USS Constellation Association News.
Send the webmaster any news pertaining to the USS Constellation
If you would like to submit an article to the StarScope, contact Brian Moore

This Page was last updated:

2015 USS Constellation CVA/CV 64 Washington DC Reunion
Check in: Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Check out: Monday, September 14, 2015

Sheraton Pentagon City Hotel
900 South Orme Street
Arlington, Va. 22204

Guests must make own reservations by calling 1-800-325-3535 and identify themselves as member of USS Constellation group.

Single daily rate (includes breakfast for 1): $99.00 + tax
Double daily rate (includes breakfast for 2): $109.00 + tax

Room rates will be available three (3) days before and after the reunion
Cut-off date to reserve a room is Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Complimentary parking
Complimentary shuttle service to and from Metro
Complimentary shuttle service to and from Reagan National
Tours have not been set up yet


Photos of the 2014 Branson Reunion

Photos of the 2014 Texas Mini Reunion

Here's a link to a fine article published December 6, 2013 in the U-T San Diego Newspaper:

Important and Interesting USS Constellation Scrapping Links

USS Constellation Last Voyage Site

Voyage of the Carbon Foss

Brooklyn Navy Yard Tribute Wall

Click Here for our 2014 Memorial List Page

Recent Navy News:

NNS150223-20. Navy Surgeon General, Force Master Chief Applaud Science, Collaboration at U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3 Cairo, Egypt

By Capt. Dora Lockwood, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Public Affairs

CAIRO, Egypt (NNS) -- The Navy's surgeon general and Hospital Corps force master chief (FORCM) completed a visit to U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3 (NAMRU-3), Feb. 17.

Vice Adm. Matthew L. Nathan, Navy surgeon general and chief, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, and FORCM Sherman Boss received an overview of current projects and ongoing infectious disease surveillance efforts in Egypt and Africa while visiting NAMRU-3 facilities.

During an all-hands call with Sailors, civilians and Egyptian scientists, Nathan applauded the research and scientific work being done by the employees at NAMRU-3.

"I am humbled by your work, your knowledge," said Nathan. "I want you to know how much I appreciate what you do here. I want you, the Egyptians, the military and the civilians, to understand that even though my office is very far away, I'm very much aware of what you do."

Nathan emphasized the importance of the work and the significant impact the scientific research has on global health.

"There are so many diseases in the world. Some diseases are carried by birds, some by mosquitoes, some by the water, some in the soil and some are transmitted from person to person," said Nathan. "This region and more and more of the world are depending on you to identify, to understand and to help prevent these diseases. There are so many people around the world who do not know you, yet whose lives will be changed for the better because of you and what you do."

Nathan concluded by expressing his appreciation for the long-standing collaboration between the U.S. Navy and the Egyptian scientists.

"You have kept the science and the goodness of the NAMRU in Egypt going for many, many years," said Nathan. "Thank you for being great partners and great examples of what different nations can do when they come together for the rest of the world. You make the world a better place."

NAMRU-3, established in 1946, is the oldest Department of Defense overseas military medical research facility and one of the largest research laboratories in the North Africa-Middle East region. The NAMRU conducts research and surveillance to support military personnel deployed to Africa, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia. NAMRU-3 works closely with the Egyptian Ministry of Health, the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

U.S. Navy Medicine is a global health care network of 63,000 Navy medical personnel around the world who provide high quality health care to more than one million eligible beneficiaries. Navy Medicine personnel deploy with Sailors and Marines worldwide, providing critical mission support aboard ship, in the air, under the sea and on the battlefield.

For more news from Navy Medicine, visit

NNS150223-15. Abraham Lincoln's Medical Department Trains Crew Members on CPR

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher Huot, USS Abraham Lincoln Public Affairs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- On board the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) Sailors assigned to the medical department work hard to keep the crew trained and knowledgeable, especially when it comes to cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

CPR is an effective life-saving technique that, when used correctly, saves lives and sustains the functions of the nervous system to prevent brain damage to a victim.

"All year long on board Lincoln we are offering CPR classes," said Lt. Cmdr. Tarail Vernon, ship's nurse. "Our goal is to have as many Lincoln Sailors as possible trained in CPR as we continue through our overhaul."

CPR classes are held twice a month and particular ratings on board, including Sailors assigneed to the security department, are required to complete this vital training. CPR instructors utilize an exemplary training program, provided by the American Heart Association, that teaches the skills of adult CPR, the usage of the automated external defibrillator, child CPR and the significance of these skills.

According to Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Arthur Thomas, by having every Sailor on board trained in CPR, the reach of medical response across the ship is extended, which increases the chances of saving someone's life in the event of an emergency. Sailors are required to re-qualify every two years, but are advised to seek additional training to refresh themselves.

"By holding bi-monthly training, we are increasing the likelihood that our Sailors will be able to perform life-saving actions instinctively and automatically in order to save a shipmate's life if the situation arises," Vernon said. "Training in CPR is the key to life. It is better to know CPR and not need it than to need it and not know it."

Sailors who have completed CPR training are issued a CPR Heart Saver card from the American Heart Association. This gives CPR-qualified Sailors the ability to lend a hand if a situation should arise, no matter where they may be.

"The first responder can be the most important part of saving another human life," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Samirah Abdullah, a CPR facilitator and administrator. "In the moment you may be scared but the training kicks in."

For more information on CPR, see the American Heart Association website or contact your medical officer.

Lincoln is currently undergoing RCOH at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries in Newport News.

Lincoln is the fifth ship of the Nimitz-class to undergo an RCOH, a major life-cycle milestone. Once RCOH is complete, Lincoln will be one of the most modern and technologically advanced Nimitz-class aircraft carriers in the fleet and will continue to be a vital part of the nation's defense.

For more news from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), visit

NNS150223-12. Navy's Voluntary Education (VOLED) Program Realigning

From Naval Education and Training Command Public Affairs

PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- Naval Education and Training Command (NETC) will administratively realign the Navy's Voluntary Education (VOLED) program under Naval Education and Training Professional Development and Technology Center (NETPDTC) in Pensacola, Florida, Feb 23.

According to Rear Adm. Mike White, commander of the Naval Education and Training Command, the move will be administrative and will have zero impact on the purpose, mission or abilities of VOLED.

"For the Sailor using VOLED, the change will be seamless and transparent," said White. "In fact, each of the 33 Navy College Offices worldwide and the Virtual Education Center (VEC) will remain unchanged; they will retain the same physical locations, the same telephone numbers, the same email addresses, and the same commitment to serving service members."

VOLED will continue to support Sailors with dedicated, committed assistance and counseling to help them develop tailored plans to meet their educational and credentialing goals.

VOLED is currently celebrating 40 years of Sailors' educational successes through diverse programs including tuition assistance, numerous testing programs, the Navy College Program for Afloat College Education (NCPACE) - where Sailors can complete courses while on type 2 and 4 sea duty, and the United Services Military Apprenticeship Program (USMAP) - which provides Sailors with the opportunity to earn a certificate of apprenticeship from the U.S. Department of Labor by documenting tasks of their Navy rating while on the job.

Regardless of the educational goal, Navy College Offices and the Virtual Education Center are available to assist Sailors in accelerating their future.
For more information on Navy Voluntary Education, visit the Navy College Program website:

For more news from Naval Education and Training Command, visit

NNS150223-11. USNA Hosts STEM Educator Training

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nathan Wilkes, U.S. Naval Academy Public Affairs

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (NNS) -- The U.S. Naval Academy's (USNA) Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) program hosted a STEM Educator Training Workshop for K-12 teachers Saturday, Feb. 21, in Rickover and Michelson Hall.

More than 70 STEM educators participated in the day-long event. USNA midshipmen and faculty provided a hands-on and project-based learning experience in topics such as design, bio-terrorism, physics and mechanics, applied math, alternative energy, computer programming and cryptography, and engineering.

"Today we have formal educators of elementary, middle, and high schools from as far away as Chicago and Memphis, as well as teachers from Maryland, and they are rotating through project-based learning modules in STEM topics," said Angela Moran, USNA professor of mechanical engineering and STEM Outreach director. "The educators rotate through three of five offered modules this morning and in the afternoon they will learn about engineering design and focus on putting that into practice in their classrooms."

One of the main goals of the STEM Educator Training Workshop is to increase instructor excitement for learning STEM topics so that they may share what they have learned with their students.

"The more enthusiasm that they can apply in the classroom, the more excited the students will be about math, science, and technology," said Lt. Cmdr. Tim Shivok, USNA physics instructor. "The United States needs more teachers that teach math and science so that we can develop people that will study these fields in the future."

The day-long workshop offered K-12 teachers an opportunity to engage more fully in their educational fields by exploring and testing ideas in a creative and hands-on environment.

"It's a great experience because the facilitators can make the workshop apply to each of the different grade levels and the learning topics are very diverse," said Helen Shields, biology teacher at Crofton Meadows Elementary. "I think that it's great that this free opportunity is offered to educators and that it's able to give us a different perspective of STEM topics."

The culminating event of the workshop was an engineering design competition. During the competition, the teachers formed groups and were tasked with designing a STEM project for their classrooms that incorporated the educational tools and lessons that they learned from the modules earlier in the day.

"This experience has been very eye-opening for me because I'm seeing many aspects of different STEM programs that I can take back to my own students," said Ultra Vaughn, freshman biology instructor from Chicago, Illinois. "The modules were very fun and I think the kids would really get into some of the ideas that I have seen today."

"We tell the teachers that the most infectious way of teaching is to learn right along with their students," said Moran. "When they are excited about what they are doing, the kids can see the difference and pick up on it."

For more news from U.S. Naval Academy, visit

NNS150223-10. Leave-Use It or Lose It

From Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Military service members' February leave and earning statement (LES) will carry a reminder that as of Oct. 1, any accrued leave more than 60 days will be lost.

Since 2008 Sailors have been allowed to carryover up to 75 days of leave each fiscal year as authorized by Congress. That authorization will end at the end of fiscal year 2015 after which leave carryover will revert to 60 days. In general, any leave balance in excess of 60 days on Sept. 30, 2015 will be lost.

Service members' LES may have an incorrect use/lose leave balance. Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS) is reprogramming pay systems to account for the return to the 60 day leave carryover by the June 2015 LES.

Sailors should check their LES and talk with their Command Pass Coordinator (CPC) for help understanding their correct use/lose balance.

There are some specific exceptions. Sailors with more leave days than the authorized carryover limit, who are also assigned to hostile fire or imminent danger pay areas or deployed on a ship or mobile unit for at least 60 continuous days, may apply for special leave accrual (SLA) to retain any excess leave days. This request is typically done at the command level. Instructions on how to apply for and administer SLA are outlined in MILPERSMAN 1050-070.

Sailors are encouraged to work with their commands to manage their leave balances throughout FY15.

Commands with questions on leave policies should contact their local Personnel Support Detachment (PSD) or call the NPC Customer Service Center at 1-866-U-ASK-NPC (1-866-827-5672).

For more news from Chief of Naval Personnel, visit

NNS150223-09. Meet SPAWAR's New Chief Engineer

By Tina C. Stillions and Krishna M. Jackson, SPAWAR Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Rear Adm. John W. Ailes is chief engineer (CHENG) for the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR). His background includes ballistic missile defense, combat system development and multiple tours on cruisers and destroyers, specializing in combat systems. He has served as the executive officer of the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) and as the first commanding officer of the guided-missile destroyer USS Chaffee (DDG 90).

His most recent leadership role was as the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Mission Modules major program manager.

"In my last job, we developed mission packages and equipped ships that are now deployed," said Ailes during an interview Feb. 19. "It's very different from my new role as the systems engineer for all of SPAWAR's systems and the Navy's technical authority over cybersecurity and information technology."

Despite the differences in running the LCS Mission Module Program to now serving as SPAWAR's CHENG, Ailes has the right skills and outlook to move forward with the organization's cyber warfighting and interoperability vision.

"SPAWAR has a central role as the Navy's designated technical authority for information technology and cybersecurity," he said. "Our team has the Navy's premier expertise in how to defend a network against a cyber-attack and how to exchange data across networks. We work with other System Commands and the Program Executive Offices to provide them with the specifications and standards they can incorporate in the systems they build."

On the topic of cybersecurity, Ailes believes it is critical to look across networks and enclaves from a holistic perspective and view them as adversaries do.

"This perspective enables us to prioritize our focus on the greatest risks currently facing the Navy enterprise. We can also use it to address cybersecurity upfront in the design of the new systems the Navy acquires, develops and installs," he said. "However, it is not enough just to defend the networks against outside attack; we also need to monitor what is going on inside them."

In some of the recent and highly publicized exploits of commercial networks, there was a huge exfiltration, or pushing out, of data.

"The key to preventing this is to watch network traffic to ensure large quantities of data cannot be transferred without anybody noticing. Continuous, network-wide monitoring is critical," said Ailes. "You have to be watching for data exfiltration in all the places that have potential entry points for your adversary. We have the cyber defense expertise to address this issue at SPAWAR and we're codifying it in specifications and standards that we are making available to all Navy programs."

Ailes said achieving interoperability across systems that are procured as individual systems is key to his role as CHENG.

"As the engineering directorate in SPAWAR, we look across networks and systems to deliver a capability that is interoperable by design," he said. "We achieve that goal through specifications and standards as well. One of the things that we're doing is going through ships and airplanes, determining where the interfaces are, and then documenting them. We are very focused on getting systems to work together, since this is needed to complete a task or mission."

Working the "system of systems" problem is central to ensuring the interoperability of systems the Navy is collectively fielding in order to provide capability to the warfighter. It is equally critical from a cybersecurity perspective. Developing and fielding systems in a stovepipe manner creates seams an adversary can exploit to access a system or network.

Ailes said there are concrete steps to take to make networks more secure, such as looking at what can be done to detect adversaries trying to enter networks and determining what actions we can be taken if a breech is detected, something he said is well understood in the world of command, control and computers and information.

"We live in that world all the time," said Ailes. "SPAWAR has years of experience in securing networks and we're now able to leverage that expertise across the larger Navy, especially as the threat expands beyond outward facing webservers, which have historically been the space where attacks occurred."

With more than 30 years in the Navy, Ailes has travelled the world onboard many cruisers and destroyers. During his first tour at sea aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) as a strike warfare/communications officer, he had the honor of meeting Rear Adm. Grace Hopper, a pioneer in early computer technology who helped develop the computer language known as COBOL.

Hopper asked Ailes and his team to identify how many computers were on the new Aegis cruiser.

"I told her we really didn't know how many computers we had and that the answer would depend on where you draw the line. Is a wristwatch a computer? It has a computer in it. How far down do we go," he said. "She told us it was important to know and, ironically, that's what we're doing today. We're counting all the computers and seeing how they are wired together and what vulnerabilities they have. We are using this knowledge to engineer them to be more secure."

A lot has changed since Ailes' days as a young officer on Bunker Hill. He has learned to stay ahead of the ever-evolving world of information technology. It is one of the biggest challenges faced by the information warfare community, along with balancing costs.

"Technology is moving very quickly. One of our challenges is to maintain the rigor that provides Sailors with a good training package and good logistics support, while also providing capability as fast as technology is going," said Ailes. "In our overarching design process, we have to think about our plan to make a system that we can refresh with new technology. I would tell you that keeping pace and ensuring we provide the Sailor with the most capability that we can is certainly a challenge. It's also part of the excitement of the engineering job."

To help the Navy keep up with the rapid advancements in information technology, Ailes believes cloud computing will offer an advantage over the classic client-server infrastructure currently used. He sees the move to the cloud as a positive step toward increasing security for Navy computing, while at the same time decreasing costs. He believes the cloud architecture, with its service-oriented nature, is inherently scalable and simplifies security, due in part to the reduced attack surface and the ability to provide controls at appropriate points in the network.

"The cloud offers the promise of being able to add capability over time, without having to change the applications," said Ailes. "Moreover, if everything is in the cloud, it can be protected in the cloud. We can provide layers of security and back-up data in multiple places that are physically dispersed. Our challenge is of course that in the Navy, we must also be able to operate while disconnected from the larger cloud, and we are wrestling with that now."

As the Navy prepares for increased budget constraints, Ailes said it is important to think about how to ensure SPAWAR continues delivering robust capabilities while lowering costs. He points out that continually replacing obsolete systems to k

NNS150223-08. USS Vandegrift Bids Farewell After 30 Years of Naval Service

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Liam Kennedy, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate USS Vandegrift (FFG 48) concluded 30 years of service during a decommissioning ceremony at Naval Base San Diego, Feb. 19.

Vandegrift's keel was laid on Oct. 15, 1982 and commissioned on Nov. 24, 1984. Vandegrift and other Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates were built to replace World War II-era destroyers and 1960s-era frigates.

"This ship has been very integral to the Navy's mission since its commissioning. The ship and its class have been the workhorses of the Navy for over 30 years," said Cmdr. Kevin Ralston, commanding officer of Vandegrift. "This ship has carried over one million tons of military hardware in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, in 2004 was the first ship to visit Vietnam since 1975 and served for six years overseas as forward deployed to 7th fleet."

Approximately six former commanding officers and 400 former plank owners, crew members and their families were in attendance for the ceremony.

