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CG 70 Lake Erie
"Dont Give Up the Ship"

Red, white and blue are our National colors. The blue alludes to water; the nine red and white sections combine to suggest the US fleet action of the Battle of Lake Erie. The naval sword and musket, crossed to imply strength and cooperation, are combined with the American Eagle to depict defense of, and devotion to, country.

The carronades are emblematic of the American firepower that was so decisive in the Battle of Lake Erie. The olive branches symbolize peace, achieved and maintained through strength and military preparedness. The trident, red for courage and valor, is a traditional naval symbol that typifies an AEGIS cruiser's capabilities on the surface, subsurface, and in the air.

USS Lake Erie's primary mission is to operate with aircraft carrier battle groups or as part of surface action groups in extreme threat environments well into the 21st century. The purpose of the ship is to detect, classify and track hundreds of potential targets simultaneously in the air, on the surface, and under the sea. It can destroy targets using a variety of weapons: ship and helicopter launched torpedoes, deck guns, surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missiles, rapid-fire close-in weapons, and electronic jammers and decoys.

USS Lake Erie is the Navy's Theater Wide Ballistic Missile Defense Test Ship. Her mission is to test the feasability of providing Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) from the sea. It is a daunting challenge, one that the Lake Erie and all who sail in her are excited to face. With the proliferation of Ballistic Missiles on a global scale, this new mission is extremely important.

USS Lake Erie (CG-70) was built by Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine. The USS Lake Erie's Keel was laid on 6 March 1990 and she was launched on 13 July 1991. Upon completion of her sea-trials after construction, Lake Erie transferred to the Pacific Fleet and was commisioned on 24 July 1993 as the twenty-fourth TICONDEROGA Class Guided Missile Cruiser in her homeport of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. USS Lake Erie was the first US Navy warship to be commissioned in Hawaii.

The USS Lake Erie was one of the first two US Navy first ships to receive TBMD system modifications and SM2 Block IV-A missiles, as part of the US Navy Theater Ballistic Missile Defense (TBMD). It was scheduled to conduct at-sea testing, develop core doctrine and tactics, and serve as focal points for developing the very latest theater ballistic defense technology. The USS Lake Erie, along with the USS Port Royal, has served as an operational unit for the development of doctrine and training, in addition to performance validation of the Navy Area TBMD Program.

As part of a seven ship battle group, led by the aircraft carrier USS Constellation (CV 64), the USS Lake Erie entered the Arabian Gulf, on January 11, 1995. The Constellation Battle Group deployed on November 10, 1994, and spent most of December in the western Pacific. The battle group's arrival strengthened U.S. presence in the gulf and supports U.N. initiatives in the region, including Operation Southern Watch. In March, the USS Lake Erie took part in a two-week, anti-submarine warfare (ASW) exercise in the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman (February 5 through 19). The purpose of Exercise Sharem 110 was to gather data and evaluate tactics to counter the growing third-world diesel submarine threat. Throughout the exercise, USS Topeka (SSN 754) simulated a diesel submarine, while USS Lake Erie (CG 70) and USS Vandergrift (FFG 48) rounded out the surface forces. The first week of the exercises took place in the southern Persian Gulf. The second week was held outside the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf of Oman. The ships of the Constellatin Battle Group returned to their home ports in May.

The USS Lake Erie took part in Pacific Joint Task Force Exercise (PACJTFEX) 97-1, from February 10 through 21, 1997 off the Southern California coast. PAC JTFEX 97-1 is part of a series of exercises previously named "FLEETEX." The new name reflects the increasing focus on preparing naval forces for joint operations with other U.S. military services.

During a deployment with the Constellation Battle Group, the USS Chosin (CG 65) turned over the duties of being regional Air Defense Commander to USS Lake Erie (CG 70) in July 1997. In early August 1997, the USS Lake Erie was invoveled in two major Theater Ballistic Missile Defense (TBMD) exercises in the Arabian Gulf named ARABIAN SKIES. During the exercises, the Constellation Battle Group demonstrated a viable TBMD capability using the existing command and control architecture. The USS Lake Erie, with the USS Constellation (CV 64) Battle Group, then departed 5th Fleet's Area of Responsibility (AOR) on August 17, 1997 on schedule to continue its routine six-month deployment in the waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The Constellation Battle Group entered the Arabian Sea on May 16. After departing the Arabian Gulf, the Constellation Battle Group concluded its tour in the 5th Fleet with a joint-combined exercise with military forces from Pakistan. Dubbed Inspired Siren 97-2 and Inspired Alert 97-2, the exercises incorporated both surface combatants and air components, respectively. The purpose of this four-day training mission was to exercise the joint-combined naval and air capabilities of both countries, improve their respective levels of readiness and interoperability, and enhance military relations between the two nations.

