Missile Systems (VLMS), one forward here, and one aft. This one holds 32 missiles and the aft launcher holds 64.

Port side torpedo tubes.

Then it was up one deck to see a display of damage-control/firefighting gear.
The young sailor giving this lecture had just turned 21. Average age of the ship's enlisted crew is 25 and they operate this ship in places like the Persian Gulf and the Spratley Islands. These are real Americans, and you won't see them out protesting or demanding "safe spaces".


Sailor on aft port watch with his 240, doing what sailors on watch do.

Other sailors doing what sailors off watch do. They are still young Americans, after all.

Flight deck. This ship deploys with two MH-60R Seahawk helicopters. The tracks on the deck allow the helos to be locked down quickly then pulled into the hangars.

Another display for the we're talking my language.
The M-14 only uses 10-rd box mags here, and they keep them aboard for line-throwing and shark watch. Anything else, it's all M-167/M-4 or the Mossberg shotgun and Beretta 9mm.
I did get to pet the M-14 though. Springfield Armory with a lock on the selector.

Starboard side rigid-hull boats.

This wonderful ship can support infantry ashore with her guns but the main role is tracking enemy submarines in conjunction with Naval Air P-8 aircraft. Her radars are so finely-tuned that they can spot sub periscopes breaking the water surface and this particular ship has played cat-and-mouse with plenty of Chinese subs in the Spratleys. And impressive as she is, the class is aging towards obsolescence already and the newer ships coming out are light years ahead of this one, and are both larger and have much smaller crews due to increased automation.

Too cool indeed, and many thanks to the crew of Lassen for the tour, for their service, and for coming to New Orleans.


  1. The DDG 51 class is a true multi-mission ship - very capable and deadly when it needs to be. Thanks for the report.

  2. Last year at Fleet Week I got a "behind the scenes" tour of the USS Nimitz, DDG-97.

    Very impressive ships, with well trained crews.

    Made me wish I was younger.....

  3. That's awesome! Thanks for the great virtual tour!

  4. Maybe now that Trump has won the election the Navy will put its decision to do away with traditional Navy enlisted rating specialties on hold, pending a decision by the new administration.

    Likewise, without the loathsome Ray Mabus as SecNav, there won't be any more Navy ships named for gay or latino activists.

    And maybe there won't be any more reports of sailors "taking a knee" or failing to salute when morning or evening Colors is sounded.

    1. The ratings issue was mentioned by the sailors who gave our tour. (I won't out them by name or rank here, but three of them explained it very nicely and our whole group was like "WTF" except for one guy who was a Tin Can sailor 1967-1969. His exact quote cannot be reprinted here but he also was not in favor.

    2. I am glad they are getting rid of blueberries. It's hard to take someone in blueberries seriously.
      Give them dungarees and chambray shirts, let them look like US Navy Sailors, Sailors with Ratings!

  5. Happiness is a belt-fed weapon.

  6. I did a two month stint on the USS Bainbridge, DLGN-25. in 1973. She was a nuclear powered guided missile frigate. Picked her up in San Diego, went to Pearl Harbor and sat at anchor for seven weeks, with liberty every day, then disembarked at Long Beach when we got back. Lived with the Bosun's Mates. I suppose you could call it a "formative experience" for a young fellow.

  7. Thank you for this excellent tour - made me feel young again, even though there are decades between the inception of the Lassen and my '44 edition tin can. I appreciate the time it took you to prepare the post.

    1. I thought of you while aboard, Rev. Thanks for your service.

  8. That's 30 hulls into what will soon be a 75 ship class. She's a beauty and it's always great to get on board the working ships on the rare occasions they come up river. Visited a DDG, and a bunch of others, for the War of 1812 NOLA Navy week sail-ins in 2012 and last year. Those 25mm seems to be pretty ubiquitous, they had a Canadian and British frigate with multiples of them. I want one.

  9. WOW.
    Glad she was named for a button recipient!



  10. 9,600 tons puts her right up there with the Tico-class CG and almost 2,000 tons heavier than the Leahy or Belknap CGs.

    I guess they decide if a ship's a DDG or a CG based on whether they want to have it as a commander- or captain-command tour.

  11. She's a good ship, good crew, glad she's back home. I used her a couple of times in WESTPAC for 'things'. Did they give you any tour of the interior?

    1. Nope. Not allowed "inside the skin". Wondered if you knew of her since she was Japan-based the last ten years.

    2. Yep, and that's a shame... That's the really 'interesting' part :-)

    3. Yep, and that's a shame... That's the really 'interesting' part :-)

  12. Anonymous12:39 PM

    Thank-you for sharing these pictures

  13. About your last story. That was epic.
    Check out what Tom Kratman had to write.
    It's a thing of beauty.

  14. Read the MOH citation. Damn. Hovered and landed a helo...during Nam....after dark....with friggin LANDING LIGHTS ON?!? Balls of solid titanium.