"When you bring up the name Vandegrift, you're talking on the levels of Bull Halsey and Chester Nimitz," said Maj. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson, commanding general, 1st Marine Division. "He is the top echelon of the Marine Corps. His leadership helped us to win over the undefeated Japanese military at Guadalcanal and his no bended knee speech helped keep the Marine Corps from being absorbed by the Army."

Also present was Serina Vandergrift, great-granddaughter of General Alexander Vandergrift, the ships namesake. In 1982, she helped to christen the ship at 11 years old.

"It was a full-circle moment," said Vandegrift. "It was amazing that 30 years ago I was the youngest person in history to help christen a ship into service and now I am here to help decommission the ship out of the service. It really does feel like the end of an era."

Vandegrift recently returned from a seven-month deployment to the U.S. 4th Fleet area of responsibility in support of Operation Martillo, a joint, combined operation involving the U.S. and 14 European and Western Hemisphere partner nations, targeting illicit trafficking routes in the waters off of Central America. Vandegrift intercepted approximately nine tons of cocaine and disrupted numerous other illegal drug shipments.

"In 2014, we helped to confiscate 800 kilos of cocaine from potentially reaching the streets of America," said Ralston. "The cocaine's street value is estimated at $3 million. This has been one of our crew's proudest achievements and one of the most defining moments in our ship's history."

Vandegrift has completed an around the world deployment, forward deployed service, supported multiple war on terror efforts and busted multiple shipments of drugs within its 30 year history.

"It's been an honor to serve aboard the Vandegrift," said Operation Specialist 2nd Class Bryan Parsonage, assigned to Vandergrift. "I've learned so much with the crew here. With it being an older ship you learn the basics and beginnings of the Navy. Everything is manual and it makes the Sailors get down to the nitty gritty."

For more news from Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, visit

For more news from Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, visit

NNS150223-07. Officer Women Leadership Symposium Scheduled for March

From Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The annual AcademyWomen Officer Women Leadership Symposium (OWLS) will be held March 6-7 at the Women In Military Service for America (WIMSA) Memorial, Arlington, Virginia.

Held annually, OWLS includes educational and professional development workshops, seminars and exhibits designed to enhance the professional knowledge of attendees while increasing overall awareness of issues affecting women in the military. The symposium offers an invaluable opportunity for female officers, midshipmen and senior enlisted to benefit from the open dialogue, career enhancing information, and mentoring opportunities.

While all service members are eligible, ideal candidates for the symposium include outstanding officers, midshipmen, and senior enlisted, who are at a career decision point. All 66 available Navy-funded registrations will be coordinated through the Navy Office of Diversity and Inclusion - Women's Policy. To obtain a conference registration reservation, contact Lt. Tawney Nakamura at (703) 604-5077 or Registrants must be from the local National Capital Region. Uniform for Navy personnel will be service khaki for E-7 and above and service uniform for E-6 and below.

Individual commands are not authorized to expend travel funds, including lodging, transportation, and meals and incidental expenses (M&IE). Travel funding for those who are attending in an official capacity has already been coordinated and approved; all other travel is not authorized. Lunch will be provided on March 6 and 7 for those attending. All other meals will be purchased by the attendee.

More information can be found on the AcademyWomen website at

For more news from Chief of Naval Personnel, visit

NNS150223-02. USS Kearsarge Conducts Force Protection Exercises

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Aren Everett, USS Kearsarge LHD 3 Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- The amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) conducts its Force Protection Exercises (FPEX) at Naval Station Norfolk, Feb. 19, as part of the ship's certification process.

"FPEX is an exercise of evolutions designed to test the effectiveness of our anti-terrorism plan, preplanned responses (PPRs) and our security training team," said Lt. j.g. Billy C. Newell, Kearsarge's security officer. "It is evaluated by Commander Carrier Strike
Group (CSG) 4 Anti-Terrorism Office."

Newell said that Sailors are expected to demonstrate competence in executing responses, weapons handling ability and the capability to defend the ship and crew during FPEX.

"It prepares and tests the crew's ability to defend against asymmetrical tactics used by terrorists and pirates, as well as successfully operate in potential high risk environments," said Newell.

Master-at-Arms 1st Class Michael S. Mahan, leading petty officer for the security team, said he was confident in the success of the Kearsarge security force.

"We have some motivated Sailors. I've got to give it to them. They come from different rates and assist the master-at-arms with jobs that aren't even really required or what they came in for," said Mahan. "We have mess cooks, we've got airmen, we've got engineers... we've got everybody! They learn a little part of what a master-at-arms does and they're expected to fight to protect the ship. I think they're doing very well. I think we'll come through this very well."

Newell said he also believed that Kearsarge Sailors would complete FPEX successfully. He said his belief was based on past performance as well as current performance.

"I believe we are performing well," said Newell. "We successfully completed Afloat Training Group (ATG) 1.4 with a 99% and we are still operating at that tempo."

Kearsarge completed ATG's Anti-terrorism Force Protection (ATFP) basic phase 1.4 certification in October. This certification is the pre-requisite for FPEX.

FPEX is the final step for the ship's security certification. Possible scenarios include, but aren't limited to, observation, active shooter, personal and vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (IEDs), floating IEDs, water and swimmer attacks.

"It's like the Super Bowl for security," said Mahan. "These are critical things that we have to be prepared for in our security on board the ship so that we can react to protect the ship while we are overseas. It's about making sure that we can handle all of these scenarios and follow our PPRs," said Mahan.

Success demonstrates the crew's readiness for deployment.

"Our security team is put through Security Reactionary Force (SRF) basic and advanced courses, as well as small arms, crew served weapons and less lethal weapons training," said Newell. Mahan said that the security team has been preparing for about a year, making sure that everyone is qualified and trained to protect the ship.

"We have to pass these things or the ship can't deploy," said Mahan. "If we can't successfully secure the ship, it jeopardizes security."

Along with Kearsarge, the guided-missile destroyers USS McFaul (DDG 74) and USS Bainbridge (DDG 96) also participated in the two-day exercise hosted by CSG-4.

For more news from USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), visit

NNS150223-01. Bonhomme Richard Arrives in Malaysia

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Adam D. Wainwright, USS Bonhomme Richard Public Affairs

SEPANGGAR, Malaysia (NNS) -- The forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) and the embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) arrived in Malaysia's sub-district of Sepanggar for a scheduled port visit in Kota Kinabalu, Feb 23.

During the visit, Bonhomme Richard Sailors and Marines will be involved in various community service projects, hosting tours of the ship, sporting events, as well as enjoying the sites of this quickly expanding city of 600,000 people. Kota Kinabalu is a popular gateway for people travelling to Sabah or Borneo and is one of the major commercial and industrial cities in all Malaysia.

"The men and women of BHR have waited a long time for a liberty port and everyone's excited for this visit," said Bonhomme Richard Commanding Officer Capt. Joey Tynch. "It's no small feat getting a steamship back to sea after a long time pierside and I couldn't be more proud of how hard everyone worked to get us back underway after our extended time in the yards."

Bonhomme Richard is the flagship of the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, is currently deployed in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.

"We're glad to be back at sea, working shoulder to shoulder, with the Marines of the 31st MEU as we continue to refine all aspects of our amphibious capability and engage with our partner nations in the Pacific," said Tynch. "We're thrilled to be in Malaysia representing the United States Navy and Marine Corps Team and can't wait to take in everything this country has to offer from sea level to the summit of Mount Kinabalu."

Bonhomme Richard ARG is currently under the tactical command of embarked Commander, Amphibious Squadron 11, Capt. Heidi Agle and reports to Commander, Amphibious Force U.S. 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Hugh D. Wetherald, headquartered in White Beach, Japan.

For more news from USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), visit

NNS011213-34. This Day in Naval History - Feb. 23

From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

1795 - The U.S. Navy Office of Purveyor of Supplies is established.

1919 - The first ship named for an enlisted man, USS Osmond Ingram (DD 255), is launched.

1944 - In an overnight raid, Task Force 58 planes bomb the Japanese at Saipan, Tinian, Rota and Guam in the first raid of the Mariana Islands.

1945 - Four days after landing on Iwo Jima, an invasion where uncommon valor was a common virtue, the United States flag is raised on Mt. Suribachi.

NNS150225-16. Patrol Squadron 45 Strengthens Partnership in the Philippines

From U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- The Pelicans of Patrol Squadron (VP) 45 hosted members of the Philippine air force and navy aboard a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon for a familiarization flight to increase understanding and showcase the capabilities of the Navy's newest maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft during a detachment to Clark Air Base, Republic of the Philippines, Feb. 17.

The flight was a bilateral patrol mission in airspace off of Luzon Island and allowed the U.S. Navy air crew to demonstrate the P-8A's capabilities in both the littoral and open ocean environment and the flight characteristics of the P-8A in both high altitude reconnaissance missions and low altitude patrol regimes. The air crew also explained the operation of the aircraft's multi-mission sensors.

"It was a remarkable opportunity to work alongside the members of the Filipino Armed Forces," said U.S. Navy Lt. Matthew Pool, Combat Air Crew 4 patrol plane commander. "Sharing this aircraft's capabilities with our allies only strengthens our bonds."

During the three-week detachment, Feb. 1 to Feb. 21, VP-45 executed more than 180 flight hours in support of U.S. 7th Fleet objectives to strengthen maritime partnerships in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.

The P-8A is the most advanced long range anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare aircraft in the world. A true multi-mission aircraft, it also provides superior maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capability. Built on the proven Boeing 737 airframe, the transition to P-8A brings with it enhanced safety and reduced maintenance. The P-8 is significantly quieter than the P-3, requires less maintenance, and provides more on-station time.

The new P-8A is part of the Navy's commitment to the Pacific rebalance, bringing latest technology to U.S. 7th Fleet to ensure the U.S. is best postured to honor its commitment to regional security and stability.

NNS150225-15. USS Pennsylvania Wins Trident Submarine Outstanding Performance Award

By Lt. Cmdr. Brian Badura, Commander, Submarine Group 9 Public Affairs

BANGOR, Wash. (NNS) -- The Blue and Gold crews of USS Pennsylvania (SSBN 735) were named as the recipients of the 2014 Trident Submarine Outstanding Performance Award Feb. 13 in a letter signed by Commander, Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet Rear Adm. Philip G. Sawyer.

The award, which is also known as the Olympic Bowl Trophy, is presented annually by the Bremerton-Olympic Peninsula Council of the Navy League to the top ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) in the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

"This ship demonstrated a superior level of performance over the course of a year and I commend them on a job well done," said Rear Adm. Dave Kriete, commander, Submarine Group 9. "What is even more remarkable is the fact that two crews -- Pennsylvania Blue and Gold -- upheld the highest standards while working on completely separate patrol cycles. This combined effort exemplifies the sense of teamwork and partnership that must be prevalent in order to succeed in our deterrence mission."

The Pennsylvania crews demonstrated quiet consistency throughout 2014, spending two-thirds of the year supporting the nation's strategic deterrence mission. They also achieved superior marks in every external validation of readiness during the year, a process that helps determine the award recipient.

These areas include weapons system performance and readiness, navigation performance and practices, communication system performance, material condition and engineering readiness, personnel readiness, initiative in promoting new operational concepts, and tactical readiness.

In 2014, Pennsylvania set the record for the longest strategic deterrent patrol recorded since the beginning of the Poseidon C3 ballistic missile program in the early 1970s. That feat, coupled with a total of more than 27,000 nautical miles traveled over the course of the year, highlights the significant endurance and versatility of the Ohio-class SSBN fleet.

The two crews are scheduled to receive the Olympic Bowl Trophy during the Armed Forces Gala in Bremerton, Wash., May 16.

For more news from Commander, Submarine Group 9, visit

NNS150225-13. NAVSUP WSS Cultivates Workforce with 3 Steps 4 Success Seminars

By Jenae Jackson, NAVSUP WSS Office of Corporate Communications

PHILADELPHIA (NNS) -- NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support (NAVSUP WSS) wrapped up its highly anticipated seminar series, 3 Steps 4 Success, at its Philadelphia site Feb. 24.

The three-part seminar series is held annually to aid the NAVSUP WSS workforce in preparing for current and future career opportunities. The seminars feature training in the areas of resume writing, professional attire and interviewing techniques.

"Seminars like 3 Steps 4 Success are vital to cultivating and maintaining the best and brightest talent in our organization," said Capt. Dan Hodgson, NAVSUP WSS deputy commander of Aviation. "We are dedicated to training, developing and assisting our employees in becoming skilled and steadfast professionals ready to achieve their full potential."

Step 1, the Resume Writing and USA Jobs seminar, was held Feb. 5. Presented by NAVSUP WSS' Workforce Planning Department, the seminar provided employees with guidelines for effectively developing and tailoring a "standout" resume. The seminar also included guidance on how to navigate the USA Jobs website, which is the required website for uploading resumes as well as searching and applying for federal jobs.

Step 2, the Dress 4 Success seminar, was held Feb. 19. The seminar offered tips on how to dress appropriately for day-to-day work, interviews and presentations with high level officials. The highlight of the seminar was the "live" fashion show where members from the workforce strutted down the runway displaying "what to wear" and "what not to wear" in the work place.

Step 3, the Selection Panel and Interviewing Techniques seminar, was held Feb. 24. The seminar included a panel discussion with deputy directors and supervisors, who answered questions and gave advice on how to properly conduct oneself and prepare for the interview process. Mock interviews were also presented to demonstrate the right and wrong way to behave during an interview.

"The [Equal Employment Opportunity Advisory Committee or the] EEOAC continues to work diligently to make great learning and developmental opportunities accessible for the workforce. Along with our diversity and cultural awareness programs, the 3 Steps 4 Success seminars continue to be one of our most popular annual activities," said Brian Keeley, NAVSUP WSS EEOAC chairperson.

The annual 3 Steps for Success seminar series is sponsored by the NAVSUP WSS EEOAC. The EEOAC is comprised of a diverse group of employees with different experiences, goals, and ideas, working together to produce programs and events that enrich the culture and education within NAVSUP WSS.

A field activity of the Naval Supply Systems Command, NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support (NAVSUP WSS) is the U.S. Navy's supply chain manager providing worldwide support to the aviation, surface ship, and submarine communities. NAVSUP WSS provides Navy, Marine Corps, joint and allied forces with products and services that deliver combat capability through logistics. There are more than 2,000 civilian and military personnel employed at its two Pennsylvania sites. The NAVSUP WSS Philadelphia site supports aircraft, while its Mechanicsburg site supports ships and submarines.

For more news from Naval Supply Systems Command, visit:

NNS150225-08. Abraham Lincoln Sailors Celebrate Supply Corps 220th Birthday

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Patrick Maher, USS Abraham Lincoln Public Affairs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) celebrated the 220th birthday of the United States Navy's Supply Corps aboard the Abraham Lincoln's Floating Accommodation Facility on Feb. 23.

The Supply Corps assists with nearly almost every aspect of a ship's daily routine and has done so since the American Revolutionary War, which marked the creation of the corps.

"Every year the Supply Corps celebrates their birthday and we've been around for 220 years," said Cmdr. Thomas Neville, supply officer for Abraham Lincoln. "We were created when George Washington, the president at the time, said; 'I need to professionalize logistics in our Navy.' From that history 220 years ago to today, the Supply Corps has remained very relevant in providing logistics support to the fleet. I think everyone knows if you can win the logistics fight, you can win the war."

That rich history of the Supply Corps, which has been involved in engagements since 1798, is what makes the significance of this birthday so special to the corps. It represents where they have been and where they are going in the Navy.

"It's a celebration for what we have done for the past 220 years," said Ship's Serviceman 1st Class Calvin L. Martin. "From the officers to the enlisted service members, no matter what the situation is, we take care of the morale, health and comfort of all Sailors."

Abraham Lincoln's Supply Department is celebrating 220 years of great service and proves that they are also a fundamental piece of the puzzle when it comes to keeping a ship working so efficiently, especially in the refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH) that the ship is currently undergoing.

"We build that teamwork," said Martin.

Lincoln is the fifth ship of the Nimitz-class to undergo a RCOH, a major life-cycle milestone. Once RCOH is complete, Lincoln will be one of the most modern and technologically advanced Nimitz-class aircraft carriers in the fleet and will continue to be a vital part of the nation's defense.

For more news from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), visit

NNS150225-07. Hawaii Schools Bring Science to Life Through Robotics and Technology

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Johans Chavarro, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Detachment Hawaii

SAND ISLAND, Hawaii (NNS) -- Students from elementary, middle and high schools around the Hawaii region participated in the 2015 Hawaii Regional SeaPerch Underwater Robotics for Youth competition Feb. 21 at U.S. Coast Guard Base Honolulu.

Sponsored by the Office of Naval Research and managed by the AUVSI (Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International) Foundation, SeaPerch is an innovative underwater robotics program that equips teachers and students with the resources they need to build an underwater remote-operated vehicle (ROV), allowing students to learn about science, technology, electronics and mathematics (STEM), as well as robotics and engineering.

According to Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Andy Goshorn, regional naval engineer for the Coast Guard and event coordinator, the SeaPerch competition is a way for students to put what they have learned about robotics and engineering to the test, with this year's competition attracting the highest attendance to date.

