Posted by: arbeam | January 20, 2014

San Diego Tour January 2014

San Diego Harbor TourOn January 6 and 7, 2014 a fortunate nine Navy League members and guests were treated to another great tour arranged by Byron Faber…this time in San Diego, CA to get away from the gray and chilly weather in the Pacific Northwest.  Although some of us did things in the area on our own before and after, the first of four “official” events was a two hour San Diego harbor tour on Monday January 6.  The tour departed from the heart of the waterfront and headed out toward Point Loma and then back.  Along the way we viewed and heard about various shoreline features, including the submarine base and the air station on North Island.

For the second hour we went the other way in the San Diegoharbor under the high bridge to Coronado and got a close look at the many of the ships from the Pacific Fleet tied up at Naval Base San Diego piers.  The tour was well narrated and we were able to know about each ship we viewed.  The two hours passed quickly.

Following the cruise our group joined for lunch at the Fish House, located on a pier on the bay.  With a view of the carriers Reagan and Vinson in the background, good company and great food, what more could we want?

Well…Byron came up with something unexpected…a specially Seal Trainingarranged tour later that afternoon at the Naval Special Warfare Training Center in Coronado, CA where Navy SEALS receive some of their BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) training.  Although there is a 3 week preparation/conditioning course prior to the start of BUD/S full training starts with Phase 1, lasting about 8 weeks.  It is during this time that the infamous Hell Week takes place.  Those who survive Hell Week and have not dropped out (there is an up to 75% drop out rate) can wear a brown T shirt in lieu of the white one worn earlier.  Additional phases of training take place in other locations over a long period of time.  Finally the coveted Trident badge worn by Navy SEALs is awarded and the graduates become part of the force of about 1300 in the Navy.  A 5 year commitment to the SEALs is required.  SEAL teams are located at Coronado on the West coast and in Virginia Beach on the East coast.   It was a special privilege to walk on the same sand and around the obstacle course and see the facilities where BUD/S is conducted.  An impressive and sobering display of pictures and circumstances of all Navy SEALs who gave their life in the line of duty was in the conference room where we viewed a video of the training process.  Thank you NSWTC and thank you Navy SEALs .  More information can be seen on various web sites which cover Navy SEALs.  This concluded a very full first day…including a beautiful sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

USS Lawrence

The next day, January 7, we assembled in a large van that Byron rented so that we could go aboard Naval Base San Diego for a tour of USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110), a guided missile destroyer of the Arleigh Burke class.  The Lawrence is one of the newest ships of the class, having been commissioned 4 June 2011, and more are still being built.  We were welcomed aboard by commanding officer CDR C.S. Langhofer and others of his command crew.  Lawrence is from the Flight IIA design and as such has two helicopter hangers on deck that can embark two SH-60 LAMPS helicopters.  We toured many areas of the ship and experienced the collective protection system whereby positive interior air pressure is maintained along with 100% filtration of intake air.  This is to protect against NBC warfare and is accomplished by the use of double air locked hatches.  The ship can carry a wide variety of munitions and armaments and has the latest state of the art radar and fire control systems.  Lawrence can simultaneously engage in undersea, surface, air and land warfare operations as required by the mission.  Pretty impressive.  Thank you to USS William P. Lawrence.  For those interested in more information about the Lawrence a visit should be made to

SAN DIEGO (Aug. 14, 2012) The amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) is moored at Naval Base San Diego next to the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8).

SAN DIEGO (Aug. 14, 2012) The amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) is moored at Naval Base San Diego next to the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8).

Lunch this day was at Anchors, a restaurant on base but accessible to the public.  More good food and good company.  From there we got back in the van, and were joined by CAPT Curt Jones, commanding officer of Naval Base San Diego, who accompanied us for a driving tour of the base.  It was interesting to see some of the same things from land that we had seen from the water the day before.   CAPT Jones explained that the base, virtually a 3,000 acre city unto itself, supports 4000 sailors from the more than 60 ships home ported there.  35,000 people work there and provide housing, medical, recreation, shopping and other services as well as ship repair and maintenance.  Part of the base, but at separate locations are Balboa Naval Hospital and regional headquarters facilities across from the downtown waterfront.    Depending on criteria used Naval Base San Diego is considered the 1st or 2nd largest base in the world.   Upon completion we returned to our cars, said thanks and goodbye to CAPT Jones.  More information can be found at


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: