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    Carderock plays role in US gift of a Navy ship model to Australian prime minister

    Carderock plays role in US gift of a Navy ship model to Australian prime minister

    Photo By Neubar Kamalian | A 24-inch model of the Independence-class littoral combat ship USS Canberra (LCS 30)...... read more read more



    Story by Edvin Hernandez 

    Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division

    The Office of the Curator of Ship Models at Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division received a special request to convert a 24-inch model of USS Independence (LCS 2) into USS Canberra (LCS 30) from the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

    Colan Ratliff, a ship conservator at Carderock, received the LCS model from the Pentagon on Sept.16 and had only two days to complete the alterations, as the new model was to be a gift for Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison during a state visit to the United States on Sept. 20.

    “From the communication we got from the Pentagon, we knew that this was going to be something special,” Ratliff said.

    The model is of a new Independence-class littoral combat ship currently under construction. USS Canberra (LCS 30) will be the second U.S. naval vessel named after the Australian capital city.

    USS Canberra’s namesake is HMAS Canberra (D33), the Australian heavy cruiser that was sunk in the Battle of Savo Island during World War II by a Japanese cruiser. She was part of Task Force 44, which was an allied naval strike force between the United States and Australia that defended northeast Australia from attacks by the Axis powers.

    In HMAS Canberra’s honor and for the first time in its naval history, the United States named a ship after a foreign warship, the World War II Baltimore-class cruiser USS Canberra (CA 70). That ship was struck from naval service in 1978.

    To begin the transition of the model from USS Independence to USS Canberra, Ratliff said a new nameplate, ship name and number was needed for the hull, as well as some cosmetic details.

    Unlike other model shops that use outside support for ship modifications, the Office of the Curator of Ship Models at Carderock used all of their own equipment to deliver their clients’ needs in a timely manner.

    “Our reputation is that we are always able to deliver,” Ratliff said. “Everything we do is mostly done in-house, and we do not need to depend on outside sources, which can really slow us down.”

    Ratliff used his famous flag-folding technique to add a profound visual effect on the model of USS Canberra. He mounted an American and Australian flag on the hull’s halyard.

    “I am kind of known for putting very realistic flags on models,” he said. “If you see a wavy flag, you know I worked on it.”

    A ceremonial piece from the actual hull was suggested at the last minute, which Ratliff admits was the most challenging aspect of converting the ship model.

    “We were informed about the ceremonial piece after we had finished, but I was pleasantly surprised that it was just a round disc,” he said. “I probably spent more time refining that piece than any other aspect on that ship model. I had to clean it up, address the outside edges, file it, bevel it and polish it.”

    Remarkably, Ratliff managed to finish converting USS Independence into USS Canberra a day early.

    President Donald Trump presented the ship model to the Australian prime minister in Washington during the state visit.



    Date Taken: 09.20.2019
    Date Posted: 09.26.2019 16:13
    Story ID: 343964
    Location: BETHESDA, MD, US 

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