"This year we had 40 teams and around 200 students," said Goshorn. "That's about 20 students and four more teams than last year...and being out here you really see that [the students] love the competition and the challenge. They have this resiliency to really double down when they face obstacles during the competition, and to not give up. And most of all, they have a good time doing it."

Students built their ROVs from a kit comprised of low-cost, easily accessible parts, following a curriculum that teaches basic engineering and science concepts with a marine engineering theme.

This year, the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard Association provided funding for the kits, which were distributed to interested schools.

To assist with the build process, Goshorn and his team provided mentors to individual schools and also organized a "Build Day," which allowed students from different schools to meet with mentors and receive assistance on soldering circuit boards, waterproofing the engines and wiring, as well as field-testing their ROVs.

"From start to finish, we help them all the way through the process," said Goshorn. "Teachers have a lot going on and although they want to get involved, they might not know soldering or how to waterproof wiring. So, we try to help them and educate them every step that we can to get them on board."

Anne Calef, a fifth-grade teacher at Hale Kula Elementary School, said aside from the chance to learn about the hardware, tools and concepts involved in building the ROV, the project also provided the students lessons in communication and teamwork.

"One of the biggest benefits I've seen from the project is teamwork," said Calef. "The students really were forced to address problems collaboratively. And that's been great to see them problem-solve as a small group and understand the ways to talk to each other and even coach each other through the different obstacle courses during the competition."

This year's competition consisted of a video and poster presentation, as well as two challenging underwater events: the "obstacle course," where teams navigated their ROV through a series of large rings oriented in different directions, and a "finesse course," which tested the capability of each team's ROV to perform individual tasks, such as maneuvering and actuating equipment on the pool floor.

For many participating students, seeing their creations come to life throughout the project was both exciting and rewarding, despite whatever unexpected challenges came up.

"My favorite part for the whole project was working on the robot," said Melissa Takahashi, a student at August Ahrens Elementary School. "Getting to build the robot and then seeing if it actually worked and fixing the problems it had was really fun."

Coast Guardsmen, along with volunteers from Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command and Navy Divers assigned to Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 1, spent the competition evaluating the robots' performance, resetting obstacles in the water and retrieving ROVs from the courses.

In the end, Goshorn said the competition allowed more than just a way to teach students about ROVs, it allowed them to see how STEM can transcend paper and pen to affect change and create.

"STEM is truly where you create," said Goshorn. "Some people may just see it as different equations, but the equations are what help you create moment arms or manipulate buoyance and things like that. We're trying to show [students] that the world is really a kitchen and STEM is just the recipe book on how you can make what you want to feed the world."

For more information about Hawaii SeaPerch, visit


For more news from Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Hawaii, visit

NNS150225-05. San Diego Shipboard Sailors Sharpen Safety Skills at Seminar

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Trevor Welsh, Naval Surface Force U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to ships and other afloat commands in the San Diego area attended the Naval Safety Center (NAVSAFECEN) Afloat Safety Seminar at the base theater on board Naval Base San Diego, Feb. 23.

The seminar focused on mishap prevention and reporting, new guidance and instructions, analysis and findings from fleet surveys and assessments by the NAVSAFCEN and more.

"We started off today with safety administration," said Lt. Cmdr. James Bostick, NAVSAFECEN deck lead analyst. "We invited the chain of command for each ship out to discuss what we are seeing in the fleet regarding mishaps, requirements for the fleet safety program, and updates to the safety program and how to do trend analysis to mitigate the risk and prevent mishaps. We discuss general history and patterns of mishaps throughout the fleet so everybody is on the same page and is implementing the correct safety controls."

The seminar included briefs to the shipboard Sailors regarding warfare specific areas of safety concern to include; combat systems, auxiliary engineering, main propulsion, Navy Occupational Safety and Health (NAVOSH), electrical, weapons, deck and damage control.

"Each warfare area subject matter expert presented a topic to cover their 'top 10' most common discrepancies and mishaps they have observed from shipboard assessments and data collection and then provided the attending Sailors the knowledge and tools on how to implement controls and prevent these mishaps on their ships," said Senior Chief Electronics Technician Charles Gant, NAVSAFECEN Afloat Combat Systems Safety Division Head and Fall Protection Analyst.

This year's seminar, in accordance with the new Navy safety campaign, teaches methodology to operationalize safety throughout the fleet. NAVSAFECEN is training Sailors throughout the fleet on how to develop trend analysis and identify problem areas where more training and focus is needed.

"This gives the Sailors who attend valuable feedback from the mishap reporting website we use as well as our shipboard assessments," said Gant. "We compile all that data we receive and obtain in an effort to figure out cause, effect and solutions for mishaps. For example, one of the number one mishaps we see on ships is Sailors falling down ladders. We do research and analysis from the data we receive from the reporting website to try to determine why Sailors are falling down ladders, then we use that data to implement training and provide that training and feedback to the ships."

The seminar served as a tool to teach Sailors who are fairly new to the safety program's intricacies as well as those who have been in tune with the safety program to provide a refresher.

"I took over the role of command safety management assistant about three months ago," said Firecontrolman 1st Class Rosalie Sprouse, from Baltimore, stationed aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25). "We are facing an assessment very soon so I came here to get as much information as I could regarding the safety program and how to effectively implement it at my command. Most importantly I have made contacts that I know that I can go to around the fleet if I have questions. It was a lot of good information and I feel more confident going forward into our assessment."

NAVSAFECEN conducts these seminars annually in fleet concentration areas around the world honing the safety skills of Sailors and standardizing the safety program throughout the Navy. After San Diego, the center is scheduled to hold safety seminars in Virginia, Hawaii, Florida, Washington and Japan during fiscal year 2015.

Commander, Naval Surface Force U.S. Pacific Fleet places a great deal of emphasis on safety in the fleet. Effective safety practices improve personal, material and combat readiness and help to ultimately support the Chief of Naval Operation's three tenets: Warfighting First, Operate Forward and Be Ready.

For more information, please visit

For more news from Naval Surface Forces, visit

NNS150225-04. Navy Surgeon General Fosters Medical Collaboration, Global Health in Egypt

By Capt. Dora Lockwood, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Public Affairs

CAIRO, Egypt (NNS) -- The Navy's surgeon general visited Egyptian military medical facilities in Cairo, Feb. 15-17.

Vice Adm. Matthew L. Nathan, Navy surgeon general and chief, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, visited Galaa Military Medical Compound (GMCC) and the Armed Forces College of Medicine.

While at GMCC, Nathan met with the commander of the hospital, Maj. Gen. (Dr.) Bahaa El-Din Ziedan and toured the pediatric, trauma, neurosurgery, intensive care unit and cardiac departments of the facility. Capt. John Gilstad, commanding officer of Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3 (NAMRU-3), and Capt. Patrick Blair, executive officer of NAMRU-3, also participated in the visit.

"It is my honor to meet you today and visit the Galaa military hospital and develop stronger ties between Navy Medicine and Egyptian medicine," said Nathan. "Our jobs are important to each of our nations. We have similar jobs of taking care of the health of our Sailors and Soldiers."

During the visit, the leaders discussed recent advances in military medicine and potential health partnerships.

"It is our great pleasure to welcome you in our medical compound," said El-Din Ziedan. " Your visit, in fact, is extremely valuable and worthy to us. My hope is to continue our exchange of experiences."

Nathan reiterated the importance of learning from one another and sharing unique experiences.

"I am very interested in learning about new illnesses and disease," said Nathan. "I welcome the opportunity to look for more exchanges between our scientists and physicians and your Egyptian counterparts."

Following the tour of GMCC, Nathan visited the Armed Forces College of Medicine. There, he met Maj. Gen. (Dr.) Khaled Eissa Amer, dean of the college, and Col. Mohammed Sallah, chief of staff. Nathan expressed his appreciation to the dean and his college staff for their hospitality.

"As the head of the U.S. Navy's medical department, one of the reasons for my trip is to create more understanding between our medical departments as we engage in operational settings," said Nathan.

Before touring the college, Sallah provided the surgeon general with a brief overview of the college, including the school's mission, vision, student selection and rationale of the course curriculum.

"The military medical officer must be competent in all military medical scenarios for serving in different operational situations of the battlefield," said Sallah. "The military medical officer must be prepared physically, psychologically, and medically to accommodate the harsh military environment."

The visit concluded with a gift exchange between the surgeon general and the dean.

"General, it has been a true privilege for me to visit your medical college. I'd like to present this medallion to you on behalf of my office," said Nathan. "The common language of medicine goes beyond borders. We're all interested in the same thing, and that is better health and welfare for those serving in our armies and navies."

While in Cairo, Nathan also met with U.S. Ambassador to Egypt R. Stephen Beecroft, and Dr. Adel Adawi, minister of health and population.

U.S. Navy Medicine is a global health care network of 63,000 Navy medical personnel around the world who provide high quality health care to more than one million eligible beneficiaries. Navy Medicine personnel deploy with Sailors and Marines worldwide, providing critical mission support aboard ship, in the air, under the sea and on the battlefield.

For more news from Navy Medicine, visit

NNS150225-03. Navy Medicine Operational Training Center Begins Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society Fund Drive

From Navy Medicine Operational Training Center Public Affairs

PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- Service members from the global leader in operational medicine and aviation survival training began its contribution process to the Naval Air Station Pensacola annual Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) Fund Drive Feb. 23.

Navy Medicine Operational Training Center (NMOTC) NMCRS Coordinator Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (SW/AW) Elda Rodriguezarreola said the month-long campaign begins March 1, but service members interested in donating aren't required to wait until the drive begins.

"Donors to this wonderful organization can rest confident that any money they choose to donate during this year's Fund Drive will go to Sailors and Marines who are in a time of need," she said. "Our goal is to ensure that each and every Sailor or Marine in the Pensacola area is aware of the NMCRS and the sort of assistance the organization offers as well as the Fund Drive."

The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society is designed to provide financial, educational and other various forms of assistance to members of the Naval Services of the United States, eligible family members and survivors in need.

Founded in 1904, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society is a private non-profit charitable organization, sponsored by the Department of the Navy and operating in nearly 250 offices ashore and afloat at Navy and Marine Corps bases throughout the world.

Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society programs are funded chiefly through charitable contributions, with the bulk of its working capital coming through the Secretary of the Navy-supported annual fund drive.

Nearly $1 million in financial assistance was provided to roughly 2,400 financial cases in the Pensacola area in 2011, a clear indicator of both the NMCRS's reach as well as the organization's willingness to help those in need.

In addition to the interest-free loans and grants, the NMCRS offers assistance in times of financial need, scholarships and interest-free loans for education, financial counseling, Budget for Baby Workshops, Thrift Shops and visiting nurse services.

Rodriguezarreola said that each individual command aboard NAS Pensacola, as well as those at Whiting Field and Corry Station, will each have a designated active duty fund drive representative. Posters detailing these representatives' contact information are in commands throughout the bases, and individuals interested in volunteering or donating to this effort are encouraged to contact their command representatives.

NMOTC, the recognized global leader in operational medical and aviation survival training, reports to Navy Medicine Education and Training Command (NMETC), which manages Navy Medicine's formal enlisted and officer education and training programs, medical operational training for medical and medical support personnel deploying worldwide, and training that prepares aviators and flight crews to survive in land and water mishaps.

NMOTC and NMETC are all part of the Navy Medicine team, a global health care network of Navy medical professionals around the world who provide high-quality health care to more than 1 million eligible beneficiaries. Navy Medicine personnel deploy with Sailors and Marines worldwide, providing critical mission support aboard ships, in the air, under the sea and on the battlefield.

For more news from Navy Medicine Education and Training Command, visit

NNS150225-02. NHHC Archaeologist Assists Florida Community with Search for Clues into World War II Bomber Crash Site

By Lt. Cmdr. Heidi Lenzini, Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

OSTEEN, Fla. (NNS) -- Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) Archaeologist Dr. George Schwarz was joined by more than 45 volunteers from nearly a dozen organizations wading through dense vegetation and sifting through Florida sand Feb. 18-20 in the hopes of finding more clues to a Navy aircraft crash that happened more than seven decades ago.

Osteen resident Rodney Thomas uncovered what appeared to be a part from an aircraft more than three years ago when he was experimenting with a new metal detector on his property. After finding dozens of pieces, he decided he wanted to learn about what might have led to the crash, and perhaps the identity of the pilot.

He contacted Scott Storz, a volunteer at the DeLand Naval Air Station Museum (DNASM), in search of help understanding what he was finding. One small, two-inch square, slightly crumpled piece of metal gave the first significant clue with a clearly visible engraving: SBD-5.

Best known for their superior performance in sinking four Japanese aircraft carriers during the Battle of Midway, which halted the Japanese advance across the Pacific during the war, the SBD Douglas Dauntless was a "highly effective dive bomber," and its design made the aircraft capable of steep, accurate diving attacks of up to 70 degrees, according to the National Naval Aviation Museum website.

Thousands of pilots trained in these aircraft at DeLand Naval Air Station, Florida, which the Navy operated from 1942-1946. The site was returned to the city of DeLand after the war, and is still in operation today with one 4,300 foot-long runway and a longer one that is 6,000 feet.

Because of the way records were kept at the time, when Storz eventually contacted archaeologists at the NHHC to check on the possibilities, the crash site could not be immediately linked to a specific report. In an effort to identify the crash and account for possible loss of life, Schwarz contacted colleagues in Florida to ask for volunteer field support in assessing the site.

"I reached out to professors that I know at the University of West Florida (UWF) to ask if any students might be interested in gaining some experience excavating aircraft remains," said Schwarz. "They responded that it would be a great opportunity for a couple of graduate students."

Representatives from both the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) and Florida Public Archaeology Network also responded sending a team of five experts to the site while Schwarz was on the site in Osteen. According to Schwarz, their experience, diligence, and patience were critical to evaluating hundreds of metal pieces, nearly 300 of which were likely part of the high-speed crash.

Part of that team was UWF graduate student Nicole Mauro, who studied Historical Archaeology with a concentration in maritime archaeology, and received her bachelor's degree in anthropology at James Madison University, which sparked her interest in maritime archaeology.

"I'm doing my graduate thesis on submerged aircraft sites so when I heard about this project from my professor, I jumped at the opportunity to gain experience documenting fallen aircraft parts," said Mauro. "This was my first time working closely with metal detectorists so they showed me how to interpret the results on their screens when they scan an item. Some of these volunteers are retired veterans, they all had guesses on what certain distinguishable aircraft parts were."

The largest group of volunteers, 30 people came from The Central Florida Metal Detecting Club (CFMDC), which had been asked by Storz to assist Thomas in evaluating the parts he was finding. In December, they uncovered many more artifacts, which prompted the phone call first to the National Naval Aviation Museum, and then to NHHC. Schwarz requested that the CFMDC halt their search for the artifacts until a plan could be developed to more methodically assess the site. He then asked for the GPS coordinates of the area.

"We searched through our database and found 25 SBD-5s from DeLand Naval Air Station (NAS) that crashed on land," said Schwarz.

While most were lost north of the DeLand NAS, "there are six total possibilities from our records, but locational information is very vague on these crash sites," said Schwarz.

According to Ken Torbett, 94, who worked at DeLand NAS in his early 20s, when a plane crashed, a team would be sent to the site to recover as much of the plane as possible, as parts were scarce. They would also make every effort to recover the pilot's remains and return them to their families.

Since every Navy plane is tracked by its bureau number, which is located on the aircraft's tail, investigators are unlikely to uncover that precise linkage to the crash. One of the largest pieces discovered at the site during Schwarz's visit was an exhaust pipe. However, a careful inventory and GPS documenting of the pieces that were found might provide further information on the possible identity of the aircraft and pilot.

Of the six crashes that Navy has records for in that area, five were known fatalities. In all cases, the pilot and aircraft were known, but the exact match to the Osteen site has yet to be determined.

Assisting in the evaluation were members of K-9 Search and Rescue of Orange City. The first order of business was to have the unit sweep the site in search of human remains. Established 13 years ago, members are required to be trained in CPR, incident command, K9 first aid, map and compass navigation, crime scene preservation, hazmat awareness, bloodborne pathogens and have ham radio licenses.

Although the canines expressed interest in certain areas of the site, and a few test pits were excavated by archaeologists to a depth of approximately a foot and a half, no evidence of human remains were found. If anything had been discovered, then the state medical examiner would have been brought in to evaluate the remains.

NHHC archaeologists, armed with more data, will continue to work with the DLNASM, which retained the majority of the parts on loan for their historical value to their community.

"We will input GPS data, analyze the artifacts to get a sense of what is present at the site and see if we can find patterns, such as a concentration of cockpit materials. We will also catalogue the artifacts and write a report on the findings," said Schwarz.

While three days does not seem like much time, it did give archaeologists an excellent opportunity to work with the local community to assess the site and decide if additional time would be necessary for a longer, more intensive survey.

