The U.S. Navy’s Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) completed an ordnance onload at Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, Jan. 12, in preparation for deployment to the Western Pacific.
The five-day process involved transferring Tomahawk missile containers from storage to the pier, removing them from a protective brace, rotating them to a vertical position, and using a crane to lift them onto the ship, prior to placing them in the missile cells.
“The crew did a fantastic job preplanning and orchestrating the deployment onload,” said Capt. Jen Ellinger, commanding officer of Lake Champlain.
Despite several rainy days and high winds that suspended the operation several times, the onload was completed on schedule. Personnel from Lake Champlain’s weapons department worked alongside civilians from the weapons station to safely and efficiently load the ordnance.
“They were so organized that they were able to overcome the weather setbacks so that we were able to complete the onload and depart on time,” said Ellinger.
While organization is an important factor in working quickly, it is also a critical component of safety. Hot-work, open flames and the use of flammable materials like paint are prohibited during the onload. Use of radio equipment, including cell phones, is also restricted.
As an Aegis-equipped cruiser, Lake Champlain provides air and missile defense to the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson Strike Group. The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser is operated by more than 350 Sailors and carries Tomahawk missiles, standard SM-2 surface to air missiles, two 5-inch dual purpose guns, and two SH-60 Seahawk helicopters.
Petty Officer 1st Class Nathan R. Carpenter, USS Lake Champlain (CG 57)