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New photos of the 2013 San Diego Reunion

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

Click Here to view the long awaited  "Farewell to Connie" from UT Sandiego.


April 24-27

Has been cancelled


APRIL 24-27, 2014

309 State Highway 114
Grapevine, TX 76051

Rate: $89.00 plus tax — includes breakfast
Deadline for this rate is March 23, 2014

These dates are for three nights Thursday thru Saturday with departure on Sunday. (More people have been arriving on Thursday and there is a lot to do in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.)
Grapevine is a cute town just north of the D-FW Airport. It has several blocks of nice shops plus a glass blowing studio and a vintage train that goes to the Ft. Worth Stockyards.

Things to do:
Dallas-Bush Library, 5th Floor Museum, Arboretum, Nasher Sculpture Garden
Ft. Worth-Stockyards Billy Bobs, Longhorn Round-up, Kimble Museum, Sundance Square
Click Here for our 2013 Memorial List Page

From the StarWake editor, Brian Moore

I did volunteer to do the Newsletter again and I knew it I would take some time to get it going! I changed the title back to "Starwake." That was the title In 2001 when I stopped being Editor. I did have the Master on my computer, and back then, the Connie CO., John Miller, asked me to change the title from The StarScope. This was done so readers would not be confused and think the newsletter came from the Ship.

This first newsletter is late, for which I apologize. Two unforeseen things happened, first my 13-year­old computer crashed and died. Then I purchased a new computer that has Windows 8 Operating System. A completely new system for me to learn. I have been stumbling through it, and with the help of Windows 8 for Dummies book, the progress has progressed smoothly but slowly. After my stroke just relearning the computer was very challenging because many brain cells were either destroyed or moved around without leaving a forwarding address. As I proofread this newsletter I see many formatting errors, but my attempt to correct them evades me at this time. Hopefully by the next issue I will be more professional at it.

Recent Navy News:

 NNS140414-17. CNO Talks Sexual Assault Awareness Month

From Chief of Naval Operations Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- April has been designated as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), and this year's theme is "Live Our Values: Step Up to Stop Sexual Assault."

Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert, discussed the issue of sexual assault in an interview April 10.

"We've been well aware of this challenge [sexual assault] we have in the Navy," said Greenert.
It [Sexual Assault Awareness Month] is a great opportunity to do two things: to assess where we are and to synchronize our efforts. Now we've made progress in this challenge, our investigations are getting better, we're doing pretty good on victim advocacy, and I base that on feedback from the fleet. But we need to focus on prevention. And the best attribute to get prevention is intervention. We need to have the courage to step in."

Greenert pointed out that trust and respect are the foundations of addressing the issue of sexual assault.

"I think you can increase the trust of your shipmates by first of all respecting yourself, and
respect others. And demanding that. Get over the stigma that sexual assault is something that
happens to somebody else. That's not the case. This is real and it is happening in the fleet. So we need to intervene. We need to have the courage to stand up and say, "enough of this" and get rid of sexual harassment."

Greenert expressed confidence that Sailors and Marines can overcome the challenge of reducing sexual assault while emphasizing that it will be a team effort.

"But it's everybody's challenge and everybody's activity that needs to take place," Greenert said. So let's have the courage to intervene, let's respect each other and let's work in a climate of dignity and respect."

For more information, visit

NNS140414-08. CSP and CSP-P Increase begins May 1

From Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The increase to Career Sea Pay (CSP) and Career Sea Pay Premium (CSP-P), announced in March by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, will be implemented May 1 and eligible Sailors will see the increase in their mid-month paycheck according to Navy officials.

In addition to base pay, CSP and CSP-P compensate Sailors and Marines serving aboard ships whose primary mission is conducted at sea. CSP rates are based upon a member's pay grade and cumulative years of sea duty. CSP-P is an additional incentive for members who exceed 36 consecutive months at sea. The increase to both pays is part of a larger Navy-wide effort to reduce gaps at sea by incentivizing sea duty.

"Those Sailors and Marines on sea duty, deployed away from home around the world, are the backbone of the Navy and Marine Corps, and enable us to provide and maintain our global presence," said Mabus in March. "This change to Career Sea Pay will both improve critical sea-duty manning and reward those who take these challenging sea-going assignments. This increase is long overdue and is meant to reward our Sailors and Marines for their continued sacrifices as part of 'America's Away Team'."

All pay grades with at least three years of cumulative sea duty will receive a 25 percent increase in regular CSP, while service members who exceed 36 months of consecutive sea duty will receive an increase in CSP-P from $100 to $200 per month.

Consistent with current policy, in lieu of receiving CSP-P, Sailors and Marines in grades E5-E9 with eight years of cumulative sea duty receive a higher CSP rate, equivalent to receiving CSP-P whenever assigned to a ship regardless of consecutive sea time.

Click here to view the new CSP table.

This is the first increase of CSP and CSP-P since 2001. Approximately 100,000 Sailors receive CSP and approximately 13,000 receive CSP-P; this special pay increase is expected to cost $66 million/year.

For more news from Chief of Naval Personnel, visit

NNS140414-05. USS Donald Cook to Arrive in Romania for Port Visit

From U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

BLACK SEA (NNS) -- The forward deployed guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) is scheduled to arrive in Constanta, Romania to enhance multinational interoperability with NATO allies in region, April 14.

Donald Cook's visit to Romania is an example of the U.S. Navy's commitment to strengthen ties while working toward mutual goals in the Black Sea. This multi-mission destroyer is there to reassure our NATO allies that we share a commitment to promote peace and stability in the region.

Donald Cook's multi-mission capability allows the ship to contribute to regional maritime security, perform search and rescue activities, support humanitarian missions, conduct bilateral and multilateral training missions, and to support NATO operations and deployments, throughout the region.

The U.S. Navy, on a normal and routine basis, operates ships in the Black Sea consistent with the Montreux Convention and International Law.

Donald Cook, the first of four Arleigh Burke-class destroyers to be forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, is serving on a scheduled patrol in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations as part of the President's Phased Adaptive Approach to European ballistic missile defense.

U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts a full range of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation missions in concert with coalition, joint, interagency, and other parties in order to advance security and stability in Europe and Africa.

For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, visit

NNS140413-02. USS Cole Arrives in Plymouth for Port Visit

By Lt. j.g. Kerry Gablin, USS Cole Public Affairs

PLYMOUTH, England (NNS) -- The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Cole (DDG 67) arrived in Plymouth, England for a scheduled port visit, April 12.

The port visit is designed to continue U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa's efforts to strengthen maritime partnerships with European nations in order to enhance regional stability.

While in Plymouth, the ship will host a reception for local dignitaries and officials, while the crew will be have the opportunity to experience cultural attractions of Plymouth.

"Cole looks forward to this opportunity to strengthen our bonds with the United Kingdom," said Cmdr. Dennis Farrell, USS Cole commanding officer. "This is an excellent chance to explore Plymouth and work with the Royal Navy, and my crew is very excited."

Sailors of Cole are looking forward to the visit.
"I'm very excited to see the architecture of the buildings and try authentic British cuisine!" said Petty Officer 3rd Class Davida Friedman.

USS Cole, homeported in Norfolk, Va., is making the port visit to Plymouth following participation in the U.K.-led exercise in Exercise Joint Warrior 14-1. Joint Warrior is a multi-national exercise where maritime forces work together in a range of mission sets in order to improve interoperability and readiness to conduct combined operations.

U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts a full range of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation missions in concert with coalition, joint, interagency, and other parties in order to advance security and stability in Europe and Africa.

Join the conversation on Twitter at and follow us on Facebook

For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, visit

NNS140414-03. US, Vietnam Navies Conduct First Search and Rescue Exercise

From Commander, Task Force 73 Public Affairs

SOUTH CHINA SEA (NNS) -- Guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) conducted a search and rescue (SAR) exercise with a Vietnam People's Navy (VPN) minesweeper off the coast of Da Nang, Vietnam, April 12.

This first SAR event between the U.S. and Vietnamese navies occurred a few hours after McCain got underway from the port of Da Nang, concluding six days of professional exchanges and skills transfers as part of Naval Engagement Activity (NEA) Vietnam that began April 7.

"After a very productive series of naval exchanges in Da Nang this week, our at sea exercise today was an important stepping stone in building confidence to operate together in the maritime domain," said Capt. Paul Schlise, commodore, Destroyer Squadron 7 and commander, Task Group 73.1.

After McCain rendezvoused with HQ-862, both ships commenced a coordinated search for a simulated distressed vessel. The ships practiced bridge-to-bridge communications, flaghoist drills and search patterns to locate and render assistance to the simulated distressed vessel. Upon conclusion, the ships exchanged farewell messages and McCain continued out to sea.

"Both ships did a fine job executing this search and rescue training - communications were professional and the crews handled their ships well - setting the tone for follow-on events between our navies," said Cmdr. Chase Sargeant, commanding officer, USS John S. McCain.

2014 marks the fifth consecutive NEA Vietnam and the 10th year that U.S. Navy ships have called upon the port of Da Nang. McCain last visited Da Nang in August 2010 as part of the inaugural NEA Vietnam, which coincided with the 15th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Vietnam.

As with previous years, NEA Vietnam 2014 focused on professional exchanges between the VPN and U.S. Navy in military medicine, SAR, diving and salvage and shipboard damage control. NEA also provides an opportunity to develop mutual understanding and enduring relationships that will serve both navies for many years to come through ship tours, 7th Fleet band concerts, sporting events and community service projects.

Approximately 400 U.S. Navy Sailors and civilian mariners participated in NEA Vietnam 2014.

Participating units include USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50) with embarked Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 5, staff from Destroyer Squadron 7 and Commander, Task Force 73 and the U.S. 7th Fleet Band, Orient Express.

For more news from Commander, Task Force 73, visit

NNS140414-20. Hartford Sailors Proud to Earn Unit Honor

By Lt. Timothy Hawkins, Submarine Group 2 Public Affairs

GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Hartford (SSN 768) received the Meritorious Unit Commendation during a ceremony in Groton, Conn., April 10, for unprecedented success in intelligence collection operations at sea in 2012.

Standing before his crew of more than 130 Sailors at the U.S. Submarine Veterans World War II Memorial, Hartford Commanding Officer Cmdr. Steve Wilkinson formally accepted the honor presented by Commander, Submarine Squadron 4 Capt. Jim Waters.

"This is a great opportunity to recognize the hard work of Hartford," Waters said while thanking crew members for their dedication.

Hartford, an "improved-688" capable of conducting a full spectrum of missions including surveillance over land and sea, was lauded for "first-of-its-kind intelligence collections" during a six-month deployment to the U.S. European Command area of responsibility.

The award citation signed by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert said Hartford "directly and significantly contributed to national security during a deployment marked by unparalleled success." It also recognized the crew for safely executing "constantly evolving" tasks during three extended operational periods at sea.

Fire Control Technician 1st Class Matthew Binkley, 38, said the 2012 deployment, his fourth in a 19-year career, stood out from others.

"Extending on station for weeks at a time and not talking to family was hard," said Binkley, a native of Lancaster, Pa. "You didn't know how long it was going to go on. We just had to keep our heads in the game."

Hartford continually exceeded all expectations and operational requirements, the citation said.

According to Chief Yeoman William Devers, Hartford's leading yeoman, the unit commendation is officially the ship's first.

"To look at it when you line it up on the ribbon's definitely something to be proud of. To me it represents a lot of hard work and effort we put into the deployment," said Yeoman 3rd Class Edwin Rodrigues. The 27-year-old native of Hemet, Calif., reported to the ship midway through the deployment.

USS Hartford is permanently based at Naval Submarine Base New London in Connecticut, 50 miles south of its namesake city. However, the submarine is currently undergoing a scheduled availability in Groton at the General Dynamics Electric Boat shipyard.

"Given we've been sitting in the yard for the past year, the commendation is a really nice reminder about what we do," said Fire Control Technician 2nd Class Joshua Hall, 23, from Des Moines, Iowa.

Hall said the deployment was his first and opened his eyes to what the submarine force can do.

Hartford was commissioned Dec. 10, 1994. It is the second U.S. naval vessel named in honor of Connecticut's capital city.

For more news from Commander Submarine Group 2, visit

NNS140414-11. Frank Cable Sailors, Civilian Mariners Team Up to Increase Capabilities

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

PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Sailors aboard submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS 40) team up with their Military Sealift Command (MSC) civilian mariner counterparts in the ship's engineering spaces to learn ship systems and begin to develop an engineering plant qualifications program for Sailors that has not existed since the ship's merger between the Navy and MSC.

Frank Cable's civilian mariners are in charge of several departments throughout the ship, including engineering, so no Sailors are required to be qualified in those watch stations.

In an effort to help Sailors' professional development, Frank Cable's Commanding Officer, Capt. Mark Benjamin, and MSC's Chief Mate, Peter Morway, authorized Sailors to begin developing engineering watch qualifications.

"We must expand upon what we are currently trained and equipped to do," said Benjamin during his change of command ceremony in January. "We must get back some of the lost capabilities of our proud tender fleets of the past, where it makes sense."

Having Sailors develop these qualifications, even though civilian mariners still stand the watch, achieves the goal of laying the ground work for Frank Cable Sailors to qualify in multiple engineering positions so they can be competitive against their peers on other platforms of ships and to having working knowledge of the equipment they will be expected to know about when they report to their next ship.