The Naval History and Heritage Command, located at the Washington Navy Yard, is responsible for the preservation, analysis, and dissemination of U.S. naval history and heritage. It provides the knowledge foundation for the Navy by maintaining historically relevant resources and products that reflect the Navy's unique and enduring contributions through our nation's history, and supports the fleet by assisting with and delivering professional research, analysis, and interpretive services. NHHC is composed of many activities including the Navy Department Library, the Navy Operational Archives, the Navy art and artifact collections, underwater archeology, Navy histories, nine museums, USS Constitution repair facility

NNS011213-36. This Day in Naval History - Feb. 25

From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

1861 - The sloop of war Saratoga of the U.S. African Squadron captures the slaver sloop Express.

1917 - Marines and a naval landing force from USS Connecticut (BB 18), USS Michigan (BB 27), and USS South Carolina (BB 26) move into Guantanamo City, Cuba to protect American citizens during the sugar revolt.

1933 - USS Ranger (CV 4), the US Navy's first true aircraft carrier, is launched.

1944 - USS Hoe (SS 258) attacks a Japanese convoy at the mouth of Davao Gulf, sinking the fleet tanker Nissho Maru and damaging the fleet tanker Kyokuto Maru, while USS Rasher (SS 269) sinks Japanese army cargo ship Ryusei Maru and freighter Tango Maru off the north coast of Bali.

1991 - During Operation Desert Storm, USS Wisconsin (BB 64) and USS Missouri (BB 63) provide naval gunfire support and other operations.

NNS150226-11. USS Fort Worth Conducts CUES with Chinese Navy

By Lt. Lauryn Dempsey, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7 Public Affairs

SINGAPORE (NNS) -- The littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) practiced the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) with the People's Liberation Army-Navy [PLA(N)] Jiangkai II frigate Hengshui (FFG 572) Feb. 23 enhancing the professional maritime relationship between U.S. 7th Fleet and the PLA(N).

Fort Worth and Hengshui were conducting routine training and operations in international waters of the South China Sea when the ships realized a training opportunity was present.

CUES, a set of procedures endorsed by naval leaders at the Western Pacific Naval Symposium in April 2014, is a guideline for unplanned maritime encounters while at sea, providing standards for communication, safety procedures and maneuvering instructions for naval ships and aircraft.

"The interaction with the Hengshui was safe and routine, and the professionalism that was on display by both ships is commendable," said Cmdr. Matt Kawas, Fort Worth Crew 103 commanding officer. "As the first underway for Crew 103 aboard Fort Worth in U.S. 7th Fleet, this was a real-time situation where we relied upon our months of training in San Diego to execute."

Fort Worth and Hengshui rendezvoused and used CUES as a signaling protocol to indicate ship maneuvering.

"Having a standardized protocol of safety procedures, basic communications and basic maneuvering instructions is critical as we work together to prevent mishaps and miscommunications at sea," said Capt. Fred Kacher, commodore, Destroyer Squadron 7. "This will likely not be the last time Fort Worth conducts CUES as she continues to operate extensively throughout Southeast Asia and expand her operational footprint to Northeast Asia during the remaining 12 months of her deployment to the Asia-Pacific."

Fort Worth departed Singapore Feb. 19 following the first of three crew swaps as part of the ship's maiden 16-month deployment to the Asia-Pacific. Fort Worth is the first LCS to deploy under the "3-2-1" manning concept, which allows LCS to sustain a 16-month forward presence without fatiguing the crew during the extended deployment. It is named "3-2-1" because three rotational crews will support two LCS ships and maintain one deployed ship. Two additional crew swaps will occur during the remainder of Fort Worth's deployment, roughly every four months.

During the first five days of the current underway period, the crew conducted at-sea workups to maintain the proficiency achieved as part of their deployment certification in San Diego. Fort Worth is now headed north for Foal Eagle in March. Held annually with the Republic of Korea navy, Foal Eagle is also the first exercise in Northeast Asia that incorporates LCS participation.

Fort Worth is the second LCS to deploy as part of an initiative for up to four rotational deployments of these ships simultaneously to U.S. 7th Fleet in the coming years. Fast, agile and mission-focused, littoral combat ships are designed to operate in near shore environments and employ modular mission packages that can be configured for surface warfare, mine countermeasures or anti-submarine warfare.

Fort Worth will employ the surface warfare mission package for her entire deployment, augmenting her 57mm gun and rolling airframe missile launcher with two 30mm guns, two 11-meter rigid-hull inflatable boats, two six-member maritime security boarding teams, a MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter and a MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aircraft system.

The U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Asia-Pacific area of operations. As the U.S. Navy's largest numbered fleet, U.S. 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability and prevent conflict.

For more news from Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, visit

NNS150226-07. MCPON Stevens Delivers Congressional Testimony

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Stuart B. Phillips, Office of the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON)(AW/NAC) Michael Stevens testified before Congress Feb. 25.

Stevens appeared before the House and Armed Services Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies.

Stevens, along with the senior enlisted leaders from the Marine Corps, Army, and Air Force, discussed the current status of their respective military branches, focusing specifically on quality-of-life programs and issues that are cause of concern for today's service members.

Stevens discussed the Navy's current operational tempo and told the subcommittee there are currently nearly 100 Navy ships underway with thousands of Sailors standing the watch. He went on to talk about quality of life for Sailors, and the uncertainty that sequestration has created.

"My regular interface with our Sailors and their families over the past year has shown an overall satisfactory quality of life; however, the ongoing discussion regarding possible changes to future pay and compensation has created an air of uncertainty," said Stevens.

He explained that Sailors are concerned there will be reductions in medical benefits, pay and compensation, and family programs. While they understand there will always be some degree of uncertainty in the geopolitical and operational world, ambiguity relating to military benefits is not as easily understood. Stevens zeroed in on a specific area of compensation during his testimony.

"If you were to ask me today to pick one [concern] with regard to pay and compensation, my greatest and immediate concern for our people is the future of health care," said Stevens. Health care is a quality of life issue that constantly resurfaces during my fleet interactions. It is extremely important to our Sailors and their families, and is very influential in recruiting and retention decisions."

Beyond military pay and compensation, MCPON expressed concerned about the deteriorating condition of single Sailor barracks - a deterioration that has been amplified by sequestration cuts. Ultimately, the Navy has had to prioritize warfighting requirements at the expense of investing in the maintenance of barracks infrastructure.

"This risk has resulted in the overall condition of our barracks falling to approximately 50% adequacy," said Stevens. Should sequestration resurface, I am concerned the condition of our barracks will decline further. This standard of living directly impacts our Sailors' quality of life."

Stevens also spoke about the importance of Family Support Programs such as: Navy Fleet and Family Support Centers; Navy Child and Youth Programs; Navy Ombudsman Programs; and Family Readiness Groups. He emphasized the positive impact of these programs and thanked the subcommittee for their continued support before delivering his final remarks on quality of life.

"As I have stated in prior testimonies, one of the most important and effective weapon systems we can provide our nation and Navy is a combination of individual and unit morale," said Stevens. And it is my firm belief that the support this subcommittee provides to the Navy greatly impacts our ability to sustain this weapon system."

The Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy regularly testifies before Congress along with the senior enlisted leaders of the other services. This was his third appearance before this congressional subcommittee.

For more information on MCPON's activities, visit, and

NNS150225-19. USS Makin Island ARG Returns from Deployment

From Amphibious Squadron Five Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Nearly 4,500 Sailors and Marines with the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) returned to San Diego Feb. 25, following a seven-month deployment to the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operations.

Deployed since July 25, the Makin Island ARG and 11th MEU conducted a relocation of National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration researchers from Tropical Storm Iselle near Hawaii, conducted air strikes against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Iraq, worked with British and Kuwaiti forces in Exercise Cougar Voyage 14, participated in Exercise Red Reef 15 with Saudi Arabian forces and performed Marine sustainment exercises in Kuwait and Djibouti.

"We've had a very intense deployment that required us to execute multiple mission sets simultaneously for long periods of time. The superb professionalism and work ethic of all members of the ARG/MEU team ensured we met and exceeded the mark every time," said Capt. Steve McKone, commander, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 5. "I know these Sailors and Marines are excited to be home."

The Makin Island ARG, led by PHIBRON 5, consists of amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8), dock landing ship USS Comstock (LSD 45), amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego (LPD 22), PHIBRON 5 staff, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23 (HSC-23) Detachment 2, scheduled to return to its home base on Naval Air Station North Island Feb. 24, Fleet Surgical Team 5, Tactical Air Control Squadron 11, Assault Craft Unit 5 and Beach Master Unit 1.

The 11th MEU is comprised of the 11th MEU Command Element; the Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 163 (Reinforced); the Ground Combat Element, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines; and the Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 11.

"The Sailors and Marines on this ship performed exceptionally well during this deployment," said USS Makin Island Commanding Officer, Capt. Jon P. Rodgers. "This deployment marked the first for more than 65 percent of the crew. The teamwork was exceptional!"

During the deployment, the ARG transited nearly 35,000 nautical miles, flew approximately 3,100 sorties, and logged nearly 5,020 flight hours. Amphibious craft completed more than 4,000 passenger transfers and moved more than 90,000 tons of equipment to and from the shore.

"The Sailors of HSC-23 Detachment 2 provided support for all facets of aviation operations during deployment with the USS Makin Island ARG and the 11th MEU," said Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Adams, HSC-23's officer-in-charge. "It was truly an honor to be a part of the exceptional effort, dedication, and professionalism displayed by the ARG/MEU team during this deployment."

This deployment was the first for San Diego and the second for Makin Island.

The Makin Island ARG conducted port visits in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Jordan, collectively. The visits provided an opportunity for the U.S. military forces to strengthen ties with the host nations and foster relationships.

The Iwo Jima ARG and 24th MEU relieved the Makin Island ARG in the 5th Fleet AOR in January.

Follow USS Makin Island on Facebook:

For more news from USS Makin Island (LHD 8), visit

For more news from Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet, visit

NNS150226-22. High Seas Must Remain Open to All, Navy Leader Says

By Jim Garamone, DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The world's ocean trade routes must remain open to all to maintain global commerce, the vice chief of naval operations said Feb. 24.

"The world [economy] depends on those high seas staying free," Navy Adm. Michelle J. Howard told CNN's Jim Sciutto during the NewAmerica Future of War Project conference.

Noting that China is building its blue-water navy, Sciutto asked Howard how that could affect the maritime situation. China, she replied, "refers to itself as maturing and is starting to stretch its muscles in terms of who they are and how they see themselves as a world power."

Countries ask themselves if it is possible to be a world power without military power, and "China has taken the path that in order to be a global power, they have to have military strength," the admiral said.

*U.S. Navy Seeks to Maintain Advantage*

China is building its navy and following the path of many other countries in history, including the United Kingdom and the United States, copying what has been successful, the admiral said. But the United States wants to maintain its military advantage at sea, she added, and the Navy is continuing to acquire and adapt to maintain the lead.

But China is not what keeps her up at night, the vice chief said. North Korea and the capriciousness of its leader do worry her, she said. "When you have countries that have a certain amount of strength ... and then the leadership does not operate logically or on an agreed framework, then that creates a challenge," she added.

*Working With China on Framework*

The United States is working with China to create such a framework, Howard said. "We've made some tremendous progress with military-to-military contacts," she told Sciutto. "The chief of naval operations has had several engagements with his counterpart."

Last year at the Western Pacific Naval Symposium, leaders from several nations, including China, agreed to adopt a code for unexpected encounters at sea, Howard said.

"We have a way at the tactical level for our ships to communicate with each other, to alleviate any misunderstandings," she added. "There has been great dialogue and great movement between our navies."

Sciutto asked Howard if she worries about China's naval build up.

*Alternate Futures*

"The world is always a magical place, there are always a number of alternative futures that can unfold," she said. "You can look at it as a potential conflict -- that's one alternate future. You can look at it on the strength of the trade partnership we have with China -- that's another. And it's not just with China. It's all the nations of the region -- Japan, India, South Korea.

"So there are alternative futures here," she continued, "and what are we doing to walk down a path that walks away from conflict or creates the stepping stones to conflict?"

Guiding China and working with China is the best policy for the future of the world, Howard said.

Howard was promoted to the rank of four-star admiral on July 1, 2014, during a ceremony at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia.

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus presided over the ceremony and administered the oath of office.

Howard is the first female four-star admiral in the history of the U.S. Navy.

NNS150226-20. AEGIS Ballistic Missile Defense System Tracks, Simulates Engagements of Three Short-Range Ballistic Missiles

From U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)

WALLOPS FLIGHT FACILITY, Va. (NNS) -- The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyers USS Carney (DDG 64), USS Gonzalez (DDG 66), and USS Barry (DDG 52) successfully completed a flight test involving the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) weapon system.

At approximately 2:30 a.m. EST today, three short-range ballistic missile targets were launched near simultaneously from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia. Two Aegis BMD destroyers acquired and tracked the targets. Using this data, the Aegis BMD ships conducted simulated Standard Missile-3 Block IB guided missile engagements with the distributed weighted engagement scheme (DWES) capability enabled. The DWES provides an automated engagement coordination scheme between multiple Aegis BMD ships that determines which ship is the preferred shooter, reducing duplication of BMD engagements and missile expenditures while ensuring BMD threat coverage.

Several fire control, discrimination, and engagement functions were exercised. As no SM-3 guided missiles were launched, the test did not include an attempted intercept.

This test was designated Flight Test Other (FTX)-19. This was the first flight test to assess the ability of the Aegis BMD 4.0 weapon system to simulate engagements of a raid consisting of three short-range, separating ballistic missile targets. This was also the first time Aegis BMD 4.0 ships used the DWES capability with live targets.

The MDA will use test results to improve and enhance the Ballistic Missile Defense System and support the advancement of Phase 2 of the Phased Adaptive Approach for missile defense in Europe to provide protection of U.S. deployed forces, our European allies and partners.

Aegis BMD is the naval component of the MDA's Ballistic Missile Defense System. The MDA and the U.S. Navy cooperatively manage the Aegis BMD program. Additional information about all elements of the Ballistic Missile Defense System can be found at

NNS150226-18. Hawaii Sailors Attend First Class Petty Officer Leadership Symposium

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Jeff Troutman, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Detachment Hawaii

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- First Class Petty Officers (FCPOs) stationed at Pearl Harbor gathered at Hickam Memorial Theater on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to attend a First Class Petty Officer's symposium, Feb. 25.

The symposium drew approximately 200 FCPOs who were looking to gain leadership and career advice from the Pearl Harbor Chief's Action Group, in conjunction with the First Class Petty Officer's Association.

"The purpose of this kind of get-together is to do some professional training with the Pearl Harbor FCPOs, to help them become future chief petty officers and to guide their junior Sailors along the way," said Master Chief Intelligence Specialist Jason Martin, who spoke to the Sailors about professional development and advancement. "My hope is that the Sailors who attended today's symposium will have a better understanding of the resources they have to be competitive for advancement. The opportunities are definitely out there; they just have to find them."

Topics covered during the symposium included important changes occurring in today's Navy, tips for maintaining an individual's electronic service record, career information and policies, Individual Augmentee assignments, and more.

Sailors who attended the symposium found the training worthwhile in conjunction with the goals they had set for themselves upon making first class and beginning their journey to the chief petty officer's selection board.

According to Air Traffic Controlman 1st Class Jolyn San Nicolas, assigned to the Marine Corps Base Hawaii, the information she received at the symposium would enable her to not only enhance her own career, but the careers of those around her as well.

"I'm all for educated knowledge and I'm excited to be here," said San Nicolas. "The evaluation writing block and the segment on uniform regulations were especially helpful, because it teaches me how to better serve my junior Sailors and be a better first class for them. "

Additionally, many of the topics during the symposium were geared toward helping the FCPOs better understand the often overwhelming process of preparing their service record for selection to chief petty officers. Navy heritage, ethics, proper fitness and nutrition were all covered in an effort to help even the newest FCPOs in attendance begin planning their route to khaki leadership.

"The Navy is always changing around us, so seminars like this enable me to stay current on things like proper fitness, proper ethics, and how to inspire the most out of myself and my junior Sailors," said Air Traffic Controlman 1st Class Courtney Seals, assigned to the Marine Corps Base Hawaii. "It's just a great way to learn about the resources available to you."

Sears said he would advise other FCPOs who didn't attend the symposium to attend future outings if they were interested in enhancing their chances for selection to chief.

"The opportunity to network amongst your peers and the amount of combined knowledge in the room is a huge benefit to everyone in attendance," said Sears. "There's a bigger picture to the Navy than just what's in your office. From preparing your chief's package to actually taking the exam, the information you can walk away with from symposiums like this is enormous. I would highly encourage every FCPO who is looking to further their career to attend."

For more news from Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Hawaii, visit

NNS150226-16. USS New York: Praying for the 343 Firefighters of 9/11

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Trejo, USS New York Public Affairs

GULF OF OMAN (NNS) -- Tattoo, Tattoo, lights out in five minutes, stand by for the evening prayer. These words are spoken over the ship's loudspeaker, or 1MC, every night on U.S. Navy ships around the world, but the amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21) uses this opportunity to pray for the families who have lost loved ones in the tragic events that took place on September 11, 2001.

