Sam LaGrone

About Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.


Recent Posts By the Author


Marine Missing from USS Essex Not Found as Search Concludes

Marine Missing from USS Essex Not Found as Search Concludes

Sailors, assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21, conduct search and rescue operations for a missing Marine assigned to 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). US Navy Photo

This post was updated with additional information from 13th MEU. The official status of the lost Marine is missing, not presumed dead.

A Marine who went missing from USS Essex (LHD-2) last week has not been found after the Navy and Marines concluded a five-day search of the Sulu Sea, Mindanao Sea and the Surigao Strait. Read More

Failure of Two Ships to Participate in RIMPAC Highlight Amphibious Readiness Gap

Failure of Two Ships to Participate in RIMPAC Highlight Amphibious Readiness Gap

USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) arrives in San Diego on May 8, 2018. US Navy Photo

This post has been updated to correct the amphibious ships that suffered mechanical problems preventing their full participation in RIMPAC. USS Boxer was sidelined with mechanical difficulties and could not participate in RIMPAC SOCAL. USS Portland (LPD-27) served as the 3rd Fleet command ship for the duration of the exercise. This post has also been updated to clarify the role of USS Bonhomme Richard during RIMPAC.

THE PENTAGON — The two U.S. amphibious warships that were planned to be central to the Rim of the Pacific 2018 exercises were unable to fully participate in the event due to mechanical failures that highlight continued readiness problems with the Navy’s amphibious fleet. Read More

New Surface Forces Instruction Restricts Who Can Earn a SWO Pin

New Surface Forces Instruction Restricts Who Can Earn a SWO Pin

Capt. John F. Meier, then commanding officer USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), and Susan Ford Bales, ship’s sponsor, pin on Lt. j.g. Nicole Oliver’s surface warfare officer device, held inside the ship’s in-port cabin in 2016. US Navy Photo

This post has been updated to specify that there are no restrictions on who an individual ship commander could qualify as an officer of the deck.

The Navy is tightening up who can be qualified as a surface warfare officer and reserving time on the bridge for officers who are on a path to command warships, the commander of Naval Surface Force told USNI News this week. Read More

Wide Swath of Surface Navy Reforms Included in 2019 NDAA Conference Bill

Wide Swath of Surface Navy Reforms Included in 2019 NDAA Conference Bill

Ens. Scott Payne observes the tow line from the flight deck of the guided-missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence (DDG-110). US Navy Photo

This post has been updated to clarify a provision that would change the timing of a warship’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) inspection. The bill calls for “minimal notice” for INSURVs, not “no notice.”

The Senate and House armed services committees agreed on several major reforms to Navy’s surface forces as part of the fiscal year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act in reaction to the two fatal collisions of warships in the Western Pacific. Read More

Navy Asks Hill for $64M for Short-Term Surface Warfare Reforms

Navy Asks Hill for $64M for Short-Term Surface Warfare Reforms

Ens. Samantha Rados stands watch as junior officer of the deck in the pilot house of the guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG-109) on June 26, 2018. US Navy Photo

NAVAL STATION NORFOLK – The Navy is asking Congress for a $64-million adjustment in its budget to begin work on a series of reforms to the surface force following the fatal collisions of two warships in 2017, Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Bill Moran confirmed to USNI News on Monday. Read More

Second USS Fitzgerald Officer Defers Plea to Negligence, Hazarding a Vessel Charges

Second USS Fitzgerald Officer Defers Plea to Negligence, Hazarding a Vessel Charges

USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) returns to Fleet Activities (FLEACT) Yokosuka following a collision with a merchant vessel while operating southwest of Yokosuka, Japan. (U.S. Navy Photo By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kryzentia Weiermann/Released)

An officer charged with negligence for her role in the collision of USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) reserved her right not to enter a plea on Monday during an arraignment before a military judge. Read More