Sailors and Marines from Littoral Combat Group One (LCG-1) returned home to Naval Base San Diego and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam after participating in the International Maritime and Naval Exhibition for South America, known as EXPONAVAL. (1)
The group apparently consisted of USS Somerset (LPD 25) and USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) plus an embarked Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF-Peru) as well as a Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment.
The group (are two ships really a group?) apparently conducted humanitarian and disaster response exercises, fisheries enforcement activities, and community projects.
I’ve been unable to find out any additional information about the group or its intended purpose.
I don’t know if this was a one-time, ad-hoc group that was given a catchy name and will never be repeated or if this is some kind of new and idiotic concept the Navy is implementing.
Taking the name at face value, there is no way that a single LPD and a Burke can form a useful, effective combat group for high end combat. This leads us into the next observation.
This kind of non-combat exercise is absolutely worthless and is all the worse when our ships are chronically under-maintained and undertrained. Why aren’t we spending the time teaching our officers and crews how to conduct basic navigation and seamanship in a safe manner without colliding with giant, hulking commercial ships? Why aren’t we spending our time developing and practicing peer war doctrine and tactics? And so on. There are so many better things our combat ships should be doing.
Now, I’m not against interacting with South American countries. Quite the opposite, in fact. South America is a major exporter of problems for the US and we ought to take an active interest in the region. However, there are much better means of interacting than putting wear and tear on top of the line warships that are desperately in need of maintenance and training.
I’ll be keeping an eye out for an recurrence of this Littoral Combat Group idiocy.
(1)Commander, US Pacific Fleet website, “Littoral Combat Group-1 Returns From South America”, 26-Dec-2018,https://www.cpf.navy.mil/news.aspx/110635