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28 January 2012


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William R. Cumming



Seems like an excellent idea.


You do know that in real English a ponce is a pimp. That must have given the matelots down in Pompey a good laugh back in 1982 if it actually arrived.



"Real English?" Ah, the dialect spoken in half your island. Yes, I watch enought British TV to be familiar with the term. USS Ponce is named for the city on the south coast of Puerto Rico. pl

The Twisted Genius

Not only is this an excellent idea, but it makes great sense in an era of (hopefully) shrinking defense budgets. It should cost very little to refit an LPD into a special operations "mothership." Instead of loading the hogs and mike boats in the well deck, the SEALs can just park their toys there. What would you have to change on the flight deck? Probably not a damned thing. Communications upgrades are the only thing needed... and whatever refurbishing it needs to keep a 41 year old ship running dependably. The refurbishing is probably the biggest expense, but it's cheaper than building a new ship. The article states, "the ship will be modified into what the military terms an Afloat Forward Staging Base." That sounds like what any LPD has always been used for. Anyway, special operations forces can turn an abandoned barn into a forward based command center. They could take the Ponce as is and do just fine. I'm sure there are other LPDs and amphibious warfare ships that can be converted like this rather than being scrapped. I'd also like to see a few cargo or fishing vessels be converted into special operations Q ships. That would be sweet.

BTW, back in the 70s I spent a couple of weeks doing amphibious and airmobile ops from the USS Cleveland (LPD-7) in the Philippines. It was pretty nice digs for an infantry lieutenant. The troops down below didn't have it quite so posh.

Bill H.

Yes, when I read the article my reaction was to the effect of, "Holy crap, why haven't they been doing for years?"


And we can't use subs for type of operations..why?



They are too small inside to serve as a "base" for the kind of operation that we are thinking of here. pl

Charles I


SSGN “Tactical Trident” Subs: Special Forces and Super Strike



It seems to me that these mother ships operating in littoral waters, if deployed against a nation state and operating alone will be extremely vulnerable to missiles, mines, and torpedos. They will need a flotilla of missile defense ships to keep afloat. They are simply too big and visible to "sneak" in and do a job against a nation state. Anti pirate work might be successful, but actions against places like Iran will be just too risky without a protective flotilla.


Don't worry about it. They will be well protected pl


I trust they will be and I pray that we do not underestimate the danger or modern anti-ship missiles.


WP. Do not take counsel of your fears. pl

Mark Logan

Lack of suitable ships would be my guess. The Ponce is but one of two remaining Austin class ships. The Marines want about 6 of the things, so they can keep 3 deployed at all times. They have been retiring the Austins as the San Antonio's have been completed.

There has been such a large naval presence in the region for the last decade, I don't think they ever worried about having a place to hang their hats.

The Twisted Genius


Even modern amphibious assault doctrine calls for operating from ships over the horizon. Any special operation emanating from the USS Ponce will probably start even further over the horizon using specialized helicopters or boats to close the distance. They won't be paddling out of the well deck in a rubber raft. Additionally, these kinds of operations will not be part of a full blown amphibious assault subject to a full blown defense. The boyos of Special Operations Command will not serve as the forlorn hope in any such assault. They will move in quietly and stealthily with nary a shot fired until it is too late for the other side.


This a step in the right direction, but what I fear is that a lot more creative rethinking is required to address the military challenges of the future. One thing we already know is that speed and adaptability will become more imperative.

The "specialist" soldier may have to make room for the "omni-operational" one, based on a suitable, scalable and mobile platform.

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