"Getting the Sailors down there (engineering spaces) and having them get familiar with how the systems operate is very important. From one ship to another, it is all the same theories, fundamentals and systems," said Chief Machinist's Mate Alan Sanchez, one of the eight Frank Cable Sailors in charge of establishing the engineering supervisor qualification program. "Even though MSC manning and process models are somewhat different than standard Navy, knowledge is power. Knowledge of a steam plant is something that they can take with them for the rest of their time in the Navy."

The overall aim of this program is not to serve as a test platform for other MSC-Navy hybrid crews to allow more Sailors to maintain a professional edge.

Frank Cable, forward-deployed to the island of Guam, conducts maintenance and support of submarines and surface vessels deployed in the U.S. 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility and is currently on a scheduled underway period.

For more news about Frank Cable (AS 40), visit,

NNS140411-19. Reserve Sailor of the Year Announced

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Hannah Brim, Commander, Navy Reserve Forces Command Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Chief of the Navy Reserve (CNR) announced her selection for Navy Reserve Sailor of the Year (RSOY) during a ceremony in Washington, D.C., April 10.

Vice Adm. Robin R. Braun announced Aviation Warfare Systems Operator 1st Class Paul Marticorena of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 3, Naval Air Station North Island, Calif., as this year's selectee.

During the ceremony, Braun emphasized the sacrifices made by these Sailors.

"You are not just Sailors, you are Reserve Sailors with responsibilities beyond the Navy. Yet, somehow, you make it all work family, civilian career, and Navy," said Braun. "When I speak of the 'Citizen Sailor', it is the thousands of hard-working men and women of the Navy Reserve, who you represent, who do so much across the globe to support the Navy mission. You and your families give up one of your most important assets and that is your time. A mere thank you doesn't seem enough, but please know the impact you and your shipmates have on the Navy's mission."

Marticorena received a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal during the ceremony and will be meritoriously advanced to chief petty officer later this year.

Joining Marticorena as RSOY finalists were Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Lawrence W. Beckhaus, assigned to SEAL UNIT 17; Yeoman 1st Class Cecilia E. Mitchell, assigned to Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command 119; Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Beatriz R. Schulmeister, assigned to Operational Health Support Unit Bremerton DET N; and Information Systems Technician 1st Class Francisco Zuniga, assigned to Navy Mobilization and Processing Site Norfolk.

Force Master Chief of the Navy Reserve Clarence "CJ" Mitchell spoke at the event, praising the finalists and sharing his pride in their contributions to the force.

"All of the finalists were articulate, passionate and dedicated professionals that represented their units and communities very well. Their commitment to service on behalf of others is noteworthy," said Mitchell. "Petty Officer Marticorena's confident deckplate training and mentorship of Reserve and active component Sailors is an example to be followed by others."

Marticorena is from Van Nuys, Calif., enlisted in the Navy in 1997, and joined the Navy Reserve in 2006.

Former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Elmo Zumwalt and Former Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Jack Whittet initiated the SOY program in 1972 to recognize outstanding Atlantic and Pacific Fleet Sailors; the program was later expanded to honor the top shore and Reserve Force Sailors of the year.

For more news from Commander, Navy Reserve Forces Command, visit

For more news from Commander, Navy Reserve Force, visit

NNS140414-12. NWC War Game Report: Revise Command and Control Systems

From U.S. Naval War College Public Affairs

NEWPORT, R.I. (NNS) -- War gaming leaders at U.S. Naval War College (NWC) in Newport, R.I., released the Chief of Naval Operations' (CNO) annual Title 10 War Game (Global '13) series report April 11, following six months of post war gaming analysis.

The Global '13 War Game series plays a key role in NWC's mission to support the Navy's combat readiness while providing a dedicated venue to generate, examine, and debate maritime issues at the strategic and operational levels.

This year's effort was a continuation of the NWC War Gaming Department's examination of the Air-Sea Battle (ASB) concept.

"The ASB concept provides the services a framework to advance the capabilities required to ensure operational access and decisive power projection," said Rear Adm. James G. Foggo III, assistant deputy chief of naval operations. "The CNO's Global War Game not only helps the services man, train, and equip in support of this effort, but helps us better understand how we can more effectively integrate with our allies and partners in future contested environments."

NWC professor Don Marrin, director of Global '13 War Game series noted that "the findings of the report indicate four emerging command and control attributes could potentially improve the current functional component model of today."

These findings will be used to inform the development of a revised command and control system and supporting concept of operations that will be examined and refined during the Global War Game at NWC in September 2014.

"Since 1979, the Navy's Global War Game series conducted here in Newport has not only helped the Chief of Naval Operations define the future Navy, but has better prepared thousands of naval and joint warfighters to meet the operational and strategic challenges of today and tomorrow," said Rear Adm. Walter E. "Ted" Carter, Jr., NWC president. "War gaming is more critical than ever as the Navy looks for creative innovation in the years to come."

To view the Global '13 War Game series report, visit

For more news from Naval War College, visit

NNS140414-19. Stennis Partners with Local School to Teach STEM

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jordan Crouch, USS John C. Stennis Public Affairs

BREMERTON, Wash (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) partnered with Mullenix Ridge Elementary School, in Port Orchard, Wash., to teach children about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) April 10.

The event, part of the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PSNS & IMF) STEM Outreach program, was designed to increase student interest in a STEM-related field.

"We're here to interact with the children and hopefully get them interested in STEM," said Lt. William Fleming, from Broken Arrow, Okla. "We're teaching them the basics of science and engineering, which is something I'm really passionate about."

Stennis volunteers taught students how to create a bristlebot, a category of robot made by attaching the bristles from a detached toothbrush head to a pager motor and battery.

"It's important for the students to understand they can take a set of unusual elements and create something unique," said fourth-grade teacher Shirley Silvernail, from Port Orchard, Wash.

"I think that we inspired a few future engineers," said Cryptologic Technician Collection 2nd Class Melvin Woods, from Durham, N.C.

For more news from USS John C. Stennis, visit, and

NNS140414-09. Ice Breaker: ONR Researchers Explore a Changing Arctic

By David Smalley, Office of Naval Research

ARLINGTON, Va. (NNS) -- As sea ice continues to recede at a record pace in the Arctic, officials at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) on April 14 announced new efforts to determine the pace of change in what some are calling Earth's final frontier.

Scientists sponsored by ONR have traveled to the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean, placing new sensors in the ice and in the frigid waters below, to better understand the processes contributing to a dramatic decline in sea ice thickness and extent-and provide new tools to help the U.S. Navy predict conditions and operate in once-inaccessible waters.

"A changing Arctic means significant new responsibilities and opportunities for the scientific and research communities, the nation and our allies," said Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder, the chief of naval research. "ONR researchers, working in one of the world's most challenging environments, will give U.S. naval planners the essential data we need."

The effort, which includes partnership with the government of South Korea, involves aircraft and icebreakers to deploy sensors to compile and coordinate new data on rapidly changing conditions, particularly as it applies to the Marginal Ice Zone (MIZ), where ice and open ocean meet.

ONR scientists aim to assist Navy planners not only in short-range (zero-five days) but long-range (six or more months) timeframe predictions in these areas where the ice is located between solid pack ice and the sea.

"Where we have had ocean models and weather models, we clearly need new ice models as well," said Scott Harper, MIZ project manager for ONR. "We need better operational predictions-Sailors and ships are at risk without higher resolutions and shorter forecasts."

The effort to gain knowledge about new waterways in once-inaccessible regions supports a directive from Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert, who has made understanding changes in the Arctic a priority.

"The U.S. Navy recognizes that the opening of the Arctic Ocean has important national security implications as well as significant impacts on the U.S. Navy's required future capabilities," he noted in the U.S. Navy Arctic Roadmap 2014-2030. "Today, the observed changes in the Arctic Region climate and the reduced extent of summer sea ice reveal the potential for the Arctic Ocean to become a more viable route for international shipping over the coming decades."

The director of the Task Force Climate Change and Oceanographer of the Navy, Rear Adm. Jon White, emphasized the importance of the research.

"ONR's research focus is aligned with the Navy's Arctic Roadmap Implementation Plan, and will help us better understand and predict an environment that will still continue to present significant challenges for surface and air operations," said White. "While there is much preparation the Navy needs to do before it starts conducting routine operations in the Arctic, understanding the dynamic environment and the rate of change is a critical foundation for these future operations."

ONR's research into Arctic environmental conditions will focus on three major areas: sustained observation of the Arctic Ocean environment; better understanding frozen ocean processes; and developing computer models and prediction methods that look at how air, ice, ocean and waves will respond to climate change.

The five-year analysis of the MIZ will utilize a combination of some of the most advanced technologies, including ice mass balance buoys, wave buoys, ice-tethered profilers, autonomous gliders, ocean flux buoys, remote sensing and more.

ONR researchers say the detailed study will provide essential new data for the Navy.

"There's a lot more open water in the Arctic Ocean today, so there are significantly greater waves and swell," said Harper. "That didn't happen before, and we need to give Sailors every possible tool to operate safely in new environmental conditions."

David Smalley is a contractor for ONR Corporate Strategic Communications.

ONR provides the science and technology necessary to maintain the Navy and Marine Corps' technological advantage. Through its affiliates, ONR is a leader in science and technology with engagement in 50 states, 70 countries, 1,035 institutions of higher learning and 914 industry partners. ONR employs approximately 1,400 people, comprising uniformed, civilian and contract personnel, with additional employees at the Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C.

For more news from Office of Naval Research, visit

NNS140414-10. Guam Service Members Volunteer for Special Olympics Event

By Jesse Leon Guerrero, Joint Region Marianas Public Affairs

DEDEDO, Guam (NNS) -- Dozens of Sailors and Airmen volunteered to coach and show support for disabled athletes during the 38th Annual Special Olympics Guam Track and Field event at Okkodo High School in Dededo April 12.

Service members kept score and recorded time for activities such as the long-jump, 50-meter run and softball throw stations during the event, which offered the opportunity for participants to showcase their athleticism.

"I like being out here, helping out the kids," said Construction Mechanic 3rd Class (SCW) Michael Thompson, of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 1. "It's kind of surreal being here in Guam at a big event like this. I've never been to something this massive, but it's a big pleasure for me to be here."

Hundreds of children and adults with physical or mental disabilities participated while thousands of island residents braved the heat to spectate or lend a helping hand.

Special Olympics Guam President Frank Florig said each athlete receives a medal for their performance, but the event is focused on boosting their confidence, building friendships and giving them a chance to accomplish something big. He added that every year the military partners with local sponsors and volunteers to make all of that possible.

"They volunteer their time, their equipment and resources," Florig said. "Without our military neighbors and our military community, it would be far-fetched for us to hold something as successful as this."

2nd Lt. John Karpis, of the 644th Combat Communications Squadron, said the event was a great opportunity for the Air Force and Navy to be a positive presence in the community.

"This is my first time doing it and it's such a great event," he said. "It's so inspiring. I think I'll be out here next year, absolutely."

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

NNS140414-22. NAVSEA Establishes New Directorate

From Naval Sea Systems Command Corporate Communications

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) announced the establishment of the Acquisition and Commonality directorate April 14.

The new directorate, led by Rear Adm. Thomas Kearney, focuses on lowering acquisition costs and reducing the number of unique components such as valves in the Navy's ships and systems. It also increases the sea service's ability to incorporate and update new capabilities when considered as part of an item's lifecycle strategy.

"This directorate brings together billets and personnel dedicated to moving forward commonality of people, parts and processes through promoting and enabling exchange within government and between government and industry," said Kearney. "Creating a new directorate to lead this effort is a testament to NAVSEA's dedication to reducing acquisition and lifecycle costs, and to improving the development and operation of the acquisition workforce's program management competency."

Aligning to the command's strategic business plan, the new directorate serves as the central point of contact for policy, common business processes, and tools for systems commonality, acquisition policy, and the National Shipbuilding Research Program. It also functions as the contact and primary interface between NAVSEA and the Naval Expeditionary Combat Enterprise/Naval Expeditionary Combat Command for all matters pertaining to acquisition and in-service support of Expeditionary Missions and Navy Small Arms programs. Additionally, Kearney serves as Milestone Decision Authority for several Expeditionary Missions programs.

For more news from Naval Sea Systems Command, visit

NNS140411-21. Victim Care Protocols Tested During Sexual Assault Forensic Examinations Drill at Naval Hospital Bremerton

By Douglas H. Stutz, Naval Hospital Bremerton Public Affairs

BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- Naval Hospital Bremerton Victim Care Protocols were tested with a Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) and Sexual Assault Forensic Examinations (SAFE) drill, April 10.

It's a drill that everyone who responds to hopes that they never have to do. Candice, the alleged victim, shivering and scared, assisted by a friend, showed up with a black eye, swollen jaw, bruised neck, no shoes, torn and disheveled clothing at NHB's Emergency Department. In a shaken voice, she explained to the clerk she had been sexually assaulted.

"As soon as anyone comes in and says 'I've been assaulted,' that's all that is needed to start the SAFE process," said Lt. Cmdr. Lacy Gee, Main Operating Room division officer, SAFE examiner and official observer of the drill.

The Sexual Assault Forensic Examinations are part of the command's response ability in conjunction with the Navy's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Program to prevent and eliminate sexual assault.

