Naval Expeditionary Warfare Director: Modern Amphibs Offer Services that Save Marine Lives
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
WASHINGTON — The amphibious warfare ship is identified by its ability to move Marines and Sailors ashore, but it also provides an array of operational, logistical and medical support in a mobile platform that affect operations and even save the lives of Marines and Sailors. The new Flight II amphibious platform dock ship (LPD) will offer medical services unavailable on the older dock landing ships they will replace.
The sea base offers “mobility and survivability that does not require us to hunker down at night,” Maj. Gen. David W. Coffman, director of expeditionary warfare in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, said July 24 to an audience of the Amphibious Warfare Industrial Base Coalition (AWIBC) on Capitol Hill.
“The decision to go to an LPD platform for LPD Flight II allows us to put on our poster an aim point of 38 ships, every one of them surgical-capable,” said Coffman, an experienced Marine Expeditionary Unit commander. “I have been denied courses of actions to do missions all over the world because I could not convince the admiral or general that I could get the Marine or Sailor to a surgical table in an hour.
“When we have 38 ships that are all full-system airports, seaports, hospitals, brigs [for pirates], it’s going to be an amazing capability for the guys behind us that are going to employ that and be able to distribute that capability,” he said. “I could tell you a thousand stories of Marines, Sailors and others who are alive because we have these ships we have a surgeon on and can patch them back together.
“There is not a better testament of our respect and appreciation for the young folks we put in harms’ way if we will get you out and you will live. If we can get you to that ship, I can give you 98, 99 percent assurance that you will make it back home.
“God bless the Army, it’s hard to bring it all with you and set up sustained ops ashore and bring everything,” Coffman noted. “It’s awful nice when the Navy provides you all the things they provide you in this home away from home.”