"I believe prayer changes things...343 firefighters lost their lives on 9/11 in selfless sacrifice, for people they did not even know by name," said Lt. Justin Bernard, an Aurora, Colorado, native and chaplain aboard New York. "My goal in praying for just one of their families every night is to remind our crew that we carry their torch of service, and that these families are our families now. Thousands of lives were impacted that day, so we pray for one at a time so they will never be forgotten."

Bernard reported aboard New York, September 2013. He was challenged by the executive officer, now commanding officer, Capt. Christopher Brunett, to come up with an idea to have the crew interact with the heritage of the ship.

After much thought and prayer, he came to the realization that the one thing he does every day is pray over the 1MC. "It's something that everyone hears," Bernard said. "I figured that would be a place I could integrate their families', story with our story and I could do that consistently every day."

People continue to talk about and reflect on the impact that 9/11 has had or things that have happened since then, but this is a way to make it personal. Some of these firefighters had large families, or wives who were pregnant, and have children they never had the opportunity to meet.

"I had the opportunity to pray for firefighter Lee Fehling of Engine 235, who perished on 9/11," Bernard said. "I prayed for his wife and his three daughters Kaitlin, Morgan and lastly Megan, who was born just one week after they laid him to rest."

"I think it is important that the crew is reminded of the significance of this ship's name," said Chief Electrician's Mate Luvendra Gosine, a Lady Lake, Florida, native stationed aboard New York. "It makes us stronger as a whole when we recognize the people who made that sacrifice for us. It signifies the importance of not only the ship's name but also where we were 14 years ago."

Every night Bernard chooses a firefighter from an alphabetical list and begins to do a little research about what they were doing on the day of and who their immediate family was. He uses a book titled "Collective Portraits of Grief," which contains a portrait and a brief couple of paragraphs about each person who perished on 9/11. He also searches for any memorial foundations or pages that may have been created in their name.

Just recently Bernard prayed for Fire Department, City of New York (FDNY) Firefighter Terrence Farrell, who, like many others, gave the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty on 9/11. He also started contacting the families he prayed for and Sean Farrell, Terrence's nephew, heard about how the Sailors aboard New York were praying for his family.

"I am personally writing you to let you know how much that sincere and heartfelt act means to me," stated Sean. "I remember in 2009 when the USS New York (LPD 21) came to port in New York City, and my mother took her 14-year-old son, who couldn't be bothered with much of anything, to see and tour the ship. I can say that from the moment I walked down that gangway and back onto the pier, my life was without a doubt changed. To jump ahead a little more than five years, and I write this email as a Seamen Recruit with a SEAL contract waiting to ship out in March to Boot Camp and the opportunity of a lifetime. I am in this position because I am inspired and proud to come from a family in which service has been a tradition for generations. To see this reminder of where this journey started brings me a great deal of joy, and is much appreciated."

What started as a simple idea to connect the crew to the ship's legacy, has become so much more. It has become another opportunity that the Navy has given Bernard to serve his country by doing what he loves, which is lifting people up to God.

"I count it a blessing to not just be a chaplain in the Navy but to have the privilege to serve on a ship like this that means so much to our country and the families of 9/11," Bernard said. "It's humbling, and I'm glad we're able to make even the smallest of impacts in their lives, letting them know that we'll continue to fight for them."

New York is a part of the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and, with the embarked 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.

For more news from Commander, Amphibious Squadron 8 , visit

NNS150226-12. NAVSUP Headquarters Celebrates African American History Month

By David Rea, NAVSUP Headquarters Office of Corporate Communications

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (NNS) -- Naval Supply Systems (NAVSUP) Command Headquarters sponsored an African American History Month program for its military and civilian personnel Feb. 25. C. Kim Bracey, the first African-American Mayor of the City of York, Pennsylvania, served as the guest speaker.

Rear Adm. Jonathan A. Yuen, commander, Naval Supply Systems Command and Chief of Supply Corps, said "We recognize our brothers and sisters year round, but February is African American History Month. It's one of our exciting months as we celebrate a lot of diversity," he explained. "Change is always possible. Our guest speaker today is C. Kim Bracey, and she's here to share her thoughts with us. During National African American History Month, we recall the inner strength that sustained millions in bondage and come together to pay tribute to the heroes of all colors and creeds who have worked to end oppression."

"Your theme, 'A Century of Black Life, History, and Culture' excited me," Bracey said. "I thought I would talk about tolerance and equality over the years, specifically during that century of black life, history and culture. Many of us are still basking in the glow of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington of 1963, and it bears repeating that the march was about two primary goals -- fighting racism and discrimination and fighting poverty and economic injustice."

"We may not be able to change the prejudices and backward notions of past generations, but we can open the minds and hearts of young people to appreciate and understand others and there's no excuse why we are not," Bracey explained. "We cannot just tolerate others, we must genuinely appreciate and understand others. There is a big difference. And it is a two-way street that can transform lives."

Bracey explained that tolerance is not a moral precept to practice. "It's not just about the golden rule and learning to tolerate different races, religion, and sexual orientations," she said. "It's a requirement of 21st century life. Getting beyond tolerance to appreciating diversity is becoming a requirement -- a way of life to build social capital, collaborate, forge new economic paths, and tackle poverty."

In closing, Bracey said, "The greatest paradox in life is that true happiness comes from helping others. Let us not forget, it was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who said 'Life's most persistent and urgent questions is, 'What are you doing for others?'"

"My friends, our time is right now," Bracey said. "A Century of Black Life, History and Culture continues on."

Bracey was born and raised in York, where she attended York City schools and graduated from William Penn Senior High School, and Bloomsburg University. She joined the U.S. Air Force in 1984, and served until 1994 achieving the rank of E-6. Among her medals and citations, she received the National Defense Service Medal and three Air Force Good Conduct Medals. She is currently serving her second term as Mayor of York.

The NAVSUP and Navy Supply Corps team share one mission--to deliver sustained global logistics capabilities to the Navy and Joint warfighter. NAVSUP/Navy Supply Corps' diverse team of more than 25,000 civilian and military personnel oversee a diverse portfolio including supply chain management for material support to Navy, Marine Corps, joint and coalition partners, supply operations, conventional ordnance, contracting, resale, fuel, transportation, security assistance, and quality of life issues for the naval forces, including food service, postal services, Navy Exchanges, and movement of household goods. The NAVSUP/Navy Supply Corps team forms a vast network of professionals who deliver unparalleled products and services to customers in the fleet and across the world.

For more news from Naval Supply Systems Command, visit

NNS150226-09. USS San Diego Returns Home to San Diego Following Maiden Deployment

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Joseph M. Buliavac, USS San Diego Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego (LPD 22) returned to its homeport of Naval Base San Diego Feb. 25 following completion of the ship's maiden deployment.

The only ship in the U.S. Navy stationed in its namesake city departed for the seven-month, 40,000 nautical mile deployment, as part of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) on July 25.

"San Diego deployed with a new, very young team yet was always up to answer the call in support of fleet commanders," said USS San Diego Commanding Officer Capt. John Menoni. "There's no doubt in my mind that the Navy-Marine Corps team on San Diego is among the best in the Navy."

San Diego's Engineering Department was able to conduct several major maintenance and repair evolutions while at sea ensuring the ship's mission was uninterrupted. This allowed for a 26-day full-power run from the northern Red Sea to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, which can be a challenging feat for a ship of any class.

"Engineering department performed minor miracles on a daily basis to ensure USS San Diego was always mission ready," said Lt. Cmdr. Paul Dubose, San Diego's chief engineering officer. "These are the best Engineers I have worked with in my 23 years in the Navy; they do the hardest work on the ship and make my job easy."

The Operations and Combat Systems departments pushed Information Dominance Warfare, by aligning the ship's Information Dominance Corps ratings. The crew's intelligence, electronic warfare, cryptologic, and communications teams innovated by rescoping their mission sets and operated as an Information Dominance Operations Cell (IDOC). This unique alignment resulted record breaking results leading to the ship being recognized as the U.S. 7th Fleet Cryptologic Ship of the Quarter, 4th quarter 2014.

"I am extremely proud of, and grateful for, the team I have in Operations Department," said Lt. Cmdr. John Glover, San Diego operations officer. "My bridge, combat, and intelligence teams performed steadily and responded very well to a very fluid environment. My Sailors are professionals and are among the best in the fleet!"

San Diego's 410 Sailors and Marines, along with more than 575 Sailors and Marines from the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) conducted maritime security operations and theater security cooperation exercises and events in the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operation.

"I give all of the credit to our blue green team," said Menoni. "Our Sailors and Marines came together as a truly cohesive unit, that showed day in and day out, from pre-deployment exercises to the final day of deployment. The strength of character they displayed every day was awe inspiring."

Sailors and Marines serving aboard San Diego assisted in the evacuation of three National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists as part of the Makin Island ARG and 11th MEU emergent recovery operation at the Papahnaumokukea Marine National Monument.

San Diego, accompanied by the amphibious dock landing ship USS Comstock (LSD 45), was the command ship for Malus Amphex 14, a bi-lateral amphibious exercise with the Royal Malaysian Navy.

The heavily integrated San Diego and 11th MEU team also participated in Cougar Voyage 2014 with the Royal British and French Navies; Red Reef 15 with Saudi Arabian Forces; and took part in sustainment training exercises in Kuwait and Djibouti. They also spent an extended period of time as a quick reaction force to help out American citizens at the U.S. Embassy in Sana'a, Yemen while ensuring the safety of American citizens in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operation.

Individuals were also recognized for milestones and qualifications during San Diego's maiden deployment as well. Five officers earned their Surface Warfare Officer qualification, three earned Command Duty Officer qualifications and 14 officers, one Senior Chief Petty Officer and one Chief Petty Officer completed the Officer of the Deck qualification. Four officers were also promoted to the next rank.

The Enlisted Surface Warfare qualification was awarded to 204 Sailors and 57 Sailors were advanced to the next pay grade.

Sailors and Marines aboard San Diego also took part in a variety of community relations activities in two countries while on deployment. These events included spending time with underprivileged children in Hong Kong, a soccer match with a Royal Jordanian Navy team, and a familiarization visit to a mosque.

During the deployment, San Diego made port visits to Aqaba, Jordan, and Port Khalifa, UAE, for routine maintenance; Hong Kong and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, for liberty.

Ninety friends and family members joined the Sailors and Marines on the final leg of the deployment, to experience shipboard life as part of a scheduled Tiger Cruise.

Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 3 Rear Adm. Fernandez "Frank" Ponds flew out to San Diego Feb. 24 to congratulate the crew for completing their deployment.

"You didn't just meet the standards, you set the standards. Now that you're back San Diego will be whole again because the city has its ship back," said Ponds. "Everything that you do and everything that you've touched has been golden, but the ship would be nothing without the Sailors and the Marines that man the deck. You are the greatest that our nation has to offer."

The ship is named for the city of San Diego, which has a large Navy and Marine Corps population, and pays tribute to the people of "America's Finest City" and its leaders for their constant support of the military. The ship was commissioned during a ceremony in San Diego, May 19, 2012.

During deployment San Diego completed five full vehicle and equipment offloads in five countries, received 4.1 million gallons of fuel produced 5 million gallons of water, conducted 40,000 man-hours in repairs, completed a full vehicle & equipment washdown in three and a half days vice the normal seven, flew 1821.2 flight hours, 2593 passenger movements, 12,146,725 lbs. of cargo, took on 908 tons of food, 507 tons in stores, parts and supplies, 65 tons of mail, completed 20 replenishments at sea and 37 well deck operations, and was at sea for 200 days out of a 216 day deployment.

San Diego, deployed as part of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group with the 11th MEU, returned to homeport San Diego following a seven-month deployment to the Western Pacific and the U.S. Central Command areas of operation.

For more news from USS San Diego (LPD 22), visit

NNS150226-06. Navy Entertainment Brings T-Pain to Team Carl Vinson

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Curtis D. Spencer, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 and Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1 hosted two-time Grammy Award winning artist, T-Pain Feb. 25.

The star's visit was a joint effort between Carl Vinson leadership and Navy Entertainment.

Throughout the afternoon and into the evening T-Pain showed his appreciation to Sailors by chatting, posing for photos, signing autographs and performing a special concert.

"This was a once in a life time opportunity," said Information System's Technician Seaman Leonard Talton. "It was a lot of fun. Meeting T-Pain was an experience I will never forget."

The artist expressed what the military means to him and how he enjoys giving back to those who serve.

"I of course would like to thank the crew," T-Pain said "You can't be at the top of your game unless you meet the people who put you there. It is important to support our troops and our military. If you don't, I don't think you have done everything that's required to get to the top."

T-Pain's more than 10 year musical career includes, 60 hit songs, four albums and an eight year run of number one hits, albums, tours and a plethora of cameo appearances.

To follow Carl Vinson on Facebook, visit
For more news from USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), visit

NNS150226-05. Patient Satisfaction Leads to High Scores for Boone Clinic Recertification

By Rebecca A. Perron, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth Public Affairs

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) -- Naval Medical Center Portsmouth announced Feb. 24 that positive feedback from parents happy with their children's care was a major contributing factor for the Pediatric Medical Home Port Clinic at Branch Health Clinic Boone receiving a near-perfect score and the highest level certification on its National Committee for Quality Assurance recertification.

The NCQA awarded the Pediatric MHP clinic a Level 3 certification and a score of 99 out of 100.
The branch health clinic, located at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, is the first of NMCP's BHCs to apply for recertification of an outpatient clinic. The Pediatric MHP clinic was originally certified three years ago as a Level 3. Certifications are in effect for three years. Three more outpatient clinics at Boone also have a Level 3 NCQA certification.

"This recertification means that everything the (pediatrics) clinic has done over the last three years - including what process improvements we've brought into play - we've done well, not only for our staff, but for our patients also," said Cmdr. Gabriel Brown, Boone's officer in charge. "Level 3 means you cover all the aspects of patient quality and safety."

The Medical Home Port Program streamlines patient care using a team approach to provide comprehensive and integrated care. Patients receive continuity of care from a team of health care providers. The Home Port model focuses on the relationship and trust that grows between the health care team and the patient.

Brown said the committee uses patient feedback as a large portion of the score, as well as how care is documented in the electronic health record.

"Basically, your patients are grading you versus just an outside organization grading you, because they read all of your customer service feedbacks," Brown said. "Another big piece in the health care arena right now is how you document and share information. We do have a global electronic health record, as well as TRICARE Online, Relay Health and the Nurse Advice Line, so that helps us achieve the Level 3. Those combine to become a personal health record, and not many organizations have a personal health record."

The personal health record documents patient education, another NCQA requirement. Each facility must now prove how they educate their patients, in addition to the quality of care they provide.

"The communication with patients, the Relay Health initiative that has been pushed throughout the Military Health System, where we can actually communicate with the parents, and the patient is another initiative that we've done to help us maintain that level of certification," Brown said.

One of the newest components is the Nurse Advice Line. According to Brown, pediatrics parents use the Nurse Advice Line more than anyone, because it gives them 24-hour access to speak with a clinical provider and get information real-time without having to come into the emergency room.

"This is especially true when you are talking about infants 24 months or less," Brown said. "The main thing we've done is to put performance improvement measures into place, which creates team building and becomes a culture of the way we do things."

Also new to the recertification requirements is obesity screenings for children. The pediatric clinic began the only child obesity program in Navy Medicine, screening kids just like adults and forming a pilot program that Navy Medicine can use to develop programs at other treatment facilities.

"We started the obesity program to teach our youth and their parents good eating habits from the beginning," Brown said. "We found that there's a culture that they can eat candy and nothing will happen to them. But we are seeing more and more kids who don't have enough play time outside, and they are not eating the right things."

The obesity program works with parents to educate them about forming healthier habits with their children, including getting enough time playing outside. Multiple appointments over several weeks include seeing a nutritionist and a dentist.

"We identify kids, usually ages five to 10, who are having some of these health problems, and we give parents information about new healthy habits and things they can be doing in monitoring their children. There's a dental piece to this too. We analyze the children and see if there are any dental problems they may be having from the diet they are eating. The program is generally a six- to nine-week program where we monitor and we educate and coordinate with the parents on weight control, and those sorts of things."

After seeing the hard work the clinic staff has invested in making their Medical Home Port the standard in Navy Medicine, Brown said he is proud to be a part of this organization.

"I have four NCQA Level 3 certified clinics," Brown added. "I'm proud to be part of something that's a new initiative, not only in Navy Medicine, but in health care. Personally, for me, I think it's great to be a part of this."

NCQA is a private, 501(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality in the U.S. Since its founding in 1900, NCQA has been a central figure in driving improvement throughout the health care system, helping to elevate the issue of health care quality to the top of the national agenda.

For more news from Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, visit

NNS150226-04. Naval Air Facility Misawa and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Conduct Security Training

By Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Ryan C. Delcore, Naval Air Facility Misawa Public Affairs

HACHINOHE, Japan (NNS) -- Naval Air Facility (NAF) Misawa and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) conducted security training at Camp Hachinohe Feb. 24.

JGSDF Soldiers and U.S. Navy Sailors shared security techniques and honed their skills while dealing with many challenging security scenarios.

