Steamboat Springs Chief Naval Petty Officer Jed May, a native of Steamboat Springs, recently achieved a rare distinction when he was appointed to be a Navy Craftmaster and given command of his own boat.
“The U.S. Navy normally reserves command of seagoing warships to commissioned officers,” Cmdr. A.D. Amidon said in a news release. “Chief May is a general enlisted active duty service member (GI) who has the rare opportunity to command a 220-ton Navy landing craft capable of deploying worldwide embarked in the well deck of amphibious warships.”
Cmdr. Amidon is the commanding officer of Assault Craft Unit One (Surf Riders) based in Coronado, Calif. He said May’s landing craft LCU 1629 is capable of transporting 300 fully equipped, battle-ready Marines and all of their equipment need in wartime situations. The primary purpose of Navy LCUs is to land Marines on any beach across the world.
May, the son of J. May, of North Routt, and the grandson of Bill and Cynthia May, has 13 years of naval service and holds three Marine Corps martial arts belts earned while training with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit based in Camp Pendleton, Calif.
The Surf Riders’ LCUs can carry troops or as much as 125 tons of cargo, according to a Navy Web page. That means they can transport two M1A1 tanks.
The boats are not fast — they are rated at 12 knots (12.7 mph). They are 135 feet long and 29 feet wide, and average more than 40 years in age, having seen action in Vietnam and Somalia.
— To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com