For this drill, Candice shared that she was out for a mid-morning jog when 'out of nowhere' a guy came and dragged her off the road. She tried in vain to get away and was beaten before being assaulted.

Candice was quickly triaged and with a victim advocate and SAFE examiner paged, was then seen by an ER nurse on duty. As an active duty service member, she was explained how the Navy restricted and unrestricted reporting policy encourages victims to seek the medical support that is available to them without fear of reprisal or stigma.

Lt. Stephany J. Daniell was the responding ER nurse who also happens to be on the SAFE examiner team. She explained who a victim advocate is and what they do, and what will take place once the SAFE examiner comes in.

"Lt. Daniell was really very thorough in her role as the ER nurse. She was very impressive," commented Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Laura Blanco, Director of Surgical Services leading petty officer and victim advocate who played the role of the victim's friend.

When victim advocate Hospitalman Britany Gil arrived, she immediately established a relationship with Candice.

"I'm going to take care of you," Gil said, further explaining what she does as a victim advocate is to completely help by listening, guiding and consoling a sexual assault victim through the entire uncomfortable process.

The SAFE examiner role was filled by Lt. Sarah Huley, who further explained the step-by-step process she would handle if this was a real case, from conducting a physical examination to obtaining digital imagery for official documentation.

Both the victim advocate and examiner also stressed the time element involved in such a scenario.

"A patient needs to know that this can be a lengthy process. It is not easy, especially from the emotional standpoint of the patient," said Gil.

"To any patient being seen at three o'clock in the morning, five minutes can seem like five hours," added Gee, who commended Gil and Huley for providing professional care and personal concern to their patient.

NHB's SAPR and SAFE are comprehensive programs staffed by dedicated personnel that reinforce a culture of prevention, response, and accountability for the safety, dignity, and well-being of Sailors and Marines. The Department of the Navy does not tolerate sexual assault.

"We hope we never have to use this type of training that we did today during this drill, if we do, we will be prepared to provide the necessary medical and emotional help to any victim. SAFE is important because we care for our own and will provide follow-up services and consults if needed," said Cmdr. Susan Toyama, NHB Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner training facilitator and quality management department head.

According to Toyama, NHB has two drills slated for this month to recognize Sexual Assault Prevention month. The drills are arranged using a team approach with the SAPR/VA and SAFE.

"The drills take the staff from when our mock patient enters the ER or clinical area through the reporting options with the VA to calling in the forensic examiner to providing the patient critical follow-up education and support. It is a learning experience for all staff involved. Our goal to increase knowledge and awareness to provide quality safe care to our patients," explained Toyama.

There is a designated Isolation Room in the Emergency Department to conduct SAFE. Although the ER is slated to transition to an Urgent Care Unit by September 2014, the Isolation Room will still be in place, with a backup space also available.

"The Isolation Room in our Emergency Medicine Department area that can be immediately used is ideally suited for the need should it arise," Toyama said, noting that NHB will provide compassionate, competent medical care that is victim-centered, gender-sensitive and takes into account the reporting preferences of the individual.

"I think the drill went well. Everyone was helpful and took care of our 'patient' without any long delays in care. They knew what they needed to do, and notified all the appropriate ancillary services correctly. I'm pretty proud of our ED, they did a great job," stated Gee.

The Navy's Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) directed military treatment facility like NHB last year to establish a multidisciplinary team to be able to handle any type of sexual assault case with a staff trained and ready to provide timely and appropriate medical care as soon as possible.

Staff members, 14 SAFE trained examiners and nine SAFE trained assistants, have learned correct procedures in evaluating a victim of sexual assault and how to properly go through the extensive course of action with the individual. Such training is required on an annual basis. There are also 15 victim advocates on the staff.

"We now have an elite selected staff fully qualified and certified to conduct a wide-ranging sexual assault forensic exam if needed. The operational staff is in place for the needs of the victims who need our assistance in their evaluation," said Toyama.

According to Lt. Ken Padgett, NHB Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Program coordinator, the drill is a vital part of NHB's on-going support of Sexual Assault Awareness Month to ensure Victim Care Protocols are handled in a standard, coordinated response whenever needed to meet the healthcare needs of sexual assault victims.

"Being able to conduct SAFE exams is a vital service to provide here at NHB. In case of a sexual assault at another command, victims can come here to receive medical care and receive an exam if they wish. Holding such a drill helps better prepare our departments in the hospital in case they encounter a Sexual Assault while here at work," said Padgett, adding that in addition to spreading awareness, SAAM provides an opportunity for the command victim advocates to reach silent victims and to tell them that they don't have to go through this alone and there is help out there.

Padgett, whose job as SAPR Program coordinator is to educate the staff on the current policy, and ensure training and current policy compliance, attests that SAAM is a way to highlight the growing problem of sexual assault. Sailors benefit from SAAM due to overlapping events that inform and educate.

"It's our job to utilize S

NNS140414-07. SPAWAR Holds Fourth Annual 5K for Sexual Assault Awareness Month

By Tina C. Stillions, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- More than 100 runners and walkers of all skill levels waited for the signal to mark the start of the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) 5,000 meters (5K) race in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month in San Diego.

The command-sponsored event, now in its fourth year, was created to help raise awareness about Sexual Assault Prevention and Response and to support the Navywide initiative. This year's theme, "Live Our Values: Step Up to Stop Sexual Assault," was central to the day's event.

"Sexual assault prevention and response is important throughout our DoD and civilian community year round. Every April we take the time to refocus our efforts and commitment to eliminating sexual assault from within our ranks," said Lt. Cmdr. Scott Hodge, the sexual assault prevention and response officer for the command. "Everyone that came out to support today's event can help create and maintain a culture where sexist behaviors, sexual harassment and sexual assault are not tolerated, condoned or ignored."

A table lined with brochures and information was set up near the starting line. Representatives from the Navy's SAPR Program were on hand to answer questions and provide information.

People of all ranks and skill level gathered for an afternoon of friendly competition to raise awareness and encourage solidarity against the scourge of sexual assault. Donned in brightly colored running and walking shoes, those who did not participate stood at the sideline cheering others on, while volunteers recorded times and gave out water to all those who participated. The SPAWAR Chiefs Mess held a barbecue to support the run, too.

Commands throughout the Navy have been hosting events in April to raise awareness about responsible behavior, bystander intervention and safety precautions. Within SPAWAR, leadership has been communicating regularly with the workforce and supporting all efforts to reinforce the seriousness of the crime.

Experts with the Department of the Navy Sexual Assault and Prevention and Response Program state that sexual assaults are one of the most underreported crimes in the Navy. One in three female service members, and one in eight males, will be the victim of a sexual assault or harassment at some point in their life. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, that number is one in six in the general population.

SPAWAR is working diligently with Navy leadership to raise awareness, increase education and training, and reinforce the message that these types of crimes will not be tolerated. Through combined efforts, the goal is to ensure victims receive the care and support they need and that offenders are held accountable for their actions. Everyone has a role in stopping the crime of sexual assault and activities such as SPAWAR's 5K run are a way to reinforce that message.

For more information on the U.S. Navy SAPR program, visit

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NNS140413-01. Frank Cable Visits Malaysia

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Zac Shea, USS Frank Cable Public Affairs

SEPANGAR, Malaysia (April 13, 2014) (NNS) -- The submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS 40) arrived at Sepangar, Malaysia, April 13, for a port visit as part of a regularly scheduled underway period in the Western Pacific.

"The purpose of our visit to Malaysia is to promote stability and security in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, to demonstrate commitment to regional partners, and to foster growing relationships," said Capt. Mark Benjamin, commanding officer of Frank Cable. "This port visit offers Frank Cable Sailors an opportunity to learn the rich culture and deep heritage of the great nation of Malaysia and to meet the friendly people therein."

During the port visit, Frank Cable Sailors plan to participate in community service events and get to know the local culture by visiting museums and sight-seeing locations throughout the area. The community service events planned include visits to Likas Hospital, Bukit Harapan Children's Home and Single Mother's Association of Karambunai. There will also be opportunities for Frank Cable Sailors to meet with and exchange ideas with their counterparts from the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN).

"Our goals are to engage RMN submarine force leadership to continue building relationships and a better understanding of each others' capabilities," said Benjamin. "The U.S. Navy and RMN will train together in the areas of Anti-Surface Warfare, Anti-Submarine Warfare, and Quality Assurance maintenance practices. Frank Cable will also host the RMN on board the ship for tours which will be focused on submarine repair and support."

Many among the crew look forward to volunteer opportunities and to experience the local culture.

"I'm excited to see more of Malaysia," said Yeoman 2nd Class Tui James, who has visited Malaysia once before. "I'll be going to the Bukit Harapan Children's home. It's great seeing the kids, they always make me smile."

Malaysia is a nation of approximately 30 million people located in southeastern Asia and has had diplomatic ties with the U.S. since the nation was established in 1957.

"We must maintain our growing relationship with the RMN in order to promote the region's security and prosperity," said Benjamin. "Our strong and enduring security partnership is critical to combating transnational threats, international peacekeeping, maritime security, and humanitarian assistance and disaster response."

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 and is currently on a scheduled underway period.

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NNS140412-02. Nebraska Receives Omaha Trophy

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Ahron Arendes,

Submarine Group 9 Public Affairs

BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- USS Nebraska (SSBN 739) was presented the 2013 Omaha Trophy, by Commander, U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) Adm. Cecil D. Haney, during a ceremony at the Puget Sound Navy Museum, Bremerton Wash., April 11.

The Omaha Trophy is awarded annually to USSTRATCOM units who demonstrate the highest standards of performance in the command's mission areas, their role in global operations and the command's continued emphasis on strategic deterrence.

The award categories are global operations, submarine ballistic missile, intercontinental ballistic missile and strategic aircraft operations. Selection is based on formal evaluations, meritorious achievement, safety and other factors, such as community involvement and humanitarian actions.

"[Your efforts] culminated in 100% strategic and navigational readiness, on three patrols, accumulating 250 underway days. That's pretty remarkable," said Adm. Cecil Haney, commander of USSTRATCOM, to the Nebraska combined crew. "Both crews performed exceptionally well in all major inspections in that you participated, and the crew was graded in every area at or above standards. This is unmatched by any Pacific Fleet SSBN in the past two years. I commend you on just a stellar performance as we recognize 2013."

This is the second time Nebraska has received the award.

During the past year, Nebraska won the 2013 Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet Battle Efficiency Award (Battle "E") and earned the Navigation/Operations Readiness Red and Green "N" in the Battle "E" competitive areas.

"I really appreciate the hard work of the crew and the support of our families," said. Capt. Jeffrey Joseph, Nebraska commanding officer. "This wouldn't be possible if both crews didn't work together as a team, and that really is the key to Nebraska's success. The Blue and Gold crews really had to work together, and were really committed to the mission more so than anything."

The ship is currently undergoing a mid-life overhaul in Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton.

The original Omaha trophy, created in 1971, was given by the citizens of Omaha, Neb. to Strategic Air Command (SAC) to be presented as an annual award to the command's best air wing as a token of recognition and appreciation from the citizens of Omaha.

In 1992, following SAC's transition to USSTRATCOM, the Strategic Command Consultation Committee, representing the citizens of Omaha, requested the award be given to the top ballistic missile unit and the top strategic aviation unit in order to reflect the current joint effort of the strategic deterrence mission. Since then the award has expanded to reflect USSTRATCOM's changes in mission and organizational structure.

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NNS140411-22. Rear Adm. Grocki Speaks at U.S. Army Pacific Sisters in Arms Event

From U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

HONOLULU (NNS) -- Rear Adm. Alma Grocki, director of Fleet Maintenance for U.S. Pacific Fleet, spoke with members of the U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) Sisters-in-Arms program during an event at Aliamanu Military Reservation Chapel, April 10.

The theme of the gathering was education and the importance of lifelong learning.

"I would challenge you to go out there every day, every week, every month and learn something new," Grocki told the audience. "You don't have to be an expert at it, you don't have to be really good at it, but at least you will learn how it works, how it is done and if you really enjoy it, it can be a new hobby for you."

Grocki shared how her work ethic and experiences helped her throughout her career.

"Not everyone understands what you go through in the military, the experiences you have and how much they are worth," Grocki said, adding that she's often asked if she felt she had to work harder than her male counterparts. "Yes, absolutely," she said. "I think I did work harder, but that was me. Nobody said that I had to work harder. If I do my job and I do it well and it gets recognized then that's all I can ask for."

Army Maj. Kelly Stewart, USARPAC's personnel officer and an executive steering committee member for Sister-in-Arms, which provides a forum for discussion and sharing of knowledge, said Grocki offered valuable advice to the group.

"I think this is a great program to mentor junior officers, and in this case, younger soldiers," Grocki said. "There are many things and questions that people have in common, and if I'm able to answer any questions or give a perspective then it's a valuable experience for everybody here to interact like this."

Stewart couldn't agree more.

"We are here to empower women to continue to advance professionally in their career, so we provide a forum for professional development and mentorship," said Stewart. "It provides an environment where people can get together and meet one another. It drives the forum for us to meet and speak and know one another and learn from one another."

Army Spc. Nanci Crank commented how Grocki provided her with insight.

