USS SAN DIEGO, At Sea -- USS San Diego (LPD 22) became the first ship in the San Antonio class to locally fire the MK 46, 30 millimeter gun weapon systems, Aug. 20.
San Diego, the sixth ship in the class, is equipped with forward and aft MK 46 guns, the same as all others in the class. All ships in the class are able to fire the MK 46 remotely from their internal Combat Information Center. San Diego and USS New York (LPD 19) are the only two in the class to receive modifications to their mounts allowing the gunner to fire the weapons with local control from inside the gun turret. However, San Diego was the first to create the procedure and successfully fire in local turret control, manned by a gunner in the turret.
"It was pretty exciting. I felt more adrenaline than anything else," said Gunner's Mate 1st Class Nicholas Flores. "Quite honestly it doesn't feel any different. A guns a gun, but obviously this is the first time doing this, so we just wanted to make sure we got it done right and had no mistakes. It was good just to get the job done and everybody's safe and sound."
Gunner's Mate 3rd Class Samantha Brimage was the first female gunner in the turret, another 'first' for San Diego and San Antonio class history.
"It was amazing, really loud and all you could see were tracer rounds going out," said Brimage.
San Diego shot her MK 46 guns, both in turret and remote modes, while conducting Combat Systems Ships Qualification Trails, a test of the ship's ability to safely operate her array of combat systems. This was San Diego's first use of her combat systems since construction. In addition to the MK 46's, San Diego also successfully demonstrated chaff launchers, and Torpedo Countermeasures Transmitting Set AN/SLQ-25A, or NIXIE.
San Diego, homeported in San Diego, Calif., was commissioned in her namesake city, May 19, 2012. The ship is currently conducting training and certification in preparation for her first deployment in 2014.