"This is the first time this has ever been done with JGSDF and U.S. Navy Misawa security forces. We're very excited to get it done and very excited to work together. At the end of the day we hope to start a relationship that will last for many years," said Chief Master-at-Arms Marcus Williams, assigned to NAF Misawa

Vehicle-born improvised explosive devices (IED), personnel-carried IED, belligerent suspects, personnel searches, vehicle searches, and suspicious packages were a few of the scenarios encountered.

The NAF Misawa and JGSDF security forces who attended the training are responsible for protecting U.S. Navy fuel depots located in Hachinohe. Communication barriers and differences in security techniques were addressed during the training.

"This Force Protection Exercise (FPEX) is a great opportunity for both forces to integrate and work collectively to protect critical naval assets. Both forces have force protection training teams (FPTT) assessing and observing the evolutions which is critical when conducting after action reviews (AAR) at the conclusion of each scenario. This allowed us to identify what we need to improve jointly as well as what we need to sustain. The JGSDF are very professional and highly motivated. We look forward to continuing this professional relationship and future field training exercises," said Lt. Daniel Topper, officer in charge of NAF Misawa's Security Detachment.

NAF Misawa and JGSDF security forces spent a lot of energy planning this training in hopes that it will set the standard for future relations and training opportunities between the two services.

For more news from Naval Air Facility Misawa, Japan, visit

NNS150226-03. USS Frank Cable Celebrates African American History Month

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Greg House, USS Frank Cable Public Affairs

PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Sailors and civilian mariners assigned to the submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS 40) celebrated African American History Month during the ship's scheduled underway period, Feb. 24.

The ship's diversity committee sponsored the ceremony, which included remarks from the ship's Commanding Officer Capt. Mark Benjamin.

"This month is a time to tell those stories of freedom won and to honor the individuals who wrote them," said Benjamin. "We look back to the men and women who helped raise the pillars of democracy, even when the halls they built were not theirs to occupy. We trace generations of African Americans, free and slave, who risked everything to realize their God-given rights."

Benjamin went on to pay tribute to civil rights activists like Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglas and also acknowledged those who helped bring equality to the U.S. Navy such as the "Golden Thirteen", the first black officers in the Navy, commissioned during World War II.

Cmdr. Jay Turner also spoke at the ceremony about how growing up facing adversity shaped him into the Sailor he is today.

"My experiences taught me to be confident, that I can make solid contributions in any arena of life," said Turner. "They taught me how to face issues head on, regardless of what they may be."

Turner also shared his views on the importance of African American History Month.

"Celebrating African American History Month reminds us of the 'can do' spirit that African Americans bring to our country," said Turner. "Most importantly, it reminds us that the depths of our pride run as deep as our willingness and effort to learn about the tremendous accomplishments and take pride in them as Americans."

The ceremony concluded with a performance of the song "Lift Every Voice and Sing," sang by Senior Chief Operations Specialist Charles Green and Personnel Specialist 2nd Class Malcolm Portier.

Frank Cable, forward deployed to the island of Guam, conducts maintenance and support of submarines and surface vessels deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.

For more information on Frank Cable, visit or like us on Facebook at

For more news from USS Frank Cable (AS 40), visit

NNS150226-02. USS Pasadena Visits Yokosuka during Western Pacific Deployment

By Lt. j.g. Drew Hanessian, USS Pasadena Public Affairs

FLEET ACTIVITIES YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Pasadena (SSN 752) arrived at Fleet Activities Yokosuka Feb. 26 for a visit as part of its Western Pacific deployment.

The officers and crew of Pasadena are excited to be in Japan and on deployment in the Western Pacific. This represents a culmination of several years of hard work on the part of each crew member.

"I am very proud of each of them and look forward to seeing them continue to excel throughout this deployment," said Cmdr. Mark E. Cooper, commanding officer of Pasadena. "Pasadena's presence in the Western Pacific is important and our interactions with our allies and other friendly nations in the region will serve to demonstrate the United States' commitment to the region and develop closer ties."

Measuring more than 360 feet long and displacing more than 6,900 tons when submerged, Pasadena is one of the most mission capable and technologically advanced submarines in the world. This submarine supports a wide range of missions, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike, and naval special warfare, which encompasses both special operations forces and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations.

"The Pasadena Sailors look forward to enjoying the change of seasons Japan has to offer," said Command Master Chief Mark A. Evans, Pasadena's chief of the boat. "The officers and crew will enjoy some well-deserved rest prior to beginning the second leg of a demanding deployment."

As Pasadena makes its first deployment following an extended overhaul in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, this makes the first deployment experience for the majority of its crew, as well as their first visit to Japan.

"I'm really excited to visit Japan for the first time," said Logistics Specialist 3rd Class Ernesto Escamilla. "This being my first deployment, I'm particularly looking forward to having the opportunity to visit historic sites in the area and sample the local cuisine."

Pasadena's crew of 150 will conduct a multitude of missions and showcase the latest capabilities of the submarine fleet. Pasadena's participation in exercises with various foreign navies from around the Pacific Rim will also aid in solidifying the U.S. role in international maritime operations.

Commissioned in July, 1991, and currently homeported in San Diego, Pasadena is the U.S. Navy's second "improved" 688-class nuclear-powered submarine. Throughout its proud and illustrious 24-year history, Pasadena has deployed to and conducted operations in virtually every part of the world.

Today, Pasadena continues to answer the call of duty in conducting yet another Western Pacific deployment, truly living up to its motto of "Anytime, Anywhere."

For more news from Commander Submarine Group 7, visit

NNS150226-01. USS Olympia Returns from Deployment

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Steven Khor, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- The Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Olympia (SSN 717) returned Feb. 25 from a scheduled deployment to the Western Pacific, welcomed by family and friends gathered at the submarine piers of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

The submarine's commanding officer, Cmdr. Thomas Shugart, said the crew was outstanding and productive throughout the deployment.

"It was fantastic!" said Shugart, a native of Houston. "Our Sailors did a great job representing us and the nation overseas, working with our allies and projecting power forward in defense of peace and harmony in the Western Pacific."

Olympia successfully completed an array of undersea operations and training evolutions, and worked with allied partners in several multinational exercises, thus improving the overall mission readiness of U.S. and allied forces.

Shugart commended his crew for being great ambassadors on behalf of the nation and said they had a lot of fun.

"The guys were very excited to visit places like Korea and Japan," said Shugart. "They saw a lot of sights, which is a part of what joining the Navy is about; it's seeing the world."

Shugart added that the crew has a deep sense of pride brought on by their accomplishments while on deployment.

In addition to gaining the experience of operating in the Western Pacific, the deployment afforded Sailors the opportunity to work on qualifications.

"We had several Sailors and officers who received their Submarine Warfare Qualifications while on deployment," said Olympia's Chief of the Boat, Master Chief Electronics Technician Roland Midgett. "Through the various events Olympia participated in, we were able to present their "dolphins" uniform insignia at various ports or on the bridge during the underway period."

"We are elated to be back," added Midgett. "It's great to have accomplished all we have, and now the crew is ready to spend some time with the family."

Olympia returned home with a new second in charge, with Lt. Cmdr. Rob Walls having relieved Lt. Cmdr. Thomas Flaherty as executive officer of Olympia in a pre-scheduled relief during the deployment.

When Olympia rounded the corner inside Pearl Harbor to a crowd of family and friends, it became apparent that they were finally home.

Jana Miller, wife of Electronics Technician 1st Class Kyle Miller said she is looking forward to seeing his face and giving him a big hug. The couple hails from Colorado Springs, Colorado.

"Welcome home, guys!" exclaimed Miller. "We are gonna go camping and try to go home for the summer!"

Sonar Technician (Submarines) Seaman John Barnes, one of the newest Sailors on board, said he found the deployment challenging yet rewarding.

"It really makes you realize how close you become with your family on the boat, and there is nothing like it," said Barnes. "It was long, it was aggravating at some point, but in the end, it was well worth it. Definitely a good experience."

Many Sailors aboard Olympia distinguished themselves during this deployment period and were recognized through promotions, awards or having earned their submarine warfare pin signifying their qualification as submariners.

Olympia personnel who earned their submarine warfare pin, or "dolphins," are Lt. j.g. Zachary Copes; Lt. j.g. Louis Wu, of Gaithersburg, Maryland.; Electronics Technician 2nd Class Chad Wright, of Florence, Arizona; Information Systems Technician (Submarines) 3rd Class Justin Brennan, of Woodbridge, Virginia; Electronics Technician 3rd Class Christopher Floresrazo, of Norwalk, California; Electronics Technician 3rd Class Robert Marfut, of Bremerton, Washington; Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Shaun Feeney-Moore, of South Mills, North Carolina; Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Eric Martin, of Beverly, Massachusetts; Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Guillermo Ramirez, of Lancaster, California; Sonar Technician (Submarines) 3rd Class Robert Krisko; Logistics Specialist 3rd Class Darren Ortilla, of Sacramento, California; Logistics Specialist Seaman Shawn Mallory, of Haslet, Texas; Sonar Technician (Submarines) Seaman Christopher Naquin, of Carpentersville, Illinois; Machinist's Mate Fireman David Phillips, of Essexville, Michigan; Electronics Technician Seaman Aaron Bailey, of Denham Springs, Louisiana; Sonar Technician (Submarines) Seaman Jonathan Barnes, of Summerton, South Carolina; and Fire Control Technician Seaman Jacob Warminton, of Flemington, Missouri.

More than 20 Olympia team members received promotions to the next rank during this deployment.

Lt. Lewis Im, of Bayside, New York, was promoted to the rank of lieutenant commander; and Electronics Technician 1st Class Derek Scammon, of Wibaux, Montana, earned a promotion to chief electronics technician.

Sailors promoted to the rank of petty officer first class include Electrician's Mate 1st Class Jory Anderson, of Austin, Texas; Electrician's Mate 1st Class Alexander Strickland, of Seattle; Electrician's Mate 1st Class Matthew Budny, of Nicholasville, Kentucky; Machinist's Mate 1st Class Aaron Minard; Culinary Specialist 1st Class Jameson Barlow, of Tampa, Florida; and Electronics Systems Technician 1st Class Cory Saunders, of Snellville, Georgia.

Those who received promotions to petty officer second class include Electrician's Mate 2nd Class Cameron Beswick, of Saugus, California; Sonar Technician (Submarines) 2nd Class Brandon Cummings, of Peoria, Arizona; Electronics Technician 2nd Class Michael Donza, of Delray Beach, Florida; Electronics Technician 2nd Class Anthony Huber, of Framingham, Massachusetts;
Electronics Technician 2nd Jonathan Nogaj, of Honolulu, Hawaii; and Electronics Technician 2nd Bryan Smith, of Kenvir, Kentucky.

Receiving promotions to petty officer third class include Fire Control Technician 3rd Class Arnoldnoel Andrade, of Stockton, California; Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Seth Cleaver, of Jerome, Idaho; Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Eric Martin; Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Guillermo Ramirez; Machinist's Mate 3rd Andrew Tyson; Sonar Technician (Submarines) 3rd Class Brandon Tackett, of West Carrollton, Ohio; and Sonar Technician 3rd Class Theodore West, of West Palm Beach, Florida.

Several Olympia Sailors had their superior actions on deployment recognized with letters of commendation, including Culinary Specialist 1st Class Jameson Barlow; Machinist's Mate 1st Class Michael Swatowski, of Madison, Ohio; Electrician's Mate 1st Class Matthew Budny; Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Sebastian Whiting, of Waipahu, Hawaii; Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Jeremy Williams, of Lapeer, Michigan; Electronics Technician 2nd Class Jeremy Zila, of Overland Park, Kansas; Sonar Technician (Submarines) 2nd Class Brandon Cummings; Machinist's Mate 2nd Class John Valentine; Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Joseph Vorce, of Honolulu, Hawaii; Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Michael Gomez, of Hialeah, Florida; Electronics Technician 2nd Class Andrew Shipe, of Shamokin, Pennsylvania.; Electrician's Mate 3rd Class John Beatty, of Granger, Indiana; Electronics Technician 3rd Class Shawn Slutzky, of Williams, Indiana; Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Michael Taisacan, of Saipan, Northern Marianas Islands; Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Troy Wagner, of Canton, Ohio; Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Eric Martin; Culinary Specialist Seaman Kyle Fitzpatrick, of Desoto, Texas;

NNS150225-20. IDCERTEX Advances Readiness in Pacific

By Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Five U.S. Navy ships concluded a two-week independent deployer certification exercise (IDCERTEX) off the coast of Southern California and Hawaii Feb. 20.

The exercise provided a multi-ship environment to train and certify independent deployers in surface warfare, air defense, maritime interception operations, command and control/information warfare, command, control, computers and combat systems intelligence and mine warfare.

The exercise led by Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet (C3F) and executed by Commander, Carrier Strike Group Fifteen (CSG 15), included the guided-missile cruisers USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), USS Chosin (CG 65), guided-missile destroyers USS Preble (DDG 88), USS Chafee (DDG 90), littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) and USS Fort Worth's (LCS 3) Crew 102.

IDCERTEX served as CSG 15's final opportunity to evaluate and certify Preble, Chafee and Fort Worth Crew 102, embarked aboard Freedom, across multiple warfare areas prior to regularly scheduled deployments.

According to Rear Adm. Rick Williams, commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific (MIDPAC), IDCERTEX was a success for the ships involved that demonstrated their readiness to deploy and operate in an integrated, multi-ship environment. Crew 102's certification will enable them to turn over with Crew 103, who departed San Diego for Singapore Feb. 8 to relieve Crew 104.

"IDCERTEX was successful thanks to outstanding work and commitment by all participants," said Williams.

Chafee, Chosin, Lake Champlain and Preble conducted their training off the coast of Hawaii while Freedom participated off the coast of Southern California.

"Having a split location is challenging no matter what you're doing, and this is no different, yet this did not hinder our ability to train and assess them and get them fully certified," said Capt. Patrick Keyes, commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet, assistant chief of staff for plans, policy, training and readiness. "In the end, Chafee, Preble and Crew 102 were able to get fully certified, and now they are ready to execute all mission areas while deployed in the Western Pacific and Arabian Gulf."

Crew 102 was certified in shipboard firefighting, man-overboard drills, visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS), and other ship specific training. The integrated phase consists of flight operations, submarine tracking, strait transit formations, replenishment-at-sea between multiple ships and aircraft, and other required mission evolutions.

"The fact that our crew has progressed from a shore-based training environment directly to the successful accomplishment of an advanced level independent deployer certification exercise in only three weeks is an amazing validation of the training concept for LCS rotational crews," said Cmdr. Michael Jarrett, commanding officer of LCS Crew 102. "The crew's ability to perform at a fast pace and demonstrate proficiency suitable for deployment is a testament to the enthusiasm and work ethic of our Sailors and their teammates from the Surface Warfare Detachment Four and Detachment three from the "Magicians" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 35."

Supporting staffs included Commander, Naval Surface Forces Pacific, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, DESRON 31, Marine Aircraft Group 24, Hawaii Air National Guard and the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade.

"This exercise advances our readiness to operate on, above and below the seas as one team," said Williams. "Certification demonstrates that our ships are focused, capable and ready to deploy forward."

Leading the naval forces in the Eastern Pacific from the West Coast of North America to the international date line, U.S. 3rd Fleet provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy.

For more news from Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet, visit

NNS011213-37. This Day in Naval History - Feb. 26

From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

1944 - Sue Sophia Dauser, Superintendent of the Navy's Nurse Corps, is the first woman in the Navy to receive rank of captain.

1945 - TBMs (VC 82) from USS Anzio (CVE 57) sink two Japanese submarines: I 368, 35 miles west of Iwo Jima, and RO 43, 50 miles west-northwest of Iwo Jima.

1945 - USS Finnegan (DE 307) sinks Japanese submarine I 370, 120 miles south of Iwo Jima.

1991 - During Operation Desert Storm, A-6E aircraft of VA-155 from USS Ranger (CVA 61) and Marine aircraft bomb Iraqi troops fleeing Kuwait City to Basra.

NNS150227-24. U.S. 3rd Fleet Announces Sea and Shore Sailors of the Year

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW/AW) Kory Alsberry, U.S. Third Fleet Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Vice Adm. Kenny Floyd, Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet, announced the 2014 3rd Fleet Sea and Shore Sailors of the Year (SOY) during a ceremony held at command headquarters in Point Loma, Feb. 27.

Information Systems Technician 1st Class Jennifer L. Morgan, from Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet, was selected as the Shore Sailor of the Year and Boatswain's Mate 1st Class Cedric D. Howard, from Commander, Carrier Strike Group 1, was selected as the Sea Sailor of the Year.

"These nine phenomenal Sailor of the Year finalists represent the very best and the absolute finest of their commands," said Floyd. "They have been selected for their consistent performance and adherence to the Navy's core values of honor, courage and commitment."

Prior to announcing the winners, a panel of U.S. 3rd Fleet master chiefs held a board interview for each of the nine SOY nominees. During the process, board members evaluated each Sailor's personal appearance, military bearing and career accomplishments. The board chair's recommendation for SOY selections was then forwarded to U.S. 3rd Fleet leadership for final approval.