"Rear Adm. Grocki inspired me a lot and I will continue to get educated and maybe stay in the military," Crank said. "She inspired me to keep pushing and set your own goals; don't just keep climbing for nothing."

Grocki was born and raised in Honolulu and was the first woman from Hawaii appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy.

The Sisters-in-Arms program was designed to assist in empowering women by developing bonds and partnerships between junior and senior leaders, both military and civilian. The program welcomes anyone and everyone, regardless of gender, who is interested in educating themselves on the issues in today's armed forces; strive to better themselves and their community and willing to improve upon various roles of women in the military.

For more news from Pacific Fleet, visit

NNS140414-04. US Naval Support Activity Souda Bay Holds Change of Command Ceremony

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jeffrey M. Richardson, Naval Support Activity Souda Bay

SOUDA BAY, Greece (NNS) -- U.S. Naval Support Activity (NSA) Souda Bay held a change of command ceremony onboard the installation, April 11.

Capt. Michael R. Moore relieved Capt. James F. Gibson Jr. as commanding officer.

Rear Adm. John C. "Jack" Scorby, commander, Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia, was the guest speaker at the event.

"It's a great honor for me to be here to recognize the outstanding achievements of Captain James 'Hoot' Gibson and his team, and to look ahead with Captain Michael 'Droopy' Moore to what no doubt promises to be a challenging and exciting future here at Naval Support Activity Souda Bay."

Scorby presented the Legion of Merit medal to Gibson for a job well done, since he took command in May 2012.

"I believe that our cooperation has enhanced our ability to support U.S., Greek, and NATO forces and in turn supports stability in this area." Gibson said. "I am proud of the Sailors here. I look forward to watching your continued success."

Gibson will be reporting to Student Attache Training, Washington, D.C.

Moore, a Hot Springs, Ark. native, has more than 4,000 fixed and rotary wing flight hours and has previously served as the commanding officer of Helicopter Squadron 3, based out of Jacksonville, Fla.

"As per the CNO's Sailing Directions, our Navy key tenants are: Warfighting First, Operate Forward, and Be Ready. The Sailors, and civilian men and women of Souda Bay are integral to this." Moore said. "I have been singularly impressed by the professionalism and pride of every member of Team Souda and again I look forward to leading this consummate team of professionals."

With more than 800 military, DoD civilian/contractor, and local national personnel assigned to the base, Souda Bay plays a vital role in supporting both U.S. and NATO forward operations throughout EUCOM, CENTCOM, and AFRICOM theaters of operation.

For more news from Naval Support Activity Souda Bay, visit

NNS140414-13. NWC Celebrates 100 Years of Distance Learning

From U.S. Naval War College Public Affairs

NEWPORT, R.I. (NNS) -- The U.S. Naval War College (NWC) celebrates its 100th anniversary of distance-learning education and non-resident programs April 15 in Newport.

April 1, 1914, Navy Secretary Josephus Daniels issued General Order No. 89 announcing the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, R.I. was "prepared to conduct extension courses by correspondence for the benefit of officers who are not at present available for attendance at the college."

Two weeks later, NWC faculty and staff kicked-off their first ever distance learning education program for naval officers serving on the deckplates.

These programs, now administered by the College of Distance Education (CDE), use curricula derived from the core residential program administered in Newport.

"I want to take this opportunity to congratulate the dedicated members of the CDE team, past and present, who have made this world-class education available to a diverse, dispersed, and deployable student-body that today totals nearly 145,000 military and civilian students worldwide," said Rear Adm. Walter E. "Ted" Carter Jr., NWC president.

Over the last century, thousands of NWC students have completed non-resident courses. In the early stages of distance education, coursework was completed through the use of postal correspondence. As our distance learning programs developed through the years, faculty-led seminars were added through ongoing relationships with the Naval Postgraduate School and later, through the introduction of the world wide web, CDROM, and Navy Knowledge Online enabled programs.

For more news from Naval War College, visit

NNS140411-18. Mayport Chaplain Prepares Comalapa Sailors for Easter

By Gunner's Mate 2nd Class (SW) Camille Perez, Cooperative Security Location Comalapa Public Affairs

COMALAPA, El Salvador (NNS) -- A chaplain from Naval Station Mayport, Fla., provided personal support April 9 and April 10 to Sailors deployed to Cooperative Security Location Comalapa.

Cmdr. Steven Souders, the director of the Commander, Surface Forces Atlantic Ministry Center at Mayport, supplied Sailors and civilians with the opportunity to receive one-on-one counseling April 9 and held a nondenominational service April 10. Because a chaplain would not be present the following week, he touched on a number of Easter-related themes.

"Having Chaplain Souders provide services and counseling to us here at the CSL is greatly appreciated," said Charles Mooradian, a contractor with DynCorp. "Spiritual health is as important as physical and mental health, and he takes care of that aspect for us."

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet Command Master Chief David Tellez accompanied the chaplain to Comalapa, reviewing quality-of-life and other improvement projects.

Senior Chief Sergio Moreno, the command senior chief of CSL Comalapa, said Tellez has always considered the well-being of Sailors a priority.

"Having him here, seeing the great job the Sailors are doing, and seeing all the new quality of life programs implemented and completed, lets him leave here assured that his Sailors are being taken care of," Moreno said.

Cooperative Security Location Comalapa provides critical logistics, infrastructure, and operational support to forward deployed U.S. and partner nation aviation units participating in Joint Interagency Task Force South assigned counter-illicit trafficking operations, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command-directed humanitarian missions, and search-and-rescue efforts.

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

NNS011216-14. This Day in Naval History - April 14

From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

1898 - The first post-Civil War hospital ship, USS Solace (AH 2) is commissioned and soon participates in the Spanish-American War attending to wounded servicemen from battles in Cuba.

1942 - USS Roper (DD 147) sinks German submarine U 85 off the Virginia Capes. Before being sunk by Roper, U 85 sank three Allied merchant vessels.

1945 - USS Tirante (SS 420), commanded by Lt. Cmdr. George L. Street III, attacks a Japanese convoy in the approaches to the Yellow Sea and sinks a transport ship and two vessels. Street earns Medal of Honor.

1969 - A North Korean aircraft shoots down an unarmed EC-121 propeller-driven Constellation, killing all 31 crewmembers on board.

1988 - During Operation Ernest Will, USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) strikes an Iranian mine off Qatar, injuring 10 sailors.

NNS140415-13. Fire Aboard Hue City; No Injuries

From U.S. Fleet Forces Command

NORFOLK (NNS) -- A fire broke out aboard USS Hue City (CG 66) late Monday, April 14 as the ship was transiting the Atlantic.

There were no injuries as a result of the fire, and the ship continues to operate under her own power. The extent of the damage is being assessed, and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Hue City departed Mayport, Fla. Friday, April 11, for deployment to the U.S. 6th Fleet Area of Responsibility.

NNS140415-12. USS Donald Cook Welcomes President of Romania

From U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

CONSTANTA, Romania (NNS) -- The forward deployed guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) welcomed aboard Romanian President Traian Bsescu while the ship was in port in Constanta, April 14.

Bsescu was met by members of the U.S. Embassy and Donald Cook's Commanding Officer Cmdr. Scott Jones. He was then given a tour of the ship, including the Navigation Bridge, Combat Information Center and Engineering Control.

"Operating in the Black Sea has been an incredible opportunity for us to further strengthen our ties and improve our interoperability with an important strategic partner, Romania, who just recently celebrated their 10th anniversary as a member of NATO," said Jones. "We feel that this is an important time to demonstrate our resolve and shared commitment with NATO; that we will maintain the right presence where it matters to promote peace and stability."

Donald Cook's visit to Romania is an example of the U.S. Navy's commitment to strengthen ties while working toward mutual goals in the Black Sea. This multi-mission destroyer is there to reassure our NATO allies that we share a commitment to promote peace and stability in the region.

"We have also been privileged to host several members of the Romanian Navy during our time in the Black Sea," added Jones. "This professional exchange has been valuable for my crew, allowing us a chance to discuss future exercise opportunities, and helping to reinforce, on a personal level, the strong ties between our two navies and our two nations."

Donald Cook, the first of four Arleigh Burke-class destroyers to be forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, is serving on a scheduled patrol in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations as part of the President's European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) to ballistic missile defense in Europe.

U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts a full range of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation missions in concert with coalition, joint, interagency, and other parties in order to advance security and stability in Europe and Africa.

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NNS140414-25. Russian Aircraft Flies Near U.S. Navy Ship in Black Sea

By Jim Garamone, American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- A Russian attack aircraft repeatedly flew near the USS Donald Cook in international waters in the Black Sea on April 12, a Pentagon spokesman said today.

The USS Cook was patrolling in the western Black Sea when an unarmed Russian Su-24 Fencer attack aircraft repeatedly flew near the Navy ship, Army Col. Steve Warren told reporters.

"The aircraft did not respond to multiple queries and warnings from Donald Cook, and the event ended without incident after approximately 90 minutes," Warren said. "This provocative and unprofessional Russian action is inconsistent with international protocols and previous agreements on the professional interaction between our militaries."

Two Russian aircraft were present, but only one took part in the provocative actions, Warren said. The aircraft flew from near sea level to a couple of thousand feet, he added, but never overflew the U.S. Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.

"The Russian plane made a total of 12 passes," he said.

The wingman stayed at a considerably higher altitude, Warren said.

Officials later said the aircraft approached within about 1,000 yards of the ship. The USS Cook was never in danger, Warren said.

"The Donald Cook is more than capable of defending itself against two Su-24s," the colonel said.

Warren said he does not think this is an example of a young pilot joyriding. "I would have difficulty believing that two Russian pilots, on their own, would chose to take such an action," he said. "We've seen the Russians conduct themselves unprofessionally and in violation of international norms in Ukraine for several months, and these continued acts of provocation and unprofessionalism do nothing to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine, which we called on the Russians to do."

The Cook arrived in the Black Sea on April 10. The ship is now making a port call in Constanta, Romania.

NNS140415-04. First Lady Visits with Fisher House Families at NSAB

From Naval Support Activity Bethesda Public Affairs

BETHESDA, Md. (NNS) -- First Lady Michelle Obama visited several families at Naval Support Activity Bethesda's (NSAB) Fisher House No. 4 to celebrate the upcoming Easter holiday, April 14.

Toting a large basket filled with cookies made by the White House pastry chefs, Obama talked with each family around brightly decorated tables where children were crafting Easter cards. The Obamas two Sunny and Bo, accompanied the First Lady on her trip to the Fisher House.

Obama visits the Fisher Houses annually to celebrate the work of the Fisher House Foundation bringing Easter spirit to military kids and to support their families affected by difficult circumstances.

"I just want to recognize all the great things that the Fisher House staff does here," said Obama. "I know that they give you guys a home away from home when you are going through some of the toughest times in your life. It's nice to be able to come to a beautiful facility like this where I know the staff is so warm and comforting to you."

There are five Fisher Houses onboard NSAB, the most of any Department of Defense installation. The homes offer 73 private rooms at no cost for family members of patients recovering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Army Spc. Julio Garcia and his wife Briccely reside in one of the Fisher Houses while their daughter receives treatment for leukemia.

"We really appreciate events like this so we don't have to think about things for a while," Briccely said. "Things would be a lot harder if we didn't have the Fisher House."

Along with the handmade treats and her pets, Obama brought along tickets for all of the families to attend the White House's annual Easter Egg Roll scheduled for April 21. Approximately 30,000 people will converge on the south lawn of the White House for the event that includes egg rolling, live music, food, and face painting. This year's theme is "Hop into Healthy, Swing into Shape" in support of Obama's "Let's Move" initiative.

Obama visited with families for about an hour, talking with the children about their crafts and conversing with their parents.

"This is the best part of my day, to be with so many great families. I get to shine a light on our military families and especially the kids because you are our heroes," Obama said. "You make your parents' lives so wonderful which helps them do the job that they are supposed to do. I know your parents couldn't do this without you. The president and I are so proud of you all."

For more news from Naval District Washington, visit

NNS140415-01. US Southern Command Deputy Commander Visits CSL Comalapa, VP-8

By Gunner's Mate 2nd Class (SW) Camille Perez, Cooperative Security Location Comalapa

COMALAPA, El Salvador (NNS) -- The military deputy commander of U.S. Southern Command visited Cooperative Security Location Comalapa and Patrol Squadron 8 on April 11.

Lt. Gen. Kenneth Tovo and his staff came aboard CSL Comalapa for briefings and a tour of the compound.
Tovo made several other stops while in El Salvador, including visits with the U.S. country team and key military and governmental leaders to discuss counter-illicit trafficking efforts and other aspects of countering transnational organized crime.

"His visit demonstrates the U.S. commitment to El Salvador and reinforces the already strong relationship between our two governments," said Lt. Cmdr. Jose Gomez, the Navy section chief of U.S. Security Cooperation Office El Salvador.

Tovo received updates from Cmdr. Odin Klug, CSL Comalapa's commanding officer, and from Lt. Cmdr. Charles Dennison, the officer in charge of Patrol Squadron 8.

After the presentation, Klug led Tovo on a tour of the site, pointing out construction projects, opportunities for initiatives and other items of interest.

"Sharing our mission set and downrange perspective with Lieutenant General Tovo is vitally important to help shape the comprehensive understanding of what and how CSL Comalapa provides and contributes to the broader counter-illicit trafficking mission," Klug said.

