Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Green Bay Comes to Life in Long Beach

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jose Lopez, Jr., Naval Reserve Fleet Public Affairs Center San Diego

LONG BEACH, Calif. (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to USS Green Bay (LPD 20) brought their ship to life during a commissioning ceremony Jan. 24 at the port of Long Beach, Calif.

The Navy commissioned the fourth amphibious transport dock ship of the San Antonio-class to honor the first settlement in Wisconsin, the "city by the bay."

"I have never known a city with such a legendary spirit, sense of community and purpose as Green Bay embodies," said Rear Adm. Michael Shatynski, vice commander, Naval Surface Forces. "All of the qualities that I identify in your great city, I identify in the Navy-Marine Corps team."

Rose Magnus, wife of Gen. Robert Magnus, former assistant commandant of the Marine Corps and ship's sponsor uttered the famous words of a commissioning ceremony, "Man your ship and bring her to life."

The crew answered the call. Within a few minutes the men and women of USS Green Bay lined the rails of the new ship while the call to battle stations rang. A pair of Marine Corps CH-53 Sea Stallions performed a fly-by over the ship.

"This is a thin line," said Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England, about Green Bay's future role in world affairs. "But, it is a thick wall of defense to the lives which we bring freedom."

"Just as a great generation answered the call seven years ago," added England, "so do the Sailors of Green Bay answer that call today. We believe in freedom for all people, and we back our words with deeds."

Though the ship is new to the fleet, Green Bay begins trials and training exercises to prepare her for her future role in the war on terrorism.

"I hold the crew to high expectations," said Command Master Chief Cecilio Macias about the ship's upcoming tests. "During pre-com they did well. Now, we have to get the ship ready to go on deployment."

Green Bay is a multi-task ship in the amphibious Navy that will perform the mission of four previous classes of ships. With her modern capabilities Green Bay will be a key factor in littoral combat operations which call for the projection of sea power deep inland; part of the Chief of Naval Operations' Maritime Strategy for the 21st Century.

Green Bay will accommodate the Marine Corps' "mobility triad," an attack strategy that involves advanced amphibious assault vehicles, landing craft air cushion and the vertical/short takeoff and landing tactical aircraft MV-22 Osprey.

Green Bay is the second ship to bear the name of Wisconsin's largest city. The first was the patrol gunboat USS Green Bay (PG 101), which served from 1969 to 1977. The current Green Bay is also the first Navy warship commissioned in the Los Angeles area since 1994.