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NEWS | Nov. 22, 2017

“We ain’t done yet,” NSWC PHD resounds founder’s call to support ship

By J.W. Marcum NSWC PHD

USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) called upon the services of Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division (NSWC PHD) for Combat Systems Assessment and Training (CSAT), Nov. 13, expecting nothing less than her namesake’s standard of engineering excellence, which she received.


Engineers and logisticians quickly began conducting assessments aboard the ship post mooring, reviewing onboard combat-weapons systems, information-technology systems, radar, infrastructure, training manuals and hardware. Training was also provided for the crew on site.


The ship’s arrival marked a relevant passage on route to her next deployment, supporting U.S. 3rd and 7th Fleet Area of Operations in the Pacific under Commander, Destroyer Squadron One. After spending several days in port to ensure readiness, the ship sailed forward, “Aegis to sea.”


“The folks at NSWC PHD, with the support of the Program Executive Offices and Naval Sea Systems Command, ensure the ship is in top shape for combat operations,” said DDG 108 Commanding Officer (CO), Cmdr. Vince Fortson. “During this ship-wide groom she is being tweaked to perfection, giving us confidence, training, and shared technical knowledge, all of which makes the ship and crew that much better.”


“From maintenance checks, visual inspections and making any needed repairs, NSWC PHD brings the experience and knowledge of the technical shareholders who support us,” continued Fortson. “Staying operational is our top priority, and coming here for a groom means we will receive the necessary training and ongoing support that we need.”


“It’s not only an opportunity for us to fine tune your systems and work with your teams, but it also provides our teams a ton of invaluable experience, strengthening us as well,” said Mike Horton, NSWC PHD Air Dominance Department system engineer. “As our CO likes to say, ‘our support does not end when you leave our harbor.’”


“Technical experts, logisticians and cyber experts are all available 24/7 through the help desk,” said Fortson. “Every time we’ve asked for help from NSWC PHD we’ve received it, quick and reliable. It’s a big team and they’re here to support us.”


Prior to stopping at NSWC PHD for combat weapon systems grooming, DDG 108 was conducting numerous flight operations, several replenishments at sea, multiple small boat excursions, and also participated in an integrated live-fire event with three other cruisers and destroyers while serving in a Carrier Strike Group alongside the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70).


Homeported in San Diego, DDG 108 is an Arleigh Burke Class guided-missile destroyer, equipped with the Aegis Weapons System. DDG 108 is capable of sustained combat operations supporting forward presence, maritime security, sea control, and deterrence. The crew is trained to execute multi-mission tasking to include air, surface, undersea, space and cyber warfare.


Regarded as the “Father of Aegis,” Wayne E. Meyer first reported for duty at Naval Ship Missile Systems Engineering Station (NSMSES), Port Hueneme, as director of engineering in 1967. At the time, he was serving in the rank of captain in the Naval Ordnance Engineering Corps. What would become the foundation of NSWC PHD, NSMSES, called “Nemesis,” was known for the “Three-Ts:” Terrier, Tartar and Talos missiles. The station would later be renamed Naval Ship Weapon Systems Engineering Station, and provide a focus on terminal defense, over-the-horizon capabilities, in-service engineering and total-strike weapons systems. In 1975, Meyer was selected as admiral and assumed duties as the founding project manager of Aegis Shipbuilding. He retired from active duty in 1985.


The Aegis Weapon System was first installed on a test ship in 1973. The system uses sophisticated hardware and software in conjunction with powerful phased-array radar to track numerous targets and launch missiles to destroy them. Aegis has been described as the first totally integrated air weapon system in the history of the U.S. Navy and the world's preeminent maritime combat system.


Meyer’s legacy at NSWC PHD still provides inspiration. He was known for several key phrases, which he ingrained upon the culture of the command, these are: “Build a little, test a little, learn a lot; Whatever you do, do it the best you can;” and “We ain't done yet!”


He was present alongside his wife at the christening of DDG 108 in Oct. 2008, but passed away a month before the ship was commissioned in Oct. 2009. Crewmembers claim that Meyer’s spirit still sails with them aboard the ship.