Dennison took Tovo on a tour of one of VP-8's P-3C Orion aircraft, showing him its features and capabilities.

"It was truly an honor to have Lieutenant General Tovo visit the 'Fighting Tigers,'" said Dennison. "The opportunity to discuss what the P-3 brings to the fight with such a distinguished officer and give him a tour of our aircraft is definitely a highlight of VP-8's deployment."

Cooperative Security Location Comalapa provides critical logistics, infrastructure, and operational support to forward deployed U.S. and partner nation aviation units participating in Joint Interagency Task Force South assigned counter-illicit trafficking operations, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command-directed humanitarian missions, and search-and-rescue efforts.

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

NNS140415-02. CSL Comalapa, VP-8 Sailors Raise Funds for Children's Home

By Gunner's Mate 2nd Class (SW) Camille Perez, Cooperative Security Location Comalapa

COMALAPA, El Salvador (NNS) -- Sailors from Cooperative Security Location Comalapa and Patrol Squadron 8 concluded two weeks of raising money for a local children's home April 10 with an unusual activity: washing a P-3 Orion aircraft on the flightline here.

The participants raised more than $1,100 for an Easter meal and Easter egg hunt that will be held this week at the Love and Hope Children's Home in San Salvador. Money not spent on the celebration will be used to enhance the home.

Sailors from the two commands paid $1 per vote for peers to wash the aircraft, and every Sailor for whom votes were cast had the opportunity to buy him- or herself out.

In the end, the top 10 vote-getters were selected to assist the VP-8 maintenance department in washing the aircraft.

Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Leslie Callejas was one of those selected to wash the plane.

Raising money for the children's home made her proud to be part of the CSL Comalapa-VP 8 team, Callejas said.

"I look forward to providing a fun Easter celebration for the children, but also to future events that will enhance quality of life for this group," she said.

CSL Comalapa's plane-washers included Callejas, Chief Yeoman Joel De Los Santos, Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Isidro Avalos, Master-at-Arms 1st Class Henry Ridgeway and Master-at-Arms 3rd Class Kenisha Dickson.

They were joined by five Sailors from VP-8: Lt. j.g. Paxie Cordova, Intelligence Specialist 1st Class Jorge Soldevilla, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class William Meyers, Personnel Specialist 2nd Class Michael Jones, and Information Systems Technician Seamen Thomas Steransky.

Avalos was glad to be given the opportunity to help, saying, "A little hard work for a good cause can go a long way."

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

NNS140415-17. SECNAV Formalizes Return of NROTC to Princeton

From Secretary of the Navy Public Affairs

PRINCETON, N.J. (NNS) -- Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber signed an agreement April 15, at a ceremony on Princeton's campus formalizing the reinstatement of a Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) program at Princeton.

"The renewal of this relationship on campus will serve to bring so many very talented officers into both the Navy and Marine Corps," said Mabus, "and the presence of NROTC will enrich and strengthen both our military and the educational experience of all the students at Princeton."

Under a crosstown agreement between the Navy, Princeton and Rutgers University, NROTC active duty Navy and Marine Corps instructors will lead and teach Princeton NROTC midshipmen on the Rutgers or Princeton campus, providing an opportunity for Princeton students to earn a commission in the United States Navy and Marine Corps through the NROTC program.

"(This agreement) is good for the university, it's good for the Navy, it's good for the Marine Corps and it's good for the country," said Mabus. "Together, the Navy, Princeton and Rutgers have made a decision to make the military better and our nation stronger."

NROTC was initially established at Princeton in 1945 and remained active until 1971. The establishment of the crosstown NROTC unit with Rutgers represents its return to campus for the first time in nearly three decades.

The return of NROTC to the Princeton campus represents an important connection between the university and the military.

"Only one percent of America wears the uniform," said Mabus, "so interaction with the officer candidates in NROTC and the officers who are their instructors may be the only window into military life that many at Princeton will ever get...and we must make sure these interactions happen."

The Princeton NROTC midshipmen will be part of the NROTC unit at Rutgers, which was established in March of 2012. Initially, Princeton students will attend NROTC courses and drill periods at Rutgers, while completing their degrees at Princeton.

The NROTC program develops young men and women morally, mentally, and physically, and instills in them the highest ideals of honor, courage, and commitment. The program educates and trains young men and women for leadership positions in an increasingly technical Navy and Marine Corps.

For more news from the Secretary of the Navy, visit

NNS140415-08. Battaglia Discusses Growth, Transition with Mayport Sailors

By Amaani Lyle, American Forces Press Service

NAVAL STATION MAYPORT, Fla (NNS) -- The senior enlisted advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff met with Sailors here April 14 to learn about the base's strategic home-porting and recapitalization plans and advise the Sailors about transition assistance resources.

Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia completed the first of a two-day command tour at the third-largest fleet concentration in the United States, with its 3,400 acres along the Atlantic Ocean and St. Johns River and 6,400 active duty Sailors.

"We've been able to see some of the ships, capabilities and potential growth of NS Mayport, where the littoral combat ships will be, and we've been able to look at the recapitalization of real estate," Battaglia said. "It's nice to see growth on a military installation when most of our conversations are about [base realignment and closure]."

The arrival of the littoral combat ships USS Freedom and USS Independence and their accompanying training and support facilities are programmed into a cumulative $70 million budget through fiscal year 2017.

Mayport's Amphibious Readiness Group welcomed the arrival of USS New York in December, and officials expect the USS Fort McHenry and USS Iwo Jima in August, Battaglia said.

The sergeant major also conducted an interactive all-hands call to field questions and address concerns about quality-of-life improvements, benefits, entitlements and deployments.

He told the Sailors that the DoD offers a free downloadable book called "The Non-Commissioned Officer and Petty Officer - Backbone of the Armed Forces" designed to help junior enlisted service members define their roles within the profession of arms.

"Every so often, we come together as a joint force," Battaglia said. "There are times when you belong to a larger task force [or] a combat command in an operational theater, so the more you know about what your peer group, subordinates and superiors do, the more helpful it is to your charter."

He also emphasized the importance of resilience, which he described as the ability to build fitness and strength in psychological, behavioral, physical, nutritional domains to return the mind, body and spirit to an optimal level of performance after facing adversity.

"Fitness is much more than just push-ups and running," Battaglia said to the Sailors. "It's a total sense of well-being and the ability to take care of ourselves and each other."

The Fleet and Family Support Center here continues to provide life-enhancing programs such as "Transition Goals, Plans, Success" for more than 17,000 total force personnel and their families, Battaglia said. "I'd like to see people planning early - getting into Transition GPS at least 12 months out and no later than 90 days before their dates of separation," he said.

On average, more than 250,000 services members transition annually through medical discharge, retirement and normal attrition of the force, the sergeant major noted.

"It's a pretty significant footprint, ... and I'm very impressed with what Mayport is doing to support Transition GPS," Battaglia said. "With so many total force service members looking at separation or retirement within five years, the information the FFSC provides is invaluable, ... so we have redesigned the entire program for all branches of service."

The program, he explained, involves enhanced networking resources and exit surveys to better gauge the value of the class to departing service members.

"[Transition GPS] will prove its worth if that service member who is separating walks off base enrolled in college, hired for a job or even starting his or her own business," the sergeant major said.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, Florida is home to more than 1.5 million total force veterans.

NNS140415-21. Submarine Force Atlantic Celebrates Birthday

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist John Osborne, Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- More than 1,000 Sailors, spouses and their guests gathered to celebrate the 114th birthday of the submarine force at The Founders Inn in Virginia Beach, Va., April 12.

The celebration paid tribute to the men and women serving the submarine force, their families and all of those who came before them to take on the arduous task of undersea warfare that began when John Holland sold the submersible that would be commissioned USS Holland (SS-1) to the U.S. Navy, April 11, 1900.

Vice Adm. Mike Connor, commander, Submarine Force, hosted the event for the Hampton Roads submarine community and introduced the night's keynote speaker, Adm. Bill Gortney, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command.

Gortney thanked all in attendance for their great service and paid homage to the accomplishments of the submarine force through the years.

"I'm honored to be here celebrating your history and your future," Gortney said. "It's good to see all the men and women here tonight that make the submarine force potent. It is because of your efforts that we pause to celebrate here tonight. I am in awe of your community. It took the boldness of a submariner to lead us to victory in the Pacific and bold commanding officers to bravely take on our adversaries in that challenging time. You were the first to bring the Navy into the nuclear age, silently doing your duty while impacting diplomacy during the Cold War. You tracked Soviet Fleets and deterred them from attacking our great nation. The Navy could not accomplish our mission without the presence you provide. You are a key piece of our weapon system. You are everywhere, always working behind the scenes and below the surface. We have the most formidable undersea warfare system in the world."

The theme of this year's Submarine Birthday Ball was "Celebrating 114 Years of Partnerships for Undersea Dominance." Gortney addressed the importance of that theme to the continued success of the Navy and the nation, and then reminded everyone in uniform that their families personify that theme every day with their support and devotion.

"When we deploy, we do so in concert, fighting together. We can take the best of our respective communities and link them to accomplish our mission as the United States Navy. When our nation calls us to action, our interoperability will be our saving grace. It is our force multiplier. As I look out at this room, I see a legacy of excellence and a future full of potential and accomplishment. No matter what rank you hold, you're making a difference and keeping our nation safe. I know that when you are called upon not one of you will miss a beat in defeating our adversaries.

"We are the greatest fighting force in the history of civilization and that fighting force has a not-so-secret weapon and that is our families. I want to thank those of you who enable our service. We know our families are the very stitches that hold the cloth of our nation together. It is because of you that we are able to follow our passion. For what you do today and will do in the future, I thank you."

Over the years, a total of 63 U.S. submarines have been lost in war and peace, and some 4,000 young men have lost their lives serving on those submarines. The traditional tolling of the boats honoring all fallen submarines and their crews was captured in an awe-inspiring video.

Force Master Chief Wes Koshoffer, master of ceremonies and force master chief, Commander, Submarine Forces, then had the honor of announcing the traditional cake-cutting.

"It is a tradition at each submarine birthday ball that the senior and junior qualified submariners in attendance conduct the cake cutting," said Koshoffer. "Submariners are extremely proud of the high level of knowledge, skill and reliability required for submarine qualification. Those of us who have earned dolphins, gold and silver, look back with pride on the occasion which signified that we had acquired the required skills and joined the submarine brotherhood."

Electrician's Mate 3rd Class Brandon Perkins of the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Boise (SSN 764) and Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Robert Raeemacher from the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Albany (SSN 753), were announced as the newest submarine qualified Sailors. They joined Gortney, Connor and Ed Kracker, the lone WWII submarine veteran in attendance who qualified on the Balao-class submarine USS Bang (SS 385) in 1944, in cutting the ceremonial submarine ball cake.

A fun few hours of dancing and celebration that transcended rank and rating closed out the evening and left with it the indelible mark of the submarine force that has been on scene and unseen for 114 years.

For more news from Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, visit

NNS140415-09. Navy Memorial Hosts 23rd Blessing of the Fleet

From Naval District Washington Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The United States Navy Memorial hosted the 23rd Annual Blessing of the Fleet ceremony at the memorial in Washington April 14.

The ceremony followed the Washington, D.C. annual Cherry Blossom Festival Parade, and featured the United States Navy Band and Ceremonial Guard, along with a Parade of Attaches and presentation of colors advanced across the memorial's outdoor plaza as the event commenced.

President and CEO of the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation, retired Vice Adm. John Totushek, welcomed the guests to the centuries-old tradition.

"Usually this tradition is performed in fishing villages to pray for the Sailors are taken care of and they come back with a plentiful harvest," said Totushek.

The blessing of the fleet is a ceremony created centuries ago in Europe and is a common practice by Sailors and navies around the world intended to guard ships and crews from the hazards of the sea.

Sailors from the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard and Coast Guard Honor Guard poured water from the Seven Seas and the Great Lakes into the surrounding fountains, "charging" them to life and ushering in the spring season.

This year's ceremony also kicked off the Year of the Coast Guard.

"Normally this ceremony is an all-Navy event, but if you look around this year you see a lot of the lighter-blue participating," said Totushek. "The Navy Memorial is here to represent all the sea services."

Previous year-round themes have included the "Year of the Chief" and the "Year of the Military Woman" with future themes including the "Year of the Navy Reserve" and the "Year of the Marine Corps," added Totushek.

Guests were treated to a musical performance by the Coast Guard band and were served a sampling of Navy Bean Soup, prepared by the White House Mess.

For more news from Naval District Washington, visit

NNS140414-29. Pentagon Personnel Pen Prevention Proclamation

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Elliott Fabrizio, Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Service members from each military branch joined together to sign the Pentagon's Sexual Assault Awareness Month Proclamation in the Pentagon courtyard, April 14.

The proclamation read "Whereas, the desire within the Department of Defense is for all personnel to live our values, therefore, I will step up and do my part to stop sexual assault."

The Department of Defense theme for 2014 Sexual Assault Awareness Month is "Live our values: Step Up to Stop Sexual Assault."

The event was held in conjunction with the Clothesline Project, an initiative that raises sexual assault awareness by facilitating the design of T-shirts that help educate others about sexual assault. The shirts will be on display throughout April.

Victim advocates and representatives spoke on the importance of educating the military community so they know what support is available.