"The board process is very grueling," said U.S. 3rd Fleet Command Master Chief Loran M. Bather. "It starts at the command level. Throughout the Sailor of the Year process, all the 1st class petty officer's packages are reviewed and the top nominees are presented to their command leaders who go through the process of selecting their best candidates."

The Sailors also participated in a week of activities with SOY candidates from U.S. 3rd Fleet, Naval Air Forces (CNAP), Naval Surface Forces Pacific (CNSP) and Submarine Forces (CSP). Activities included command events and community outreach at locations such as the San Diego Zoo, Sea World, and a USS Midway Museum guided tour.

"My inspiration this week was my Sailors," said Morgan. "Seeing what they have been able to do and watching them strive and continue to excel empowers me to be the best I can possibly be for them."

"I have been blessed with a group of Sailors that have supported me and gone above and beyond for me and our mission for the last year," added Morgan. "I absolutely contribute my success to their success."

Other shore nominees included Operations Specialist 1st Class Shawn L. Hale, from Commanding Officer, Expeditionary Warfare Training Group, Pacific and Intelligence Specialist 1st Class Bryan J. Olsen, from Commander, Naval Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command.

The nominees for Sea SOY were Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 1st Class Jason J. Martz, from Commander, Carrier Strike Group 11; Operations Specialist 1st Class Keith T. Osburn, from Commander, Carrier Strike Group 3; Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Eduardo G. Pamatz, from Commander, Carrier Strike Group 9; Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 1st Class Eric G. Speight, from Commander, Carrier Strike Group 15; and Logistics Specialist 1st Class Shaun S. Winnett, from Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 3.

U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Eastern Pacific from the West Coast of North America to the international date line and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy.

For more news from Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet, visit

NNS150227-22. Navy Lays Keel on Future Littoral Combat Ship Omaha

From PEO LCS Public Affairs

MOBILE, Alabama (NNS) -- Austal USA shipyard held a keel laying ceremony for the sixth Independence variant littoral combat ship, the future USS Omaha (LCS 12), Feb. 18.

With Austal USA as the shipbuilder, teamed with General Dynamics as the combat systems provider, the future USS Omaha will be approximately 420 feet in length and have a waterline beam of greater than 100 feet.

"Today we celebrate an important milestone in the construction and ultimately life of the future USS Omaha," said Capt. Tom Anderson, LCS program manager. "Once complete, this highly adaptable warship will deploy cutting edge mine countermeasures, antisubmarine warfare, and surface warfare systems around the globe."

The keel laying represents the formal beginning in the life of a ship and the ceremony recognizes the first joining together of a ship's components, though modern shipbuilding processes allow advanced fabrication of individual modules.

PEO LCS is responsible for delivering and sustaining littoral mission capabilities to the fleet and is working with industry to increase production efficiencies and leverage cost savings to achieve steady serial production. Delivering high-quality warfighting assets while balancing affordability and capability is key to supporting the Navy's Maritime Strategy.

For more news from Naval Sea Systems Command, visit

NNS150227-21. Future USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) Launches

From PEO LCS Public Affairs

MOBILE, Alabama (NNS) -- The future USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10), launched from the Austal USA shipyard Feb. 25, marking an important production milestone for the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program.

"This third Independence variant ship of the block buy is the first ship constructed fully utilizing Austal's LCS Modular Manufacturing Facility and is launching at the highest level of production completion to-date," said Capt. Tom Anderson, Littoral Combat Ship program manager, "a sign that facility investments are now paying off in schedule and cost performance."

The ship is named after former United States Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. LCS 10 will be the 16th U.S. naval ship to be named for a woman, and only the 13th ship to be named for a living person since 1850.

Gabrielle Giffords was rolled out of her assembly bay onto a barge for transfer down the Mobile River to a floating drydock Feb. 24. The ship entered the water for the first time the following day when the drydock was flooded for the ship launch. The ship will return to the shipyard to continue final outfitting and activation until her christening later this year. She is expected to deliver to the fleet in 2017.

Gabrielle Giffords is the third ship in a block buy contract with Austal to build 10 Independence- variant LCS ships. Sister ship Jackson (LCS 6) is preparing for builder's trials, and Montgomery (LCS 8) was christened in November 2014. The LCS program is ramping up in 2015 to deliver two ships per year from the Austal shipyard, as well as two Freedom-variant ships from the Marinette Marine shipyard in Wisconsin.

The Navy is leveraging competition, fixed-price contracting and ongoing production efficiencies to reduce construction time and costs on littoral combat ships. Lessons learned from the lead ships have been incorporated into both Freedom variant (odd-numbered) and Independence variant (even-numbered) hulls.

PEO LCS is responsible for delivering and sustaining littoral mission capabilities to the fleet and is working with industry to increase production efficiencies and leverage cost savings to achieve steady serial production. Delivering high-quality warfighting assets while balancing affordability and capability is key to supporting the Navy's Maritime Strategy.

For more news from Naval Sea Systems Command, visit

NNS150227-20. MCMRON-7 and JMSDF Focus on Combined Operations in Annual Mine Warfare Staff Talks

By Lt. Joseph S. Marinucci, MCMRON-7 Public Affairs

WHITE BEACH, Okinawa (NNS) -- Commander, Amphibious Force U.S. 7th Fleet, Commander, Mine Countermeasures Squadron (MCMRON) 7, and Japan Maritime Self Defense Force Commander (JMSDF), Mine Warfare Force concluded a three day mine warfare staff conference at CTF 76 headquarters Feb. 25.

This year's conference highlighted an increased focus on enhancing combined exercises to better integrate U.S. and Japanese forces and capabilities in a live-force environment. Interoperability, cooperation, and tactical development were key themes of the event.

"These talks are another example of the exceptional relationship enjoyed by the U.S. Navy and JMSDF, said Rear Adm. Hugh Wetherald, commander, Amphibious Force U.S. 7th Fleet. "The fact that we can come together to discuss openly on how we can improve our core combat capabilities and interoperability in mine warfare and amphibious operations demonstrates our commitment to this alliance."

The intent for the staff talks is to provide a forum for the subject matter experts to meet and discuss different aspects of their mission objectives and their responsibilities and provide a forum to discuss coordination and training between U.S. and JMSDF mine warfare forces.

"Our ability to operate seamlessly with our JMSDF counterparts in such a critical area of the world is vital to maintaining stability and open seas in the Western Pacific" said Capt. Mike Dowling, commander of MCMRON-7. "We genuinely appreciate the professionalism and knowledge of our friends in the JMSDF Mine Warfare Force."

Both U.S. and JMSDF MCM ships pulled into White Beach where Sailors from both navies were provided tours and introductions of the ships as their respective staffs crafted plans for future operations. In the spirit of friendship, the two navies engaged in softball and enjoyed a cookout serving traditional American and Japanese barbeque.

MCMRON-7, commanded by Capt. Mike Dowling, is a combined readiness and tactical staff responsible for mine countermeasures in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. The squadron consists of four Avenger-class minesweepers forward deployed to Sasebo, Japan, and a helicopter mine countermeasures detachment in Pohang, Republic of Korea.

NNS150227-19. Aegis Ashore Team Trainer Pilot Class Graduates

By Lt. Bryan Kline, Technical Analyst, Center for Surface Combat Systems

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- The pilot class of the new Aegis Ashore Team Trainer (AATT) graduated after completing an eight-week training course Feb. 27. Training was conducted by Center for Surface Combat Systems Unit (CSCSU) Dam Neck in conjunction with CSCS Detachment (Det) Norfolk, Afloat Training Group (ATG) Norfolk and Tactical Training Group Atlantic (TACTRAGRULANT). The pilot class students will be the first deploying watch team to the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System in Deveselu, Romania.

"Today's graduation is the result of years of development efforts on behalf of all of the trainer and curriculum developers," said Mike Kroner, deputy director for CSCS' Technical Support Directorate. "This pilot course has been a great opportunity to validate those efforts and ensure the watch teams have the skill sets necessary to execute their mission in Romania."

The AATT was funded by the Surface Warfare Resource Sponsor, OPNAV N96 and developed by the Surface Warfare, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA 21) Surface Training Systems (STS) Program Office (PMS 339) and Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD). The AATT facility is located onboard Naval Air Station Oceana Dam Neck Annex in Gallery Hall. The trainer houses a mock-up of the shore-based Aegis Combat Information Center (CIC) and Communication Center and hosts a complete replica of the tactical warfighting, communication and information technology systems resident at the host nation in Europe.

The concept behind Aegis Ashore dates back to September 2009 when it was determined that more capable Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) was required to defend U.S. deployed forces, their families, and allies in Europe.

The complete AATT course of instruction is comprised of an eight-week training pipeline; a five week basic phase conducted by CSCSU Dam Neck, a one-week qualification phase conducted by ATG Norfolk, and a two-week certification phase conducted by TACTRAGRULANT.

During weeks one and two, CSCS instructed students on basic system capabilities and limitations, theater operational procedures, console operator familiarization, and BMD mission planning.

"Due to the diversity of rates, backgrounds and varying levels of BMD experience, our entire team was eager to begin 'base lining' and the CSCS cadre did not fail to deliver," said AATT student Lt. Daniel Rayburn. "We began with the history of BMD and ended with a detailed overview of command and control infrastructure effectively conveying all critical concepts and processes."

During weeks three through five, the watch team executed a series of increasingly complex tactical team scenarios, flexing the extensive capabilities of the new high fidelity trainer while turning the students into a cohesive tactical team.

"The quiet is occasionally broken by routine reports, casualty response procedures and engagement statuses culminating in a well-rehearsed rapid-fire report 'off-ship,'" commented Rayburn. "The seemingly relaxed demeanor gives no indication as to the intensity of the battle being waged as wave upon wave of simulated ballistic missiles are systematically detected, assessed and engaged by the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System (AAMDS)."

After the five-week basic phase, the crew completed their BMD Qualification (BMDQ) administered by ATG Norfolk. Following a successful BMDQ, TACTRAGRULANT supervised the execution of a BMD Exercise (BMDEX), in coordination with theater ballistic missile defense assets, as a capstone to the AATT course of instruction.

Cmdr. Andrew Carlson, AAMDS Romania's commanding officer, discusses the importance of the delivered training.

"The training provided to the inaugural watch team for Aegis Ashore Romania established a solid baseline for operation and tactical employment of this new capability and will prove to be pivotal in the development of our Sailors to deploy in the European theater," he said. "We will be ready to execute the President's initiative to provide BMD for our allies and partners in the region."

Capt. Bill McKinley, CSCS' commanding officer, discusses how AATT is a great example of how technology is improving the U.S. Navy's ability to train Sailors while saving both time and money.

"AATT allows us to train, qualify, and certify our Sailors so when they arrive in Romania they are immediately prepared to contribute," he said. "This represents the next evolution in combat systems training and sets a clear standard for what we should strive to achieve in our future training endeavors."

For information on the Center for Surface Combat System, visit

Visit us on Facebook

For more news from Center for Surface Combat Systems, visit

NNS150227-18. Kauffman Saves Stranded Mariners

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Shane A. Jackson, USS Kauffman Public Affairs

CARIBBEAN SEA (NNS) -- The guided-missile frigate USS Kauffman (FFG 59) rescued six stranded fishermen set adrift in the western Caribbean Sea when their ship experienced engine trouble on Feb. 21.

The all-Colombian crew was stranded aboard their fishing vessel DELTA 1 when their diesel engine suffered a catastrophic failure 175 miles northwest of Cartagena, Colombia. Their safety was at risk as weather conditions were rapidly declining; sea heights were building to a forecasted 12-foot height which placed the wayward vessel at risk.

"We had to act quickly and decisively when we arrived on station and evaluated the condition of DELTA 1, her crew and the weather," said Cmdr. Michael Concannon, commanding officer of USS Kauffman. "Safety of life at sea is of the upmost concern to all mariners. Our immediate assistance was necessary for the vessel and sailors to be taken out of harm's way."

Kauffman sent a rescue and assistance team comprised of several engineers, including Chief Engineman Dany Lamadieu, to assess the mechanical condition of the damaged vessel. While the vessel's hull was deemed seaworthy, the engine damage was irreparable without replacement parts that were unavailable.

"Their O-rings were completely melted to the point that it looked as if someone had smeared a layer of peanut butter on their gears," said Lamadieu.

Lamadieu assessed that the ship's generator was still functioning enough to power the lights on board.

However, the ship's diesel engine would require extensive dock side repairs and DELTA 1 would need to be towed into port.

The Deck Division professionally and successfully rigged Kauffman and the fishing vessel for open-ocean tow, an infrequently practiced task. With the diminished state of the stranded vessel and the declining weather conditions, the maneuver proved to be very challenging.

"Normally, you'd have instructions and policies to refer to in order to get the job done," said Senior Chief Boatswain's Mate Scott Nordan. "Instead of all the normal diagrams and plans we would use, we had to come up with other ideas."

Nordan said that in most towing operations, the towing vessel passes the towing rig to the stranded vessel to use their own hawser to bring the rig to them. However, since the Colombian ship barely had power to keep its lights on, the entire operation had to be done in reverse.

"For boatswain's mates, this was right in our wheel house, as we say," said Nordan. "It was good training for our guys and they performed remarkably."

On Feb. 22nd, at the conclusion of the 130-mile tow, all six Colombian fishermen and their vessel were turned over to the Panamanian Coast Guard. This transfer of the towed vessel and mariners was new to Kauffman's crew, but they were more than up for it. The transfer was made even more difficult because it was executed approximately three miles from the entrance to the Panama Canal in Colon, Panama, in seas up to eight feet. Though delivering the crew and ship was a complicated and dangerous undertaking for Kauffman Sailors, leaving the fishermen stranded was not an option.

"We knew they were adrift in rough seas that were only getting worse and I think that it's in our core as Americans and the U.S. Navy to do what we can to help someone in distress," said Lt. Sarah Camarena, operations officer on board Kauffman.

Kauffman is currently underway in support of Operation Martillo, a joint operation with the U.S. Coast Guard and partner nations within the U.S. 4th Fleet area of responsibility.

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet support USSOUTHCOM's joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.

For more news from U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command & U.S. 4th Fleet, visit

NNS150227-13. CPPD Top Learning Sites, Reserve Unit Recognized

By Susan D. Henson, Center for Personal and Professional Development Public Affairs

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- The Center for Personal and Professional Development (CPPD) announced its Fiscal Year 2014 top learning centers and reserve unit Feb. 23.

CPPD Commanding Officer Capt. F.A. Reid announced the results of the annual competition via email to the global command, which has 15 learning sites in fleet concentration areas and three reserve unit regions.

The Large Learning Site winner is San Diego; Medium Learning Site winner is Great Lakes, Illinois; Small Learning Site winner is Groton, Connecticut; and Reserve Unit winner is CPPD West.

"Each winner was selected based on a number of factors, and while the competition was strong, those selected truly were outstanding performers throughout the competition year," Reid said.

Each learning site and reserve unit was assessed based on criteria such as the number of instructors with cross-qualification to teach other courses, post-course survey completion by students, instructor qualification as a master training specialist, physical fitness performance, collateral duties and community service.

"Our learning sites and reserve units play a vital role in executing CPPD's strategic mission and vision," Reid said. "These teammates work hard to deliver the best courses and training possible based on fleet requirements. They give Sailors the tools to lead with courage, respect and trust, and mentor future leaders to do the same. I'm proud of the work of these winners and the command as a whole."

CPPD provides a wide range of personal and professional development courses and materials, including general military training, Navy instructor training, alcohol and drug awareness program training, suicide and sexual assault prevention, bearings classes, and Personal Responsibility and Values Education and Training (PREVENT) classes. CPPD's leadership training is delivered multiple times throughout a Sailor's career via command-delivered enlisted leadership training material and officer leadership courses in a schoolhouse setting.

For more information about the Center for Personal and Professional Development (CPPD), visit: For more news from the Center for Personal and Professional Development, visit: Find CPPD on Facebook at and on Twitter @CENPERSPROFDEV.

CPPD: Where Mind Meets Mission

NNS150227-12. Head of Language, Regional Expertise and Culture Receives Award

From Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The National Security Education Program (NSEP) recognized a senior Navy civilian with their 2015 Spirit of Service Award for advancing their core mission of strengthening foreign language skills and international expertise in the national security community, Feb. 25.

Lee Johnson, head of Navy's Language, Regional Expertise and Culture (LREC) office, is being recognized by the Boren Forum for his role in "ensuring that Asia Pacific regional expertise is codified and valued within the United States Navy, through the development of a new additional qualification designator (AQD)", wrote the forum's president Yenal Kucuker in a recent letter. The award was presented during the Boren Forum open house reception at the Hillyer Gallery in Washington, D.C.

"I phoned a Defense Department colleague who is very familiar with the Boren Forum to have him confirm I understood correctly the intent of the letter informing me of the award. Of course, I did grasp the contents correctly, yet I remain surprised at having been selected. Several of its alumni work in national security related agencies and clearly their knowledge and understanding of the importance of language and culture skills to our nation's defense posture helps highlight the value of those skills within Navy," said Johnson.

Johnson, a 1973 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy served in the Navy for 31 years on active duty retiring at the rank of captain in 2004. He's served the Navy as a civilian for the last ten years and has been the head of LREC since 2007.

