USS San Antonio Receives Meritorious Unit Commendation

USS San Antonio Receives Meritorious Unit Commendation

Amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17) received the Meritorious Unit Commendation for unparalleled professionalism and exceptional teamwork from Jan. 8, 2010 to April 27, 2012.

Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Adm. John Harvey Jr. was aboard San Antonio Sept. 10 to present the award to the crew.

“This ship, that we picked out of so many, we hold up as an example of what a ship and a crew should be,” said Harvey.

San Antonio’s series of successful accomplishments began in June 2011 when the ship completed comprehensive sea trials in two phases. The crew first methodically tested steering, electrical, navigation, propulsion and damage control systems. Then in a second phase of sea trials, the crew focused on developing crew proficiency and testing the ship’s combat systems.

Cmdr. Neil Koprowski, commanding officer, reported to San Antonio in April 2010 as the ship’s executive officer and assumed command in December 2011. Upon taking the helm he asked the crew to concentrate on four themes: focus, pride, ownership and teamwork.

“The crew took these words to heart and they are now being recognized for the miraculous turnaround of this ship. I couldn’t be more proud of this fine crew and look forward to continuing to serve with them in the future.”

The next milestone passed was Basic Phase unit level training in January 2012. During this qualification the ship focused on unit level training working with Afloat Training Group. After completion of the basic phase, the ship went straight into preparation for the Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) Underway Material inspection.

Later that January, while conducting INSURV preparations, San Antonio proved its readiness through a flawless performance during Bold Alligator 2012, the largest, most complex multinational amphibious assault exercise in the past decade.

The ship’s crew worked with French ship Mistral to certify their landing craft and their “engin de debarquement amphibie rapide” or EDAR, in a launch and recovery training event. The success of this event showcased the advantages of Navy – Marine Corps amphibious operations and their ability to support coalition forces.

In March, San Antonio earned the Battle Efficiency (Battle “E”) award by demonstrating sustained excellence and outstanding achievement during all required certifications and qualifications. The award is based on a yearlong evaluation of training evolutions, exercises and a wide range of command inspections. According to Koprowski, the average age of the crew at that time was just 20 years old and approximately 20 percent of the crew had never received a Battle “E” before.

In April, the crew passed INSURV. During a post-INSURV awards ceremony Harvey praised the crew for its efforts and perseverance. Harvey labeled their success “a culmination of the crew’s hard work.”

In continuation of San Antonio’s eventful year, the ship had a chance to show off to the Baltimore public during a high-profile War of 1812 commemorative event in June.

In the words of the award citation, San Antonio established a benchmark for the entire LPD-17 Class. The crew continues to maintain that level of achievement while conducting pre-deployment training with focus, pride, ownership and teamwork; the four tenants instilled by Koprowski when he assumed command.

Naval Today Staff, September 13, 2012; Image: US Navy