"The victim advocate is the direct link between the victim and the available resources whether that be medical, legal or just someone to talk to," said Chief Intelligence Specialist Ashley Gorham, victim advocate. "No matter who the victim is they will have someone to talk and connect with."

Victim advocates are present in each military service, and share the focus of helping those affected by sexual assault become survivors.

"The role of a victim advocate is unique," said Army Sgt. First Class Julie Hoke, a sexual assault response coordinator. "The journey they take with their clients is challenging, but rewarding. I have served as a victim advocate and the transformation is amazing. During the intake, you are meeting with a victim, but in the end, if all goes well, you are walking alongside a survivor."

Marine Corps Maj. Paul Greenberg, another victim advocate, said that early in his training, he thought the term 'survivor' was "a little overblown" for sexual assault victims; however, after recently learning his niece had been suicidal after being sexually assaulted, he said he feels that 'survivor' is the exact term to use.

Navy Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) Liz Blanc closed the event by challenging each person to look for ways to contribute to the prevention of sexual assault.

"What is it that each of you can do within your sphere of influence to honor the experiences of victims and the messages of support and hope that you see on these shirts today? What can we all do to make the SAPR program of the future the best, most effective and most accessible program that it can be so we can continue to take care of victims?"

For more news from Chief of Naval Personnel, follow @USNPeople on Twitter.

NNS140415-06. DoD Unveils Improved Sexual Assault Prevention Training

By Amaani Lyle, American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- As part of efforts to eliminate the crime of sexual assault in the military, Defense Department officials announced April 14 improvements to sexual assault prevention and response training for all members of the armed forces and civilian employees.

Officials said the improvements center on development of consistent sexual assault prevention and response core competencies and learning objectives for:

-- Training for new accessions;

-- Annual and refresher training;

-- Pre- and post-deployment training;

-- Professional military education;

-- Training for commanders and senior enlisted leaders before assuming their new positions; and

-- Training for sexual assault response coordinators, victim advocates and chaplains.

Within the first 14 days of service, officials explained, new accessions to the armed forces receive training that provides a basic understanding of the sexual assault prevention and response program, specific information on reporting options, and the services and resources available both on base and in the local region. Additionally, service members receive annual refresher training in sexual assault prevention and response, as well as before and after deployments.

At the professional military education level, officials said, the training emphasizes participants' leadership role in supporting the Defense Department's sexual assault prevention and response efforts.

In their training, officials said, commanders and senior enlisted leaders learn about:

-- The complexities of the crime and their role in fostering a command environment of professional values, team commitment, and dignity and respect;

-- Proactive measures to reduce sexual assaults in their units;

-- The protections afforded victims and the accused; and

-- The elements of quality victim care.

Training for sexual assault response coordinators and victim advocates emphasize effective crisis management in addition to advocating for the victim and coordinating care, officials said.

For chaplains, training competencies focus on awareness of sexual assault as a crime, its impact on victims, and sexual assault prevention and response resources the Defense Department provides.

"The department is committed to eliminating sexual assault and ensuring an environment that provides dignity and respect for all members of the military community," said Army Col. Litonya Wilson, deputy director of prevention and victim assistance in the DoD Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office. "We took steps to improve the quality of SAPR training with a specific focus on developing core competencies and learning objectives, ensuring consistency, and implementing methods for assessing the effectiveness of these training programs."

The training improvements incorporate a coordinated effort designed to ensure that everyone in the military community - including first responders, commanders, new service members, and those deployed around the world - have consistent training standards and effective tools to prevent and respond to sexual assault, officials said. The services and the National Guard Bureau developed the core competencies and learning objectives jointly to incorporate best practices from the field and input from sexual assault survivors, they added.

"The entire military community must be engaged in creating an environment where sexual assault, sexual harassment, and sexist behaviors are not tolerated," Wilson said. "It is our aim to field innovative prevention strategies, new training approaches, and incorporate best practices for SAPR training to instill an environment that promotes respect and proper treatment of everyone within the department.

"Our focus is on creating a climate where sexual assault and sexual harassment are seen as unacceptable," she continued, "not just because they are illegal, but because they are wrong."

NNS140414-24. Navy's Underwater Archaeologists Dive Headfirst into Naval History

From Naval History and Heritage Command Communication and Outreach Division

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- It was a simple pottery jar with cork in it. But when the team from the Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB) of the Naval History and Heritage Command eased the cork out of it, the air that came out was nearly 200 years old, perhaps created by the organic material it had stored on the sloop-rigged floating battery Scorpion before it was scuttled Aug. 22, 1814.

Robert S. Neyland, Ph.D., director of the Underwater Archeology Branch (UAB) of the Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) in Washington, D.C., doesn't always get to work in such rarified air, but that was just one of many remarkable moments of his career in managing one of the lesser known, but widest-reaching organizations in the Navy.

The branch headquarters and laboratory are tucked away in the many historic buildings at the Washington Navy Yard. And just like the shipwrecks the branch monitors and manages, it takes a map and a little inside knowledge to find them.

But within its offices are the people who conserve and protect the more than 17,000 ship and aircraft wrecks around the world, its collection of more than 3,000 artifacts recovered from sunken military craft sites, and an artifact loan program of 6,000-plus items to national and international museums and other qualified facilities throughout the world.

The branch itself was created in 1993 through the Department of Defense Legacy Resource Management Program funds. Robert Neyland, Ph.D., followed soon after. Neyland, a native of Palestine, Texas, earned his doctorate and master's degrees in anthropology through the Department of Anthropology, Nautical Archaeology Program at Texas A&M, 1996 and 1994, respectively. He also holds another master's degree in public administration and planning from the University of Texas at Tyler and a bachelor's degree in wildlife science from Stephen F. Austin University.

So what did it take to get this Texas boy out of Texas? Mixing his love for diving with archaeology. He's traveled the world, diving some of the world's oldest shipwrecks. His scientific expertise and experience in management led him on assignment from Texas A&M to the Naval Historical Center in 1994 to assist the Navy in the development of policies and a program in underwater archaeology. The work was so intriguing he left Texas A&M to work at the branch as a federal government employee in 1996.

While working as the Branch Head of the new Underwater Archaeology Branch, Neyland's unique experience led South Carolina officials to request the Navy to loan him to the State under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) in 1998 to assist them with the archaeological recovery and documentation of the submarine H.L. Hunley discovered off the coast of South Carolina.

His Navy work has taken him to dives on Revolutionary War ships in Maine, surveys of WWII wrecks off the beaches of Normandy, France, and rare downed aircraft under the waves off the Marshall Islands. He's led the Navy archaeology team seeking the resting site of World War II submarine USS Pompano, which sank somewhere off the coast of Japan.

Diving for archaeology, however, isn't always in pristine recreational areas such as the waters of the Caribbean or Mediterranean Seas.

"The visibility for diving isn't that great in harbors and rivers," Neyland said. "But we dive where the wrecks are."


Diving into the murky waters of rivers can be as cloudy as navigating government regulation. That's why one of UAB's responsibilities includes arranging for permitting authority for the Department of the Navy under the 2004 Sunken Military Craft Act (SMCA).

The SMCA was enacted to protect sunken ship and aircraft wrecks which represent a collection of more than 17,000 fragile, non-renewable artifacts that often serve as war graves, safeguard state secrets, carry environmental and safety hazards such as oil and ordnance, and hold significant historical value.

The SMCA provides that U.S. government-owned military ships, aircraft and spacecraft remain the property of the government, no matter their condition, age or location. Still, Neyland said the law was written in the public interest to protect grave sites, and preserve the nation's and Navy's history, while at the same time providing non-intrusive access to wrecks for the diving public. The permitting process UAB manages even allows for excavation at the sites for archaeological, historical, or educational purposes.

"When there is an intentional violation of the act, the Navy can impose penalties, which is a unique responsibility within the Navy," Neyland said. "Many of these wrecks are the burial sites of U.S. military personnel and war graves. The Act applies equally to U.S. military ships lost today as it does to the earliest examples lost by the Continental Army and Navy during the American Revolution."

It's not a "finders-keepers" situation if divers recover artifacts from or around wreck sites. Just recently, a trumpet taken from the site of USS Houston was returned to the Navy, but had suffered degradation after its removal from the marine environment and exposure to the atmospheric oxygen. The UAB archaeology and conservation laboratory is working to mitigate that damage now. USS Houston sank in the Java Sea after intense fire from the Japanese fleet during the Battle of Sunda Strait Feb. 28, 1942.

Neyland said there is a fair expectation by the public that the Navy will look after theses wrecks as archeological sites and as war graves.

"Laws and ethics do not keep up with the advances in technology that allow for deeper dives and locating wrecks and the Navy's wrecks are no longer protected by immersion in the marine environment," Neyland said. "In many ways, these are like undiscovered islands, but which are already titled as U.S. property and are distributed worldwide."

But with those remains may also lay environmental issues still buried with the wreck, such as oil, ordnance and weapon systems better left to experts rather than civilian divers. The UAB works with numerous other Navy commands to recover or protect Navy artifacts, like the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) units, Seabees, Judge Advocate General Corps and Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

But the branch is also often the starting point for outside organizations, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, cities and states, plus a slew of foreign navies and their governmental agencies. They work with veterans associations and universities.

When fragments from a human jawbone were found embedded in the concreted outer layer covering a 32-pound cannon recovered from CSS Alabama, UAB worked with forensic scientists from the Department of Defense Central Identification Laboratory to recover information such as the age range of the deceased and determined that the individual was probably a European sailor serving on the ship. This complements the historical records which reveal that while the officers were Southern Confederates, most of the crew were European.


The mission of UAB is unique, and so are the professional opportunities it offers. The department has a robust intern program, now offering 13 internships a year th

NNS140415-10. Special and General Courts-Martial for March 2014

From the Office of the Chief of Information

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The following reports the results of Special and General Courts-Martial tried within the United States Navy in March 2014. The cases are listed by the Navy Region in which they were tried.

Naval District Washington

General Court-Martial

* At a General Court-Martial at the Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C., a Midshipman was tried for sexual assault and false official statements. On 20 March 2014, the military judge returned a verdict of not guilty for aggravated sexual assault, and the Convening Authority dismissed the charge of false official statement.

Special Court-Martial

* At a Special Court-Martial at the Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C., ET1 Robert Moriarty, USN pleaded guilty to a false official statement and wrongful use of controlled substances. On 4 March 2014, the Military Judge sentenced him to be discharged with a Bad Conduct Discharge, reduction in rank to paygrade E-1, and confinement for 45 days.

* At a Special Court-Martial at the Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C., MM2 Charles Stamos, USN pleaded guilty to larceny. On 11 March 2014, the military judge sentenced him to a reprimand, reduction in rank to paygrade E-4, and hard labor without confinement for 90 days.

Navy Region Mid-Atlantic

General Court-Martial

* At a General Court-Martial in Norfolk, Virginia, GSM3 Hans Silvera, USN was tried for sexual assault and violating military protective orders. On 26 March 2014, a panel of members returned a verdict of guilty to all charges and sentenced him to reduction in rank to paygrade E-3 and confinement for 90 days.

* At a General Court-Martial in Norfolk, Virginia, PR1 Brian G. Provorse, USN was tried for engaging in lewd acts and taking indecent liberties with a child. On 26 March 2014, a panel of members returned a verdict of guilty to all charges and sentenced him to be discharged with a Dishonorable Discharge and confinement for 6 years.

Special Court-Martial

* At a Special Court-Martial in Norfolk, Virginia, PS2 Richard A. McKenney, USN pleaded guilty to theft of military property. On 5 March 2014, the military judge sentenced him to reduction in rank to paygrade E-1, a fine of $5,000.00, and confinement for 6 months.

* At a Special Court-Martial in Norfolk, Virginia, CWO2 Damien Donald, USN pleaded guilty to assault consummated by a battery and conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman. On 19 March 2014, the military judge sentenced him to a reprimand, forfeit $2,500.00 pay for 1 month, and restriction for 30 days.

Navy Region Southeast

General Court-Martial

* At a General Court-Martial in Mayport, Florida, FC3 Gregory Mayo, USN pleaded guilty to receipt and possession of child pornography. On 4 March 2014, the military judge sentenced him to be discharged with a Dishonorable Discharge, reduction in rank to paygrade E-1, a fine of $2,000.00, and confinement for 20 months.

* At a General Court-Martial in Pensacola, Florida, AGAN Alexander Lopuchin, USN was tried for sexual assault. On 20 March 2014, the panel of members returned a verdict of guilty and sentenced him to be discharged with a Dishonorable Discharge, reduction in rank to paygrade E-1, and confinement for 60 days.

Special Court-Martial

* At a Special Court-Martial in Pensacola, Florida, CS1 Jason Robinson, USN pleaded guilty to dereliction of duty, false official statement, fraud against the government, and uttering a worthless check. He pleaded not guilty to larceny, but was found guilty of larceny by the military judge. On 5 March 2014, the military judge sentenced him to be discharged with a Bad Conduct Discharge, reduction in rank to paygrade E-1, and confinement for 4 months.

* At a Special Court-Martial in Mayport, Florida, HN John P. Ragosta, USN pleaded guilty to violating an order, wrongful use of a controlled substance, unauthorized absence, and wrongful appropriation of military property. On 11 March 2014, the military judge sentenced him to reduction in rank to paygrade E-2, forfeit $800.00 pay per month for 5 months, and confinement for 165 days.

