Teamwork, Training: Keys to Navy's Successful Satellite Intercept

Story Number: NNS080222-14Release Date: 2/22/2008 4:48:00 PM
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From Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Capt. Randall M. Hendrickson, commanding officer of USS Lake Erie (CG 70), credited "team effort" and training for the successful intercept of a nonfunctioning satellite Feb. 20. Lake Erie, an AEGIS warship fired a single modified tactical Standard Missile (SM) 3 to destroy the toxic satellite.

Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Bates, the ship's tactical action officer, fired the SM-3. Fire Controlman 2nd Class Andrew Jackson, missile system supervisor, built the manual firing sequence list that facilitated the launch and was the first watchstander to receive indications of mission success.

"Certainly, what the team in the Combat Information Center did was critical," said Hendrickson, "and that goes for every Sailor on Lake Erie.

"Without the engineers we would not get to station on time or have power; without our culinary specialists watch teams would not get fed in order to take the watch; without the navigation and deck Sailors doing their jobs we would not be a warship at sea. What every crew member did was critical," said Hendrickson.

Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Angel Marte ensured the crew was healthy and well-nourished throughout the mission. Marte said, "This crew is outstanding. Being on the Lake Erie isn't just a job or people you only see at work. We really are a family. Everyone, from the top on down, lives up to the saying, 'one team, one fight.'"

Information Technology Specialist 2nd Class Gennarro Hawkins facilitated critical communications between Lake Erie and various shore commands. Hawkins said, "Being on the Lake Erie is a great opportunity for training and expanding my rating knowledge ... at a fast pace."

Bates noted, "Training played a huge role in the success of the mission. This is a new environment with a different set of procedures and guidelines. If it had not been for the training involved we might not have been as successful as we were."

Bates added, "Being part of this mission has been a proud moment in my career."

When Lake Erie returned to Pearl Harbor today the ship was met by Adm. Robert F. Willard, Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, and Rear Adm. Alan B. Hicks, program director, Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense.

Willard praised Hendrickson and his crew in a "bravo zulu" congratulatory message sent earlier to the ship.

"Congratulations on your superb performance," Willard wrote to Capt. Hendrickson and the crew. "This was a critically important mission with strategic implications."

"The hallmark of a trained professional fighting force is to make extraordinary events appear routine, which is exactly what you did," Willard added. "I could not be more proud of your collective efforts ... executed with precision and professionalism."

USS Lake Erie, part of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, is committed to ensuring security and stability in the Pacific and contributing to homeland defense. For more information and photos of Lake Erie's latest mission, visit and click on "Spotlighting USS Lake Erie."

For more news from U.S. Pacific Fleet, visit

Capt. Randall Hendrickson, commanding officer of the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70), watches as Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Bates operates the radar system control.
Official U.S. Navy file photo of CAPT Randall Hendrickson, Commanding Officer of the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70), observes LCDR Andrew Bates, the ship's Tactical Action Officer, conduct a practice engagement in the combat information center during a ballistic missile defense drill several days prior to the successful intercept of a non-functioning National Reconnaissance Office satellite. Lake Erie fired a single modified tactical Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) that successfully impacted the satellite approximately 247 kilometers (133 nautical miles) over the Pacific Ocean, as it traveled in space at more than 17,000 mph.
February 18, 2008
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