In August 1998, modifications were made aboard the USS Lake Erie and the USS Port Royal, which consisted of modifications to the Aegis weapons system on board Ticonderoga-class cruisers; a modification, known as linebacker, and which uses specialized computing and radar software and hardware to provide improved tracking and reporting capabilities, and when coupled with the STANDARD Missile-2 Block IVA, intercept Tactical Ballistic Missiles (TBM). Ballistic missile testing afforded Port Royal and other participants an opportunity to flex the capabilities of the current Aegis weapon system against a live ballistic missile target and gave a representation of how the modified system tracks and destroys TBMs

The USS Lake Erie and USS Port Royal were then to conduct at sea testing, develop core doctrine and tactics, and serve as focal points for putting the TBMD technology in the hands of the warfighters in the rest of the fleet. Sailors on board both ships were also to provide early feedback to the technical community and influence the final design of the TBMD system. Successful LINEBACKER sea trials at the Pacific Missile Range, Kauai, Hawaii took place in the fall of 1998.

On December 17, 1999, the USS Lake Erie (CG 70) returned to its homeport at Pearl Harbor Naval Station after completing a six-month deployment to the western Pacific and Arabian Gulf. The Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser had deployed with the USS Constellation (CV 64) Battle Group.

In March 2000, the US Navy began ALI live fire tests and had successfully conducted the first Controlled Test Vehicle. The USS SHILOH had conducted the first ALI live firing test in September 1999 and had successfully demonstrated the launch and flight sequence through third stage separation as well as verified flight stability at extreme altitude. Though the original plan had been to conduct all Flight Test Round shots from USS SHILOH, the need for further testing conflicted with that ship's operational schedule. Therefore, it was decided by the CNO to shift to USS Lake Erie to conduct the next firings in the ALI testing program. Lake Erie, already equipped with Area Linebacker modifications, was, as of March 2, 2000, receiving ALI equipment modifications in Pearl Harbor and was to conduct system checks and training to support the planned test firings.

In early July 2000, the US Navy announced that USS Lake Erie (CG 70) had been designated the Navy's theater-wide test ship for the AEGIS Lightweight Exoatmospheric Projectile intercept flight-test series. For the next two years, USS Lake Erie would be dedicated to conducting these critical tests. USS Lake Erie's homeport in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, made the ship's participation in tests at the Pacific Missile Range Facility off Kauai cost-effective with the Navy anticipating that the ship would not deploy operationally again for about two years.

In January 2001, the USS Lake Erie (CG 70) conducted the Aegis Light Exo-Atmospheric Projectile (LEAP) Intercept Flight Test Round (FTR-1A) mission in the mid-Pacific using the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii. Equipped with Aegis LEAP Intercept (ALI) computer programs and hardware, Lake Erie launched an SM-3 missile demonstrating third stage airframe stability and control through nominal kinetic warhead fourth stage separation. The SM-3 is the Navy's new exo-atmospheric missile developed to counter theater ballistic missile (TBM) threats outside the atmosphere.

On February 9, 2001, the USS Lake Erie (CG 70) sortied from Pearl Harbor to assist along with Coast Guard boats and cutters with rescue efforts after a surfacing U.S. submarine, the USS Greeneville (SSN 772), struck a Japanese fishing vessel at approximately 1:45 p.m. (HST) about nine miles south of the Diamond Head crater off Honolulu, Hawaii. The fishing vessel, named "Ehime Maru", rapidly flooded and sank within 10 minutes in 1,800 feet of water. Twenty-six of 35 aboard were rescued. The "Ehime Maru" had been on a fishing and research mission when the USS Greeneville (SSN 772) rapidly surfaced and collided with its stern. The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine was, at the time, conducting an "emergency ballast tank blow," a procedure used to bring subs to the surface in the event of an emergency, although in this case it was used for training, on a one-day cruise with 16 military and civilian guests.

The USS Lake Erie deployed with the STENNIS Battle Group in support of Operation Enduring Freedom on November 29, 2001.