* At a Special Court-Martial in Pensacola, Florida, BU1 Christopher Owens, USN pleaded guilty to assault consummated by a battery, unlawful entry, and maltreatment. On 25 March 2014, the military judge sentenced him to a reprimand, reduction in rank to paygrade E-4, confinement for 45 days, and restriction for 45 days.

* At a Special Court-Martial in Pensacola, Florida, AA Clifford Holmes, III USN pleaded guilty to abusive sexual contact and violation of a general order. On 26 March 2014, the military judge sentenced him to be discharged with a Bad Conduct Discharge, reduction in rank to paygrade E-1, and confinement for 50 days.

* At a Special Court-Martial in Mayport, Florida, ETC Brian Mikolitch, USN, pleaded guilty to assaults consummated by battery. On 26 March 2014, the military judge sentenced him to be discharged with a Bad Conduct Discharge, reduction in rank to paygrade E-1, and confinement for 8 months.

Navy Region Midwest

Special Court-Martial

* At a Special Court-Martial in Great Lakes, Illinois, SR Kenneth Hiner, USN pleaded guilty to abusive sexual contact and assault consummated by a battery. On 13 March 2014, the military judge sentenced him to be discharged with a Bad Conduct Discharge, forfeit two-thirds pay per month for 9 months, and confinement for 9 months.

Navy Region Northwest

General Court-Martial

* At a General Court-Martial in Everett, Washington, BM2 Brandon R. Culp, USN pleaded guilty to attempted child sex trafficking and violating general orders. On 24 March 2014, the military judge sentenced him to be discharged with a Dishonorable Discharge, reduction in rank to paygrade E-1, forfeit all pay and allowances, and confinement for 12 years.

* At a General Court-Martial in Bremerton, Washington, AT3 Jovanny A. Natareno, USN pleaded guilty to attempted sexual abuse of a child. On 27 March 2014, the military judge sentenced him to be discharged with a Dishonorable Discharge, reduction in rank to paygrade E-1, forfeit all pay and allowances, and confinement for 28 months.

Special Court-Martial

* At a Special Court-Martial in Bremerton, Washington, MA3 Adam K. Mersereau, USN pleaded guilty to assaults consummated by battery and communicating a threat. On 28 March 2014, the military judge sentenced him to be discharged with a Bad Conduct Discharge, reduction in rank to paygrade E-1, forfeit $1,010.00 per month for 10 months, and confinement for 10 months.

Navy Region Southwest

General Court-Martial

* At a General Court-Martial in San Diego, California, DCCS Byron D. Reynolds, USN pleaded guilty to disobeying a superior commissioned officer, attempted production of child pornography, sexual contact with a child, and lewd acts with a child. On 7 March 2014, the military judge sentenced him to be discharged with a Dishonorable Discharge, reduction in rank to paygrade E-1, and confinement for 22 years.

* At a General Court-Martial in San Diego, California, HM2 George K. Lucas, USN pleaded guilty to attempted violation of the arms export control act, false official statement, and receiving stolen military property. On 4 March 2014, the military judge sentenced him to be discharged with a Bad Conduct Discharge, a fine of $1000.00, and confinement for 125 days.

* At a General Court-Martial in Lemoore, California, an E-4, USN was tried for rape. On

NNS011216-15. This Day in Naval History - April 15

From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

1912 - The scout cruisers USS Chester and USS Salem sail from Massachusetts to assist RMS Titanic survivors, and escort RMS Carpathia, which carried the survivors of the Titanic, to New York.

1918 - The First Marine Aviation Force, under the command of Capt. Alfred A. Cunningham, USMC, is formed at Marine Flying Field, Miami, Fla.

1945 - USS Frost (DE 144) and USS Stanton (DE 247) join to attack German submarine U 880 north-northwest of the Azores, which sinks at 01:14.

1961 -The first nuclear-powered frigate, USS Bainbridge (DLGN-25), is launched at Quincy, Mass.

1962 - USS Princeton (LPH 5) brings the first advisory unit to Vietnam and the Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 362 SocTrang, Mekong Delta, South Vietnam.

1986 - Operation El Dorado Canyon. Aircraft of USS America (CV-66) & USS Coral Sea (CV-43) attack Libya.

NNS140416-02. Bonhomme Richard on Call for Korean Ferry Rescue Efforts

From Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea Public Affairs

SEOUL, Republic of Korea (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) is responding to the scene of Korean passenger ship Sewol that sank near the island of Jindo off the southwestern coast of the Republic of Korea April 16.

The ship had more than 450 people embarked and was traveling from Incheon, South Korea to Jeju island at the time of the incident.

Bonhomme Richard has established communications with the Republic of Korea on-scene commander and is standing by to assist as required. The ship was on a routine patrol in waters west of the Korean peninsula at the time of the incident.

"When we were alerted to the accident, we immediately diverted to the scene to render assistance," said Capt. Heidi C. Agle, commodore of U.S. Amphibious Squadron 11. "However, the efficiency of the Korean response eclipsed the immediate need for our assets. We are standing by to provide support as requested by the on-scene commander."

Bonhomme Richard is forward-deployed to Sasebo, Japan as part of the U.S. 7th Fleet. With its embarked Marine Expeditionary Unit, Bonhomme Richard is capable of both combat and humanitarian operations. The ship's primary mission is to embark, deploy and land elements of a Marine Landing Force in amphibious assault operations by helicopter, landing craft, amphibious vehicle or any combination of these methods. Bonhomme Richard is also equipped with MV-22 Osprey aircraft, MH60 helicopters, and small boats with the capability of conducting search and rescue operations. U.S. 7th Fleet will continue to provide assistance to the search and rescue operation as requested by Republic of Korea rescue authorities.

For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea, visit

NNS140416-04. UPDATE: Hue City to Return to Mayport Following Fire

From U.S. Fleet Forces Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- U.S. Fleet Forces announced late Monday that USS Hue City (CG 66) would return to her homeport of Mayport, Fla. following a fire that occurred April 14.

There were no injuries to the crew, and the ship continues to operate under her own power.
Hue City is currently transiting toward Mayport in company with USS Gettysburg (CG 64). Both ships are scheduled to return to port on Friday morning.
The extent of the damage is being assessed, and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

For more news from U.S. Fleet Forces Command, visit

NNS140416-11. Exercise Obangame Express 2014 Commences

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class John Herman, Obangame Express Public Affairs

LAGOS, Nigeria (NNS) -- Naval forces from the United States, Europe, South America and Africa commenced the multinational maritime exercise Obangame Express, April 16.

Obangame Express, now in its fourth year, is designed to improve tactical expertise and cooperation among West and Central African nations in order to enhance those maritime forces' collective ability to deter illicit activity and maritime threats in the Gulf of Guinea.

The weeklong exercise will take place in two areas near the coasts of Nigeria and Cameroon. There will be an inport preparatory phase and then the 31 participating ships will go to sea to test maritime security skills.

"Every nation represented here today plays a critical role in regional maritime security and we all know that no one nation alone can ensure safe maritime operations," said U.S. Navy Capt. Nancy Lacore, Obangame Express exercise director. "It is through exercises such as Obangame that nations can work together to lay the foundation for the regional cooperation that will ensure the safety and security of military, commercial and civilian operations at sea."

While the Nigerian navy hosted the opening ceremony and is providing the port facilities for a number of the participating ships, senior leaders and participants recognize this is truly an international collaborative event, and that maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea requires a collaborative effort.

"In light of recent challenges in the Gulf of Guinea, our collaboration between the countries of the Gulf and our international partners - U.S. Africa Command and U.S. Naval Forces Africa - has resulted in this event meant to develop individual capacities and to secure the maritime area," said Nigerian navy Rear Adm. Aoa Ikioda, chief of plans and policy for the Nigerian navy.

Obangame Express aims to test a wide variety of skill sets such as visit, board, search and seizure, medical response, radio communication, and information sharing across regional maritime operations centers. Participants will execute tactics and techniques within scenarios that mirror real world counter-piracy and counter-illicit trafficking operations.

"The United States remains absolutely committed to collaborating with and supporting Nigeria in its ongoing efforts to increase maritime safety and security in the region. We have a very strong and enduring relationship with the Nigerian navy, and we deeply appreciate your lead role in bringing the many nations of the Gulf of Guinea together to work cooperatively," said James Entwistle, U.S. ambassador to Nigeria.

The exercise is one of four U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa facilitated regional Express-series exercises under the international collaborative maritime capacity building program Africa Partnership Station (APS). These regional maritime exercises serve to test skills learned from previous APS training events and ongoing efforts to increase proficiencies in maritime security operations.

African partners expressed the importance of this type of collaboration and continual improvement in maritime security skill sets to achieve a safer and more secure Gulf of Guinea.

"This exercise is designed to encourage countries in the Gulf of Guinea, and to a very large extent the rest of Africa, to work together and ensure interoperability of communications and shared maritime domain awareness information," said Nigerian navy Rear Adm. Si Alade, flag officer commanding Western Naval Command Nigeria.

Twenty nations are participating in Obangame Express, including Angola, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, The Netherlands, Nigeria, Portugal, Republic of Congo, Sao Tome & Principe, Spain, Togo, Turkey and the United States.

The U.S. Navy's first, joint-high speed vessel, USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1), and its embarked crew of military personnel and civil service mariners will participate in Obangame Express along with 30 ships. Spearhead is deployed to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations for its maiden deployment in support of the APS program and maritime security operations.

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For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, visit

NNS140416-05. Bahraini Students Explore, Learn during US Navy Day

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Steve Smith, Naval Support Activity Bahrain Public Affairs

MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- Components of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain provided more than 200 Bahraini middle school students with tours, equipment displays, and demonstrations during U.S. Navy Day aboard Naval Support Activity Bahrain, April 16.

The event provided children from the local community an opportunity to learn about the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard as part of the U.S. Embassy Manama, Bahrain's annual American-Bahraini Friendship Week Program.

"The U.S. Embassy is proud to be working with the U.S. Navy on a whole host of events for the American-Bahraini Friendship Week Program," said Timothy Pounds, deputy chief of mission, U.S. Embassy Manama, Bahrain. "I believe that today's 'Navy Day' event is one of the best ways we can show that the U.S.-Bahrain relationship is not just about formal diplomatic or military ties, but about our strong people-to-people ties. The over two hundred students that attended today's event not only have a better understanding of how the U.S. Navy works with their Bahraini partners to maintain security and stability in the region, they also had a chance to meet face-to-face with a number of Sailors and U.S. Navy personnel. These personal interactions provide the solid foundation that allows our two nations to better work together at all levels of the bilateral relationship."

As the students arrived, they were greeted by Sailors and issued a personnel qualification standard (PQS) worksheet. This PQS listed items the students would learn about and experience as they made their way around the pier to each unit's exhibit. Each stop would earn them a signature. Once all the signatures were collected, they would be given a special completion certificate.

The first stop was aboard the mine countermeasure ship USS Gladiator (MCM 11) where students interacted with Sailors as they climbed ladders and explored passageways. Their tour guide led them up to the pilothouse and then through the ship, arriving all the way back aft, to see the equipment used in counter-mine operations.

"This was a great opportunity to show our hosts what the Navy in Bahrain is all about," said Lt. j.g. Joseph Giuda, navigator of Gladiator. "By showing them what life is like aboard the ship and teaching them about our mission, it creates an understanding between us and helps continue our strong relationship."

Back on the pier, the Marines of Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team Company Central Command displayed several weapons systems and explained their use. The Marines also held a Marine Corps Martial Arts Program demonstration and provided instruction on basic techniques.

"It's amazing to be out here and talk to the kids," said Lance Cpl. Brandan Wilkerson, assigned to FAST Company, Charlie Company, 4th Platoon. "Myself and the other Marines are happy to show the kids what we do and the kids are genuinely interested and excited to learn about us."

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit Sailors displayed diving equipment and an underwater bomb detection robot. The students were also able to have a hands-on experience by controlling a bomb-retrieval robot.

"I didn't know anything about the Navy before and this was definitely a new experience for me," said Rakan Abu Shultiats, 8th grade student. "I think it's important to see how the Navy works and how they are protecting everywhere."

Other displays earned students signatures toward their completed PQS, such as equipment demonstrations by NSA Bahrain's Fire and Emergency Services first responders. Naval Security Force Bahrain master-at-arms also engaged the students with a personal defense class where the kids could practice some of the techniques.

"We are very pleased to be able to participate and the kids are enjoying an experience they have never had before," said Juan Lewis, principal of Modern Knowledge Schools. "Events like this teach the students there are good relationships that bring us together for a common cause."

For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/5th Fleet, visit

NNS140416-16. PCU North Dakota Commissioning Postponed

From Team Submarine Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- PCU North Dakota (SSN 784) commissioning will be postponed, the Navy announced, April 16.

This decision is based on the need for additional design and certification work required on the submarine's redesigned bow and material issues with vendor-assembled and delivered components. As the Navy works with all vested parties to certify the quality and safety of the submarine and toward taking delivery of the boat, it will determine a new commissioning date.

The Navy is committed to ensuring the safety of its crews and ships. High quality standards for submarine components are an important part of the overall effort to ensure safety.

The lessons learned from North Dakota are already being applied to all Block III submarines.

