Guest humor by David Middleton
Climate Change Weather Disables US Navy’s Newest Ship!
Brand-new US Navy warship trapped in Canada amid cold and ice
A brand-new U.S. Navy warship has not moved from Montreal since Christmas Eve and will spend the winter stuck in Canada due to cold and ice.
The USS Little Rock – unveiled in a ceremony on Dec. 16 in Buffalo, New York and attended by nearly 9,000 people – has not moved far since due to adverse weather conditions that kept the warship trapped at bay in Canada, the Toronto Star reported.
The warship known as a Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) cost $440 million to build and stretches 387 feet in length and weighs 15 tons more than the Statue of Liberty. It is capable of traveling more than 46 miles per hour.
Such combat ships are described as agile and designed for rapid transitions between missions with minimal manning. They are used for surface warfare, counter piracy and drug operations, as well as other first response missions.
“The temperatures in Montreal and throughout the transit area have been colder than normal, and included near-record low temperatures, which created significant and historical conditions in the late December, early January time frame,” Lt.-Cmdr. Courtney Hillson told the newspaper.
“Keeping the ship in Montreal until waterways are clear ensures the safety of the ship and crew, and will have limited impact on the ship’s operational schedule.”
The crew stationed on the ship was provided with cold-weather clothing and will focus on mission training while the delay continues.
USS Little Rock was “built by Marinette Marine on the shores of the Menominee River in Marinette, Wisconsin“. She had just been commissioned in a ceremony in Buffalo and was making a “routine visit” to Montreal on her way to her future home port, Mayport, Florida…
The USS Little Rock is a Freedom-class littoral combat ship built by Marinette Marine on the shores of the Menominee River in Marinette, Wisconsin. Designed to operate off coastlines and in shallow water, littoral combat ships can carry out anti-submarine, anti-mine, anti-surface, and amphibious warfare missions. Little Rock and her sister ships are small, fast, and agile.
Unfortunately for the crew, the ship was not agile enough to escape the rapidly advancing winter ice. Commissioned in Buffalo, New York on December 16, the ship stopped in Montreal for a routine visit before heading for the East Coast via the St. Lawrence Seaway.
Once in Montreal, a “historic” cold snap caused sea ice to form faster than expected along the seaway, which authorities promptly closed for the season. According to Weather.com, the percentage of the Great Lakes covered in ice increased from three percent on Christmas Eve to 30 percent by January 6.
The St. Lawrence Seaway is the only way in and out of the Great Lakes to the open ocean, and it typically stays closed until March. The Navy has accepted that the 389-foot long, 3,400-ton Little Rock won’t be able to get under way to her home port of Mayport, Florida until the seaway reopens.
Clearly USS Little Rock was designed to be an agile pirate-hunting warship in an ice-free world, because “the ship was not agile enough to escape the rapidly advancing winter ice.” Good thing the Pentagon dropped climate change from its mission list… Losing your newest ship to “rapidly advancing winter ice” would have been seen as a defeat in the war against
weather climate change. Now it’s just an opportunity for the crew to focus on “mission training” until spring.
In a totally unrelated bit of trivia, my second cousin, the late RADM. Roderick O. Middleton served on two of Little Rock’s predecessors. He was a gunnery officer on CL-92 USS Little Rock (1946-1948) and he was commanding officer of CLG-4 USS Little Rock (1964-1965). Oddly enough, CL-92 and CLG-4 were the same ship. RADM Middleton also had a tour of duty at NASA, where he was involved in the Apollo program (1965-1969).