Sea Control 23 – USS Ponce

The USS Ponce was commissioned in 1971 and in December 2011, she was to begin the process of decommissioning. In 2012, a contract was let for a rush retrofit for the ship to be re-deployed as the first of a planned series of mine-countermeasures warships for use in keeping open strategic sea lanes. The USS Ponce (now an Afloat Forward Staging Base) is reported to become a testbed platform for the Laser Weapon System (LaWS) and will deploy with the laser weapon this spring or summer (cf.: “Navy readies to deploy first warfare laser onboard USS Ponce this spring“, RT USA, 17.02.2014; “U.S. Navy to deploy first warfare laser onboard USS Ponce this spring“, Navy Recognition, 18.02.2014; David Sharp, “U.S. Navy Ready to Deploy Laser for First Time“, Real Clear Defense, 18.02.2014). The weapon system is said to be effective against drones and small watercrafts.

Capt. Jon P. Rodgers, former commanding officer of the USS Ponce, discusses how his ad-hoc crew of Sailors and civilian mariners plucked the 40 year old ship from decommissioning’s doorstep and turned it into the most in-demand platform in the Arabian Gulf. Additionally, he shared with us all images from his unclassified post-deployment presentation on USS Ponce:

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More information
Lt. Dawn Stankus, “Two Cultures, One Crew – A perspective from Capt. Jon P. Rodgers“, All Hands Online, 15.03.2013 (with a short Video).

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CIMSECThe Center for International Maritime Security (CIMSEC) is a non-profit, non-partisan think tank. It was formed in 2012 to bring together forward-thinkers from a variety of fields to examine the capabilities, threats, hotspots, and opportunities for security in the maritime domain. Check out the NextWar blog to join the discussion. CIMSEC encourages a diversity of views and is currently accepting membership applications here.

This entry was posted in English, Leadership, Sea Control, Sea Powers.

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