Some 74 years ago, Richard Thelen, a then-18-year-old gunner's mate on the cruiser Indianapolis, vaulted into the air when a Japanese tornado sank the ship on July 30, 1945.
"I remember mostly how quickly it sunk. I had to stay alive out there. Every time I was ready to give up, I felt my dad's grip, and saw his face," said Thelen.
Only 317 of the ship's 1,196 sailors survived after five days afloat in the Pacific. Some died from dehydration; others were killed by sharks. It was the biggest loss of life in the Navy's history.
Now, a new Indianapolis is ready for service.
The littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords launched a Naval Strike Missile on Tuesday, marking the first time the NSM has been fired in the Indo-Pacific region, the Navy told Insider.
The NSM, along with additional firepower from U.S. and Singaporean forces, sank the decommissioned frigate USS Ford as part of an exercise with Singapore's navy in the Philippine Sea on Tuesday.
The U.S. Navy's Littoral Combat Ship was supposed to be cheap, fast, flexible and easy to build.
But after spending $30 billion over a period of around two decades, the U.S. Navy has managed to acquire just 35 of the 3,000-ton-displacement vessels.
Sixteen were in service as of late 2018. Of those 16, four are test ships. Six are training ships. In 2019 just six LCSs, in theory, are deployable.
While that number should increase as the remaining ships in the class finally commission into service, the LCS's low readiness rate calls into question the wisdom of the Navy's investment in the type.
After years of frequent mechanical failures ad embarrassing cost overruns, the Navy finally plans on deploying three hulls from its much-derided Littoral Combat Ship fleet by this fall after a protracted absence from the high seas, the U.S. Naval Institute reports.
Nobody wants the Littoral Combat Ship, and yet here it is.
Lawmakers are giving the U.S. Navy three more littoral combat ships than the service actually wants or needs, because of course they would.