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      1. CG 57 | USS LAKE CHAMPLAIN

        CG 57

        Namesake:

        Battle of Lake Champlain

        During the War of 1812, the British launched a joint land and naval attack from Canada down Lake Champlain into New York State. Under the command of General Sir George Prevost, an army of 11,000 men left the Saint Lawrence frontier on August 31, 1814, to march down the west side of the lake. The American army consisted of 3,300 regulars and militia under the command of General Alexander Macomb. Rather than risk a battle against such overwhelming odds, Macomb fell back south of the Saranac River below Plattsburgh. Prevost occupied the village on September sixth and waited for his naval support to arrive. This was a fleet of four ships and twelve gunboats, mounting a total of 92 guns and carrying 800 men, commanded by Captain George Downie.

        The American naval commander on the lake, Captain Thomas Macdonough, had long sensed that control of the lake was essential to the defense of New York. He had therefore built up a fleet of 4 ships and 10 gunboats that mounted a total of 86 guns and 850 men. When Downie's ships entered the lake, Macdonough deployed his vessels in a narrow channel across the bay from Plattsburgh and ordered anchors dropped. On September 11, the British ships rounded Cumberland Head to open the battle at a range of 500 yards. For two hours a gun duel raged with no marked advantage to either side. The British were forced to advance on Macdonough without bringing all their guns to bear. Macdonough then swung his ships about bringing fresh guns to bear on the British, forcing Downie to strike his colors. Within 30 minutes the battle was over, with the four British warships seized or destroyed, 168 of their crew killed and 220 wounded. American casualties were slightly less-104 killed, 116 wounded-but no ships were lost. With the loss of his naval arm, the British commander was forced to retreat back to Canada. Prevost was relieved, but to no avail-Lake Champlain proved to be the last battle of the war in the North. It was one of the few times in history that ships at anchor won a naval battle.

        While this battle is not as well known as the battle on Lake Erie, commanded by Captain Oliver Hazard Perry, it proved to be most crucial. The outnumbered force, commanded by General Macomb, was all that stood between the British and New York City. Had the British succeeded in capturing their objective, the outcome of the war could have been altered drastically. Lieutenant Colonel John Murray of the attacking British force was heard to have said after the battle: "This is a proud day for America-the proudest day she ever saw."

        Historical Notes:


        USS LAKE CHAMPLAIN departed on a six-month deployment to the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean in 2000. Steaming with the USS JOHN C. STENNIS (CVN 74) battlegroup, LAKE CHAMPLAIN traveled from San Diego through the snowy seas of Korea, around balmy Thailand, and into the arid climate of the Arabian Gulf. Here the ship participated with international navies in Exercises Neon Falcon and Arabian Gauntlet, and conducted Maritime Interception Operations (MIO) in support of the ongoing United Nations sanctions to stop the flow of illegal oil out of Iraq. In Neon Falcon and Arabian Gauntlet, LAKE CHAMPLAIN improved interoperability and fostered good will with forces from Europe as well as Arabian Gulf coalition partners. It also conducted tactical maneuvering drills, communications exercises and simulated mine avoidance operations.

        Additionally, LAKE CHAMPLAIN conducted MIO operations with Navy Seals in the North Arabian Gulf. LAKE CHAMPLAIN caught a number of illegal oil-smuggling vessels operating in conjunction with other allied units. MIO was a complex evolution consisting of tracking, querying and boarding of suspect vessels in addition to health and comfort inspections while waiting for them to be taken over by a coalition nation. During the deployment, the ship visited Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand, among others, as well as port calls in Townsville, and Mackay, Australia.

        USS LAKE CHAMPLAIN took part in June 2001 in Exercise Kernel Blitz (Experimentation), an Extending the Littoral Battlespace Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration.

        In 2002, USS LAKE CHAMPLAIN deployed for a seven-month WESTPAC/Arabian Gulf deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom/Southern Watch, conducting Inspections under Maritime Interception Operations (MIO) in cooperation with coalition ships. Operations consisted of 135 Visit Board Search and Seizure boardings, 200 Gulf Sentry missions, 500 hours of flight operations, with coalition forces from all over the world.

        Ship's Crest:

        The Shield: Dark blue and gold are the traditional colors associated with the Navy and symbolize the sea and excellence. The green and whit border around the blue field represents the Lake Champlain and the surrounding terrain where two significant naval battles were fought. The first, the Revolutionary War Battle of Valcour Island, is symbolized by the white star on the crest. The second, the War of 1812 Battle of Lake Champlain, is represented by the anchor and cannon on the blue field. The partitions of the border suggest rotation or turning and allude to the American ships) movements during the Battle of Lake Champlain. The vertical position of the naval gun exemplifies the vertical capabilities of the AEGIS CG class naval ship.

        The Crest: The eagle bearing in its talons the Naval swords: symbolizes martial strength and the American victory at Lake Champlain. The two swords also represent two previous ships named Lake Champlain. The aggressive action and flight capabilities of the eagle highlight the second ship, the aircraft carrier CV 39, active during the Korean War. The wavy bar represents the Lake Champlain itself. The gold four-pointed star indicates the four missions of a modern AEGIS cruiser, i.e., to offensively engage aircraft. missiles, submarines and surface ships.

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