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Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Erica L. Smith, daughter of Sara and Eddie Smith of Cloquet, and fellow crew members aboard the amphibious transport dock USS New Orleans, home ported in San Diego, Calif., recently departed Naval Base Point Loma after completing a six-day deperming evolution in preparation for the ship's scheduled deployment.

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New Orleans is the first San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship to undergo the

deperming process. Deperming a ship reduces the ship's magnetic signature, by erasing the permanent magnetism from ships and submarines to camouflage them against magnetic detection vessels and enemy marine mines. This process is a key element in preparation for New Orleans' future taskings.

Her war fighting capabilities include a state-of-the art command and control suite, a large flight deck and advanced ship survivability features that enhance its ability to operate in the unforgiving littoral environment.

Naval Base Point Loma is the only station on the West Coast with magnetic silencing support capability.

Smith is a 2001 graduate of Cloquet Senior High School and joined the Navy in January 2005.

For more information on the USS New Orleans (LPD-18), visit www. new-orleans. navy. mil/.

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