Kucuker wrote Johnson's work "ensures that our military forces will be better equipped to navigate the cultural and diplomatic arena and directly enhances our ability to develop partnerships that underline our national security architecture. We recognize this contribution to developing a cadre of regional and linguistic experts as something that aligns with the NSEP mission and spirit and we want to acknowledge this exciting initiative."

NSEP was created by the David L. Boren National Security Education Act of 1991 to develop a much-needed strategic partnership between the national security community and higher education, addressing the national need for experts in critical languages and regions.

The Boren Forum is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to the educational, social, and career development of NSEP award recipients and the enhancement and expansion of public service opportunities through partnerships among alumni and other organizations.

Past recipients of the Boren Forum Spirit of Service Award include former NSEP Director Robert Slater, former Congressman Daniel Boren, Deputy Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency David Shedd, and U.S. Ambassador Wanda Nesbitt.

For more news from Chief of Naval Personnel, visit

NNS150227-10. Commander Task Force 51 Visits Essex ARG/MEU

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andres Hernandez, USS Essex Public Affairs

PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Commander Task Force (CTF) 51 Marine Maj. Gen. Carl E. Mundy III visited the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) Feb. 25-26.

While aboard, Mundy met with Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) leadership and outlined his expectations for the ARG/MEU team during an all-hands call on the flight deck.

"I want you to be responsive to higher order," Mundy said. "Things happen very quickly, and I also want you to think and operate as a team; you are not going to be isolated."

Mundy's task force is responsible for command and control of amphibious forces to include response, assistance and relief in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. During his remarks to the Sailors and Marines he advised them to use this time at sea to mentally prepare, physically train and be ready for the challenges ahead.

He ended his visit by saying, "We will be excellent when we pull the trigger. I am 100% confident you will be ready when the time comes."

Essex is underway conducting an Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON)/MEU Integration (PMINT) training exercise, which is designed to bring the ARG/MEU team together for the first time during a deployment cycle.

The Essex ARG consists of Essex, the Whidbey Island-class amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47), the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Anchorage (LPD 23), 15th MEU, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 3, Tactical Air Control Squadron (TACRON) 11, and Naval Beach Group (NBG) 1 comprised of Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 5, ACU-1 and Beachmaster Unit 1.

For more news from USS Essex (LHD 2), visit

NNS150227-08. NAVFAC Celebrates National Engineers Week

By Don Rochon, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) headquarters celebrated National Engineers Week Feb. 26 with an award presentation ceremony for the command's 2015 Engineers of the Year.

NAVFAC Capital Improvements Director and Chief Engineer Joseph Gott presented award plaques to NAVFAC Washington's Lt. Cmdr. Keith Benson and NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic's Timothy Bayse as the Military and Civilian Engineers of the Year.

Bayse also represented NAVFAC as one of ten National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) finalists for their 2015 Federal Engineer of the Year.

"It's a pleasure to recognize the contributions these two individuals made to the profession of engineering," said Gott.

While serving as the Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain Public Works Officer, Benson led a team of 424 personnel in supporting 94 commands across the Middle East.

"Lt. Cmdr Bensen was instrumental in managing 320 active construction projects in Bahrain," said Gott. "That's a lot of projects and a lot of real estate assisting our support commanders over there."

Bayse served as a construction manager in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Djibouti during 2013 and 2014. While in Djibouti, he executed a substantial workload of 33 projects valued at more than $340 million, including a $150 million, multi-utility complex.

"Tim Bayse was the lead U.S. engineer on these projects, which is quite an honor and quite a responsibility," said Gott. "In addition to working 60-80 hours a week while in Djibuti, Tim volunteered to teach English as well."

The purpose of National Engineers Week is to call attention to the contributions that engineers make to society. It is also a time for engineers to emphasize to others the importance of learning math, science, and technical skills.

NAVFAC's 13 commands around the world are celebrating the week by holding informative outreach events that underline math, science and engineering skills to students.

National Engineers Week is held in conjunction with the birthday of President George Washington. Washington is sometimes referred to as the nation's first engineer, notably for his survey work. Although he had a limited formal education, Washington acquired surveying skills very early in his life and became a master technician and mentor. In fact, in 1749, at the young age of 17, Washington was appointed the Surveyor General of Virginia.

National Engineers Week was started by the NSPE in 1951, and runs this year to Feb. 28.

For more news from Naval Facilities Engineering Command, visit

NNS150227-07. Professional Luncheon Brings Officers and Graduating Midshipmen Together

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nathan Wilkes, U.S. Naval Academy Public Affairs

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (NNS) -- Officers and first class midshipmen came together Feb. 25 to celebrate the accomplishments of the graduating class during a professional luncheon at Buchanan House at the U.S. Naval Academy.

The event, hosted by the Naval Academy's Joy Bright Hancock Organization (JBHO), gives a unique opportunity for midshipmen to mingle with officers from around the Yard, reflect on their journey thus far and to learn more about the adventure that awaits them in the fleet.

"This event is essentially an opportunity for us to congratulate the women of the graduating class and welcome them to the officer community," said Lt. Erica Reid-Dixon, USNA officer representative for JBHO. "A wide variety of officers and supporters are also here today to offer the midshipmen any insight, advice and support that they may need before graduating and commissioning."

More than 100 midshipmen attended the luncheon this year, which highlights the beginning of a wide variety of events scheduled for Women's History Month in March.

"This is the ninth year that JBHO has hosted a First Class Women's Luncheon and I believe that it is one of our more impactful events during the year," said Midshipman 1st Class Hope Jones, president of JBHO. "We're about to hit the fleet in a few short months and this event provides us with an opportunity to network, meet female officers in our service community and to discuss what life is like as a female officer in the military."

For this year's Women's History Month, JBHO plans to work on building camaraderie between the female officers on the Yard and female midshipman as well as discuss the future of women's role in the military.

"Having camaraderie between the female officers on the Yard and the female midshipman is very important," said Midshipman 2nd Class Christina Lanier, vice president of JBHO. "At the Naval Academy, we have the advantage of having such a wealth of experience to pull from, and events like these give us an opportunity to reach out, connect, and make those last points of mentorship before graduation and commissioning."

The Joy Bright Hancock Organization began as the only women's organization at the U. S. Naval Academy, and has since expanded to engage in gender-neutral issues. Though its mission has adapted over time, it continues to bring female midshipmen together to discuss and address issues related to balancing personal and career choices.

For more news from U.S. Naval Academy, visit

NNS150227-04. Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 49 Holds Change of Command

From Lt. j.g. Kylie Hahn, Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 49 Public Affairs Officer

CORONADO, Calif. (NNS) -- Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 49 held a change of command ceremony at Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado Feb. 26.

At the ceremony, Cmdr. Bobby E. Brown relieved Cmdr. Jason E. Rimmer as the commanding officer of the "Scorpions" of HSL-49.

Rimmer, a native of Sherman, Texas, is a 1995 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. As commander of HSL-49, Rimmer led a squadron of more than 250 personnel and 12 SH-60B Sea Hawk helicopters. During his tenure, he deployed five detachments and led HSL-49 to complete more than 35,000 mishap-free flight hours.

"Serving as the 20th commanding officer of HSL-49 has been the honor of a lifetime," said Rimmer.

Brown, a native of Mobile, Alabama, is a 1997 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. At sea, his career as a naval aviator includes assignments with HSL-46 aboard USS Gettysburg (CG 64) and USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79). He also served as the training and education resource manager in the N1/ NT branch of the OPNAV staff, as the aircraft handling officer aboard the USS Wasp (LHD 1), as an officer-in-charge of an HSL-37 detachment aboard USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93), and as HSL-37's maintenance officer. Before reporting to HSL-49, Brown served as the Navy's military aide to the Vice President of the U.S. from 2010 to November 2013.

Upon assuming command of HSL-49, Brown addressed his Sailors.

"Scorpions, my commitment to you is simple... I will lead you," said Brown.

Cmdr. Robert Kimnach, a 1998 graduate of University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, reported as HSL-49's executive officer.

The ceremony's guest speaker, Capt. Shawn P. Malone, commander, Helicopter Maritime Strike, Pacific, spoke to the pride and professionalism of the entire HSL-49 "Scorpion" team, expressing what an integral part the squadron plays in Naval Aviation.

Malone applauded the achievements of HSL-49 declaring, "Scorpions, what's the secret to your success? It's your leadership."

HSL-49 is scheduled to transition to the MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter following the sundown of the SH-60B Sea Hawk in spring 2015.

For more news from Commander, Naval Air Forces, visit

NNS150227-03. NAVFAC EXWC Tests New RO System for Littoral Combat Ships

By Darrell E. Waller, NAVFAC EXWC Public Affairs

PORT HUENEME, Calif. (NNS) -- The Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center (NAVFAC EXWC) completed tests on a prototype reverse osmosis (RO) system for the Navy's littoral combat ships (LCS) in February.

The Littoral Combat Ship Program Office (PMS 501) will move forward with funding from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) for development of a hardened Reverse Osmosis Unit with a media filter and cartridge filter pretreatment capable of producing 4,000 gallons of water per day. The current baseline RO units aboard the LCS produces 2,000 gallons of water per day and use cartridges filters which are prone to rapidly fouling in the littorals.

"The RO systems being developed for the Navy's littoral combat ships will enable their crews to have access to fresh water at all times," said NAVFAC EXWC Commanding Officer Capt. Mark. K. Edelson. "Water is a key resource for our warfighters and the ability to convert seawater into fresh water, as these systems will provide, take on even greater importance should these ships see actual combat or be deployed to the scene of a natural disaster."

NAVFAC EXWC provided design guidance and conducted extensive testing measuring the water quality, maintenance and energy consumption of the media filter RO unit.

The Seawater Desalination Test Facility at EXWC served as a test bed for the ONR Future Naval Capabilities (FNC) Advanced Shipboard Desalination program. EXWC is also part of an integrated product team which includes representatives from Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), ONR, Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock, the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) and the Bureau of Reclamation.

Test results demonstrate that the unit can significantly increase drinking water production capacity; effectively remove elevated levels of particles common in littoral waters; reduce overall energy and maintenance; and allow operations in littoral zones.

The command will continue parametric specialized testing of the prototype unit, and an ONR vendor will be contracted to produce the actual hardened unit.

EXWC expects to receive the hardened RO unit in the first quarter of fiscal year (FY) 17 and will conduct an additional 30 days of testing on seawater. The unit will eventually transition to a shipyard environment for a six-month test on a deployed LCS. The technical data and performance obtained from new RO units will allow PMS501 to proceed with upgrading and modernization of the LCS water purification system.

NAVFAC EXWC is the Navy's premier activity for facilities and expeditionary technology solutions, engineering services, equipment logistics and products needed to equip the fleet and meet warfighter requirements. NAVFAC EXWC also delivers specialized engineering and technology solutions that support sustainable facilities and provides logistics and expeditionary systems support for Navy combat force capabilities.

To learn more about the NAVFAC EXWC, visit

For more news from Naval Facilities Engineering Command, visit

NNS150227-02. Naval Air Technical Training Center Sailor Wins Navy League Civic Award

By Ed Barker, Naval Education and Training Command Public Affairs

PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- The Pensacola Council of the Navy League of the United States announced Feb. 26 that a Barracks Military Training Instructor for the Naval Air Technical Training Center (NATTC) is the winner of the Margaret Flowers Civic Award for 2015.

Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class (AW/SW) Alexanna Williams was selected from 19 Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard nominees from the greater Pensacola area.

Williams was recognized for her dedication of nearly 500 volunteer hours to multiple causes and charitable organizations in 2014.

"Pensacola constantly goes through its own struggles, but somehow, some way, with people volunteering, we are always there to get through it," said Williams. "From hurricanes, to crazy ice storms to weird floods, we get through it all thanks to volunteers, and I highly encourage you to get out and volunteer if you're not doing so already."

The award was presented during a Navy League recognition luncheon at New World Landing restaurant and conference center. Williams and the other nominees were applauded for their selflessness and dedication to their jobs and the community.

"These kids are wonderful young men and women who go out of their way, taking their own time to do these things and support our community," said retired Navy Capt. Bill Cuilik, president of the Navy League's Pensacola Council. "It's important to recognize that this country has given us so much, so volunteering is an opportunity for us to give something back for all that we have been given."

In his recommendation to the Navy League, NATTC Commanding Officer Capt. Alan Dean commended Williams for her leadership inside the command and also in the community.

"Petty Officer Williams' tireless efforts have successfully fostered a relationship of trust and cohesion between the U.S. Navy and the local community and has served to advance the causes of various and divergent charitable organizations," said Dean. "She is a consistent, highly-motivated leader and a counselor who displays a genuine concern for people and the community she serves."

The Margaret Flowers Civic Award is named for a retired civil service employee and recognizes individuals who have done outstanding work for various civic organizations in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. Nominees must not only be best in civic achievements, but also display the highest caliber of professionalism in their technical specialties. The Navy League presents the Margaret Flowers Civic Award annually to local service members.

For more information about the Naval Air Technical Training Center, visit

For more information about the Naval Education and Training Command, visit

For more news from Naval Education and Training Command, visit

NNS150227-01. Navy Aviation Electronic Attack Squadron Participates in Cope North

By Tanya M. Champaco Mendiola, U.S. Naval Forces, Marianas, Public Affairs

YIGO, Guam (NNS) -- Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 135 is participating in the two-week Cope North 2015 Exercise at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Feb. 16-27.

Cope North is a multilateral training exercise conducted annually. This year's Cope North brings U.S. Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard units together with service members from the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, the Republic of Korea Air Force, and the Royal New Zealand Air Force.

For the past week, VAQ-135 maintenance personnel have shared a flight hangar with members of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. The shared space has facilitated collaboration between the U.S. and Japanese units.

"It's a great experience," said Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Isaiha Williams, a VAQ-135 plane captain. "They ask us questions and we ask them questions. We get to see how other people work. For instance, the Japanese personnel pay great attention to detail just like we do. It's great to know that others work as hard as we do."

VAQ-135 sent a detachment of about 100 personnel to participate with U.S. Pacific Forces in Cope North 2015, said Lt. Jason Smith, VAQ-135 public affairs officer.

"(Cope North) is a chance to bring various forces together," said VAQ-135 Commanding Officer Cmdr. David Moore. "This gives us a chance to become familiar with their capabilities, so if we ever have to fight together with them - and hopefully we don't - we'll be ready."

Exercises like Cope North are important training evolutions that allow service members to increase their readiness posture while collaborating with coalition forces.

"In the modern world, very little is accomplished alone; we are more effective when we work with our allies," Smith said. "We can learn from each other and improve our skills collectively at this exercise."

VAQ-135's aircrew have conducted multiple exercises daily near Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The training enhances their ability to be a mobile unit ready to fight anywhere, Smith said.

VAQ-135, known as the "Black Ravens," is based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington. The squadron operates the EA-18G "Growler" aircraft, an electronic attack platform. Mission sets include integration with military assets that require support in the suppression of enemy air defenses.

For more news from U.S. Naval Forces, Marianas, visit

NNS011213-38. This Day in Naval History - Feb. 27

From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

1928 - Cmdr. Theodore G. Ellyson, the Navy's first aviator, along with Lt. Cmdr. Hugo Schmidt and Lt. Rogers Ransehounsen, crash to their deaths in a Loening Amphibian, a 2-seat amphibious biplane, on a night flight from Norfolk, Va. to Annapolis, Md.

1942 - Seaplane tender USS Langley (AV 3), carrying 32 U.S. Army Air Force P-40 aircraft for the defense of Java, is bombed by Japanese naval land attack planes 75 miles south of Tjilatjap, Java. Due to the damage, Langley is shelled and torpedoed by USS Whipple (DD 217).

1942 - The Battle of the Java Sea begins, where the 14-ship Allied forces (American, Dutch, British and Australian) attempt to stop the 28-ship Japanese invasion of the Dutch East Indies colony of Java. The Japanese, during battles over three days, decimates the Allied forces, sinking at least 11 ships, killing more than 3,370 and taking nearly 1,500 prisoners.

1944 - Three US Navy submarines sink three Japanese cargo ships: Grayback (SS 208) sinks Ceylon Maru in the East China Sea; Cod (SS 244) sinks Taisoku Maru west of Halmahera while Trout (SS 202) sinks Aki Maru.

1945 - Submarine USS Scabbardfish (SS 397) sinks Japanese guardboat No. 6 Kikau Maru, 100 miles northeast of Keelung, Formosa, while USS Blenny (SS 324) attacks a Japanese convoy off French Indochina and sinks merchant tanker Amato Maru off Cape Padaran.

1945 - Land-based patrol aircraft from VPB 112, along with others from three British vessels, HMS Labaun and HMS Loch Fada and HMS Wild Goose, sink German submarine U 327 in the English Channel.

1973 - First airborne mine sweep in a live minefield takes place in the Haiphong, Vietnam ship channel by helicopters from Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron Twelve on board USS New Orleans (LPH 11).

Site Map
The USS Constellation CVA/CV 64 Association is a not-for profit organization (501 c19).
All of our membership dues and other contributions are fully tax deductible to the extent of IRS laws