On January 25, 2002, the Missile Defense Agency and the Navy conducted a successful flight test in the continuing development of a Sea-Based Midcourse (SMD) Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS). Flight Mission-2 (FM-2) involved the launch of a developmental Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) and kinetic warhead (KW) interceptor from the Aegis cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) and an Aries target missile launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. The target was launched at 9 p.m., EST, January 26. About eight minutes later, Lake Erie, equipped with Aegis Lightweight Exo-tmospheric Projectile (LEAP) computer programs and equipment, and having tracked the target with the Aegis SPY-1 radar and developed a fire-control solution, launched the newly-developed SM-3. The SM-3 acquired, tracked and diverted toward the target, demonstrating SM-3 fourth-stage Kinetic Warhead (KW) guidance, navigation and control. Although not a primary objective, during this early developmental test, the KW was aimed at the target, resulting in a hit-to-kill intercept at approximately 9:18 p.m., EST.

The primary objective of this test was to evaluate SM-3 fourth-stage Kinetic Warhead guidance, navigation and control, with extensive engineering evaluation data collected for analyses in preparation for future flight tests. It was the fourth in a planned series of nine developmental test flights for the SMD program. The mission also included the first fully operational SM-3 with a live Solid Divert and Attitude Control System to steer the KW into the target.

As of mid-2002, USS Lake Erie was the Chief of Naval Operations Test Ship for the following programs:

  • Aegis Light Exo-Atmospheric Projectile (LEAP) Intercept (ALI)
  • SM-3 Standard Missilie
  • Navy Theater Wide (NTW)
  • Theater Ballistic Missile Defense (TBMD).

Lake Erie was one of two ships designated to test the SM-3, which is designed to intercept and neutralize the threat of ballistic missiles to the United States and its allies. Lingle was pleased with the capabilities of the Hawaii-based ship.

USS Lake Erie (CG 70) got underway for its first deployment in almost five years on August 23, 2004. The ship operated for seven weeks in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) in 2003 and conducted a training availability on the West Coast for six weeks in the spring of 2004, but had not made a deployment since a 1999 Western Pacific deployment with the USS Constellation (CV 64) Battle Group. The deployment is aimed at providing the ship and crew an opportunity to continue to hone the operational skills they exhibited during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2004, where Lake Erie worked closely with the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) as part of the Bilateral Force. During this deployment, Lake Erie was scheduled to be in the 7th Fleet AOR for four months and be involved in several large-scale exercises.

The Battle of Lake Erie

At daybreak on September 10, 1813, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's lookout sighted Captain H. Barclay's fleet of six vessels northwest of Put-in-Bay, Ohio. With the American Fleet on the lake, the British supply line was cut, and Barclay had to fight or abandon Fort Malden and all the Northwest.

When preparing for the battle, both Commanders had two critical factors to consider: guns and the wind. Captain Barclay was armed with mostly long guns; Commodore Perry used mostly carronades. Carronades needed fewer men, could be loaded and fired faster, and their heavier caliber gave Perry a 2-1 firepower advantage at close range, but they had less than half the range of long guns. To use his advantage, Perry would need the 'weather gauge', that is, have the wind at his back so he could choose the distance of battle. Perry's plan was for his two brigs LAWRENCE and NIAGARA to engage the two largest British ships, the DETROIT and the QUEEN CHARLOTTE. Barclay's strategy was to soften up the American brigs with his longer guns before Perry could get close enough to use his carronades.

When the nine American ships sailed from Put-in-Bay at 7:00 a.m., the wind advantage was with the British. Perry maneuvered his fleet, but was unable to gain the weather gauge. At almost 10:00 a.m., he decided to engage the enemy when the wind suddenly shifted to his favor. The British furled sails, hove to, and prepared to fight in line of battle.

Just before the battle opened, Perry hoisted his battle flag to the topmast. It was a large blue banner with the crudely inscribed words 'DONT GIVE UP THE SHIP'. These were the dying words of his friend, Captain James Lawrence, who was killed in battle in June, and for whom Perry's flagship was named. The DETROIT opened the battle at approximately 11:45 a.m. At 12:30, when Perry opened fire, he thought he had the advantage, but Jesse D. Elliot, Commanding Officer of the NIAGARA, mysteriously kept his ship out of the battle. The now unchallenged QUEEN CHARLOTTE also pounded the LAWRENCE, and by 2:30, four of every five men on the ship were killed or wounded, and all of her guns were out of action. Perry took a small boat to the undamaged NIAGARA and sailed toward the British line. The DETROIT and the QUEEN CHARLOTTE were badly damaged by American carronades. Barclay was wounded and every other British commander was killed or wounded. When they saw NIAGARA coming, the DETROIT and QUEEN CHARLOTTE tried to maneuver into better firing positions, rammed and locked together. Perry broke through the British line, raking the ships on both sides with heavy guns. It was over in only 15 minutes; the British struck their colors.

Following the battle, Perry sent his famous message: "We have met the enemy and they are ours."




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