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


John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group Quietly Leaves for Deployment, Homeport Change

John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group Quietly Leaves for Deployment, Homeport Change

Seaman Zachary Greco, from Center, Pennsylvania, handles line aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stockdale (DDG-106) during a replenishment-at-sea with the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) on Sept. 2, 2018. US Navy Photo

This post has been updated with a statement from Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wisc.).

The John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group left Naval Base Kitsap last week for a deployment and an eventual homeport change with no public notice, a U.S. official confirmed to USNI News on Monday. Read More

USS Ronald Reagan Resumes Flight Operations After Helicopter Crash; Some Injured Sailors Sent Ashore for Treatment

USS Ronald Reagan Resumes Flight Operations After Helicopter Crash; Some Injured Sailors Sent Ashore for Treatment

An MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter, assigned to the “Saberhawks” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 77, prepares to land on the flight deck of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold (DDG-65) on Sept. 19 2018. US Navy Photo

The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan has resumed flight operations following a Friday crash of an MH-60R Seahawk helicopter on the carrier’s flight deck, according to a statement from U.S. 7th Fleet. Read More

Navy Working Through Plan to Hit 80 Percent Hornet Mission Capable Target

Navy Working Through Plan to Hit 80 Percent Hornet Mission Capable Target

A U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet, with Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 151, is parked on the flight deck aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) US Navy Photo

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Navy is working through how it will try and hit the ambitious readiness target set by Secretary of Defense James Mattis for Hornet and Super Hornet fighters, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition James “Hondo” Geurts said on Tuesday. Read More

Navy Developing New Mine Countermeasures USV for Littoral Combat Ships

Navy Developing New Mine Countermeasures USV for Littoral Combat Ships

A developmental, early variant of the Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle (CUSV) autonomously conducts maneuvers on the Potomac River Test Range on March 28, 2018. US Navy Photo

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Last week Naval Sea Systems Command won Pentagon approval to develop a mine countermeasure unmanned surface vehicle as part of the Navy’s ongoing effort to replace its aging MCM infrastructure. Read More

UPDATED: F-35s Grounded for Engine Inspections Following Crash Investigation Findings

UPDATED: F-35s Grounded for Engine Inspections Following Crash Investigation Findings

Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) John Jacob directs an F-35B Lightning II with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 121 on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD-1) on March 5, 2018. US Navy Photo

THE PENTAGON — All U.S. and international variants of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter operations were paused to conduct a fleet-wide inspection of a part in the aircraft’s engine, according to a Thursday morning statement. Read More

Experimental Navy Test Ship Weathering Hurricane Michael Off the Coast of Panama City; Warfare Center Evacuates

Experimental Navy Test Ship Weathering Hurricane Michael Off the Coast of Panama City; Warfare Center Evacuates

Sea Fighter (FSF-1) in 2005. US Navy Photo

UPDATE: According to ONR, Sea Fighter successfully weathered Hurricane Michael and is currently off the coast of Panama City waiting for clearance to pull into port.

An experimental Navy catamaran is fighting Hurricane Michael in the bay of Panama City, Fla., unable to take to sea to avoid the Category 4 storm that made landfall early afternoon on Wednesday. Read More

SECDEF Mattis Wants 80 Percent of Super Hornets Mission Capable by Next Year

SECDEF Mattis Wants 80 Percent of Super Hornets Mission Capable by Next Year

Airman Louis Calderon wipes down the window of an F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to the “Fighting Checkmates” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 211 on the flight deck aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) on June 2, 2018. US Navy Photo

Pentagon leadership has set an aggressive timeline to improve the health of the Navy’s strike fighter force, according to a new directive from Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis obtained by USNI News. Read More

First F-35Bs Operate off of HMS Queen Elizabeth as U.K. Works Toward a Native Carrier Strike Group

First F-35Bs Operate off of HMS Queen Elizabeth as U.K. Works Toward a Native Carrier Strike Group

Cmdr. Nathan Gray RN, Makes the first ever F-35B Lightning II jet take off from HMS Queen Elizabeth on Sept. 25, 2018. Royal Navy Photo

ABOARD HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, OFF THE COAST OF NEW JERSEY — The Royal Navy took the next step to reestablishing its own carrier force this week when two F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters landed on the deck of its new carrier for the first time . Read More

U.S. Aircraft Carrier Deployments at 25 Year Low as Navy Struggles to Reset Force

U.S. Aircraft Carrier Deployments at 25 Year Low as Navy Struggles to Reset Force

USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) transits the Pacific Ocean while underway in the U.S. 3rd Fleet area of operations on Aug. 4, 2018. US Navy Photo

This post has been updated to include an addtional statement from the Navy as well as an explanation of how USNI News tabulated its data.

THE PENTAGON – Aircraft carriers – the most visible tools of U.S. military power – are spending more time in maintenance and at home even as the Pentagon has declared it’s entered a new era of competition with China and Russia. Read More