NAS WHIDBEY ISLAND


USS San Antonio Concludes OOL Support, Highlights LPD Capabilities

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Story by LTJG Michael Torres on 12/08/2016
MEDITERRANEAN SEA The amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17) concluded its support of Operation Odyssey Lighting (OOL), having completed a relief-in-place with the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1), Dec. 4, 2016.

Precision air strikes in support of the Libyan Government forces fighting Daesh in Sirte, Libya, had been conducted from San Antonio since Oct. 23.

"This deployment and this operation have proven the combat capabilities of the LPD class ship," said San Antonio Commanding Officer, Capt. Darren Nelson. "But it is because of the effort of the crew that this ship is able to conduct such dynamic operations. They have performed fantastically throughout this deployment."

A-H1W Super Cobras from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit's (MEU) Air Combat Element (ACE) provided the precision airstrike capability from the San Antonio. Over the course of the 43 days, the crew successfully carried out dozens combat sorties.

"OOL demonstrated the great flexibility of the LPD-17 class ships and their ability to support a wide array of mission requirements from the flight deck," said San Antonio Air Boss, Lt. Cmdr. Peter Keus.

"We have spent 72% of the days underway this deployment at flight quarters. The Sailors and Marines on our flight deck are very hard working and extremely flexible. I am very proud of them," Keus went on to say.

Like all amphibious ships, San Antonio's operations required a cohesive effort between the Navy and Marine Corps team.

"There was great communication with the ACE, which allowed us to plan properly for the operations. We adjusted to the optempo smoothly," said Petty Officer 1st Class Shawn Johnson, San Antonio Air Department Leading Petty Officer. "Both the Marines and Sailors understood that there was a common mission and after the initial integration we worked very well and became one element out on the flight deck."

San Antonio completed a relief-in-place with Wasp on Oct. 23. Wasp had been conducting precision air strikes in support of OOL as of Aug. 1. Wasp has now conducted another relief-in-place with San Antonio to continue the mission.

"This deployment has kept the entire Wasp Amphibious Ready Group extremely busy," said Commander, Amphibious Squadron Six, Capt. F. Byron Ogden. "We've innovatively supported OOL from both the Wasp and the San Antonio, demonstrating significant air strike capabilities the Navy and Marine Corps team brings to the fight. With San Antonio moving on, Wasp can continue the fight against ISIL in Sirte."

San Antonio is deployed as part of the Wasp Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations. Commander, Amphibious Squadron Six commands the Wasp ARG, which consists of San Antonio, Wasp, and amphibious dock landing ship USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41). The 22nd MEU is currently embarked on the Wasp ARG.

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