Team Submarine oversees the submarine force's research, development, acquisition, maintenance and life cycle support.

For more news from Naval Sea Systems Command, visit

NNS140416-17. 3rd Fleet and TTGP Host RIMPAC Staff Exercise

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Molly A. Evans, Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet (C3F) and Tactical Training Group Pacific (TTGP) held a Staff Exercise (STAFFEX) for senior leadership staffs at Naval Base Point Loma April 14-16 in preparation for Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014.

The exercise provided an opportunity to work through challenging scenarios in a synthetic, computer-based environment prior to live training to be conducted during RIMPAC.

"We have multiple modules simulating a command room," said TTGP RIMPAC STAFFEX Coordinator, Cmdr. Sean Rando. "We conduct simulated exercises regularly, but none to this scale, and there are language barriers and meanings of certain terms that we don't realize can be an issue until we execute an exercise. So, in order to solve some of these issues, we decided to conduct a synthetic war game to mirror parts of RIMPAC in a controlled environment."

Senior staffs from Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Singapore and the United States participated in the training.

"We all have one common goal: to make this the best RIMPAC ever," said Combined Force Maritime Component Commander, Royal Canadian Navy Commodore Gilles Couturier. "This is all about relationships and establishing links as a coalition force. This is the best option we have to exercise the plan without actually putting ships at sea. Every nation is budget conscious, so it is our job as leaders to make the best of it."

Deputy Commander, Combined Task Force, Royal Australian Navy Rear Adm. Simon Cullen expressed his feelings on how training prior to a major exercise builds team cohesion.

"What this does is cement relationships and allows us to practice tactics, techniques and procedures in a simulated environment," he said. "When we get to the real operational area we don't want to make the same mistakes, so we start at a higher level of training and keep building."

RIMPAC is the world's largest maritime exercise, which occurs biennially in and around the Hawaiian islands. The exercise, which is next scheduled to occur in the summer of 2014, is hosted by U.S. Pacific Fleet and led by the commander of U.S. 3rd Fleet.

"It's a complex exercise, but it is very important that we all learn to work together to promote security and stability in the Pacific, so these exercises are ideal venues to allow us to work together with other countries that you would not otherwise meet," added Cullen.

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

NNS140416-01. Frank Cable Sailors host QA Seminar with Royal Malaysian Navy

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brandon Shelander, USS Frank Cable Public Affairs

SEPANGAR, Malaysia (NNS) -- Sailors from the Quality Assurance (QA) team aboard the submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS 40) hosted officers from the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) for a Submarine Safety Program (SUBSAFE) seminar in Sepangar, Malaysia, April 15.

The purpose of the seminar was to give the RMN officers some insight into how the U.S. Navy's SUBSAFE program works so they can develop something similar.

"It's quite interesting," said Capt. Abdul Jamal, the logistics chief of staff for the RMN submarine headquarters. "If possible, we want to get everyone involved because SUBSAFE is very important and we would like to have our own SUBSAFE program."

Jamal has been trying to implement a similar system for several years because as it is now, the RMN has contractors doing most of their repair and QA work. Jamal hopes to change this and have more of the every day repair and QA be handled by his sailors instead of civilians.

"It seems like their crews are smaller, so they want assurance that work is going to be done without having to rely on someone else," said U.S. Navy Chief Warrant Officer Keith Wilber, Frank Cable's quality assurance officer during the ship's underway evolutions.

During the lecture, Frank Cable Sailors went over technical work documents that detail how to safely conduct maintenance on hazardous systems as well as the testing and inspection of parts. The interactive class had the RMN officers and Frank Cable Sailors paired up so they could discuss and review Joint Fleet Maintenance Manuals and have any of their questions answered by subject matter experts.

"You can actually tell that they wanted to get deeper into the books," said Wilber. "The more that we talked about the QA forms and how they relate to the parts and maintenance standards, I saw their eyes open and they were really interested in the overlapping of accountability that actually occurs."

After the exchange of ideas, the RMN officers were given a tour of the ship and its repair spaces. Jamal said he enjoyed the tour and was impressed with the ship.

"People say seeing is believing; so now we believe it," said Jamal. "Maybe next time, I will be able to bring more of my sailors in for the QA seminar and to see the ship."

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 and is currently on a scheduled underway period.

For more information abot Frank Cable, visit, or

NNS140416-12. Center for Service Support Raises Funds, Awareness for Sailors and Families

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist (AW/SW) Shawn D. Graham, Center for Service Support Public Affairs

NEWPORT, R.I. (NNS) -- Naval Station Newport (NWPT) Navy Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) along with Center for Service Support (CSS) is in the middle of its fundraising season as of April 16, while attempting to raise awareness of Sailors and Marines that they have financial services available to them.

With just under a month left to raise funds, CSS's NMCRS representative is planning more events which will give the Greater Newport community an opportunity to pledge money to NMCRS.

"The Newport NMCRS team dedicates a lot of time helping our fellow Sailors," said Chief Personnel Specialist (SW/AW) Roger Drumheller, CSS's NMCRS representative. "Every member of our team has a sincere desire to give back and make sure everyone has access to assistance. NMCRS is a great charity, and it operates off of non-appropriated funds. All of our funding comes from other Sailors, Marines and civilians who donate their money."

The annual fund drive supports financial, educational, and other support for active duty and retired Sailors, Marines along with their eligible family members in times of need. Although sponsored by the Department of the Navy (DoN), the Society is a private, non-profit organization whose programs and services are totally funded by charitable donations.

"Our goal is 100 percent contact with each Sailor throughout our training domain by April 30 and to meet or exceed last year's donations," said Drumheller. "Everyone experiences unforeseen personal troubles periodically in their careers and may require emergency aid."

Drumheller said he did not understand NMCRS's dramatic impact on Sailors and Marines, however, now that he is a command coordinator, he said he understands the benefit of the program to eligible participants and to Navy families.

"Sailors and Marines should come see us before they go see any external lender," said Drumheller. "We're here for Sailors, Marines and their families. NMCRS offers interest-free loans, whereas lending companies and banks are there to make a steep profit, sometimes with a 100 to 200 percent interest rate."

In 2013, NMCRS processed more than 84,000 cases on behalf of more than 65,000 individual clients worldwide, disbursing nearly $49 million in financial assistance. The NMCRS Newport office assisted more than 100 clients with nearly $83,000 in interest-free loans and grants in 2013. Assistance ranged from basic living expenses such as food and housing, to emergency transportation and car repairs, medical and dental treatment, funeral expenses and commanding officer-verified pay problems.

Drumheller also said that NMCRS involvement does not negatively affect a Sailor or Marine's career and is a dynamic and useful tool for those seeking assistance.

"NMCRS provides Sailors and Marines with confidentiality," said Drumheller. "It is easier for a service member to open up, when the fear of reporting to their command is removed. We want to assist them but we also want to offer them assistance before their finances spiral out of control."

"NMCRS also offers budgeting services for a member before giving them money so that they won't find themselves in that situation again," said Drumheller. "We want our Sailors and Marines to use NMCRS's programs for more than loans."

CSS and its learning sites provide Sailors with the knowledge and skills needed to support the fleet's warfighting mission. More than 300 staff and faculty work hand-in-hand with the fleet and are dedicated to ensure training is current and well executed on behalf of 10,000 Sailors who graduate from CSS courses annually in the administration, logistics and media communities.

For more news from Center for Service Support, visit

NNS140416-09. Navy Voluntary Education Seeks Current/Former Sailors' Success Stories

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

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- The birthday of Navy Voluntary Education (VOLED) is May 14, and the Center for Personal and Professional Development (CPPD) is asking in advance for Sailors' help in celebrating 40 years of their educational successes.

"We are looking for current and former Sailors to share their successes as a result of using Navy VOLED programs," said CPPD Commanding Officer Capt. John Newcomer. "Throughout my career, I've seen many, many Sailors achieve incredible things as a result of VOLED programs. We want to give Sailors a chance to share those successes and also inspire other Sailors to achieve their own educational goals."

VOLED programs include Tuition Assistance, Navy College Program for Afloat College Education (NCPACE), and United Services Military Apprenticeship Program (USMAP).

Through the month of May, submitted photos and stories will be posted on CPPD's Facebook and Twitter pages, along with the hashtags #NavyVOLED #My5Words.

Former and current Sailors who agree to their photo being used in social media for this celebration should follow these directions:

1) Decide what five words state how your participation in Navy Voluntary Education has helped you succeed.
2) Write those five words clearly on a piece of paper (at least 8" x 10" in size).
3) Take a photo of you holding the sign with your five words. (Your face and sign must be in focus with no CACs/badges/classified or sensitive information showing. Please consider if a particular background setting in the photo can help tell your success story - ship or sub bridge, operational/expeditionary setting, aircraft/flight deck, a flight line, pierside, operating room, etc.)
4) Email it to by May 30 along with the following information, which is helpful, but not mandatory:
Former/current rating:
# of years in the Navy:
Degree / USMAP certificate achieved: (AA, MS in Ed., PhD in ...)
Current job title:
Any other information you'd like to include:

May 1 through 31, CPPD will post photos, along with each person's name, rank and/or what they accomplished and the hashtags #NavyVOLED #My5Words.

"We'll also be inviting Sailors to share their own five words of success in their personal social media accounts in May using the #NavyVOLED #My5Words hashtags in their posts," said Newcomer. "We're looking forward to everyone joining in our Navywide celebration. I'm already thinking about my own five words."

For questions about the VOLED celebration, contact CPPD at or 757-492-5642 (DSN 492).

For more information about the Center for Personal and Professional Development (CPPD), visit and

For more information on the Navy College Program, visit

Find CPPD on Facebook at and on Twitter.

NNS140415-31. MCPON Visits USS Chafee, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam

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

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Mike Stevens visited Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam during a two-week fleet enhancement trip to the Pacific region April 14.

While in Pearl Harbor, Stevens visited the guided missile destroyer USS Chafee (DDG 90) where he was given a guided tour that included the ship's Combat Information Center and the Central Control Station as well as a briefing in the Chiefs Mess.

"It was a real pleasure to host the MCPON onboard the Chafee. I had a great sit-down with him and discussed items such as manning and port support. He also gave me a good perspective on what they are talking about in Washington that affects Sailors," said Cmdr. Anthony Littman, USS Chafee's commanding officer. "It was just an honor because our Sailors work really hard and it's good to know that they are getting the attention they deserve from the Navy leadership."

While onboard the Chafee, Stevens took the time to speak with junior enlisted Sailors.

"The visit from the MCPON was a really great experience. I know my shipmates and I appreciated it a lot, it was a lot of fun," said Gas Turbine System (Mechanical) 3rd Class Brandi Brader. "I think it makes the junior Sailors feel really good when someone from higher in the chain asks them about their personal lives, not in depth, but enough to try and get to know them a little bit."

When asked about the importance of his visit to Pearl Harbor and any advice he had for Sailors looking to advance their career objectives, Stevens said Sailors are the main prority.

"Just like any place that I go in the Navy, it's important for me to get out and about to hear what is on the minds of Sailors and their families," said Stevens. "When I get back to Washington D.C. and I offer my advice and recommendations to those things that are going to better help our Navy, I am doing so with what Sailors have told me and what families have told me."

MCPON reflected on his role of being a link between the Sailors and fleet, policy makers and lawmakers.

"My message has been consistent with regards to this and I call it 'The Foundation to Success.' No matter who you are, what rank you are, or what job you hold in the Navy, I say work hard, stay out of trouble, and be a good and decent person. That's what I call the 'Foundation of Success'.

During an all-hands call with Sailors on Joint Base, Stevens discussed budget changes, Navy-wide moral and received feedback from Sailors through a question and answer session.

The MCPON serves as the senior enlisted leader of the Navy and as the advisor to the chief of naval Operations and to the chief of naval personnel in matters dealing with enlisted personnel and their families.

NNS011216-16. This Day in Naval History - April 16

From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

1942 - USS Tambor (SS 198) sinks Japanese stores ship Kitami Maru 50 miles SW of Kavieng, New Ireland.

1944 - USS Gandy (DE 764) intentionally rams German submarine U 550 off Nantucket Shoals in Atlantic Ocean. USS Joyce (DE 317) and USS Peterson (DE 152) join Gandy and deploy depth charges and gunfire to sink the submarine.

1944 - USS Wisconsin (BB 64) is commissioned and joins the Pacific Fleet, providing gunfire support for the Battle for Iwo Jima and the Okinawa Campaign.

1945 - After three days of US naval and aerial bombardment and Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) beach reconnaissance during the Okinawa Campaign, the 77th Army Division lands on Ie Shima. Kamikaza attacks take their toll on Navy ships, sinking USS Pringle (DD-477) and damaging 10 other ships.

1947 - Congress passes Army-Navy Nurses Act, giving Navy Nurse Corps members commissioned rank.

1959 - Helicopters from USS Edisto (AGB-2) begin rescue operations in Montevideo, Uruguay. By April 26, they carried 277 flood victims to safety.

NNS140417-03. UPDATE: Bonhomme Richard Assists in Korean Search and Rescue Efforts

From Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea Public Affairs

SEOUL, Republic of Korea (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) is engaged in search and rescue operations, April 17, near the site of Korean passenger ship Sewol that sank near the island of Jindo off the southwestern coast of the Republic of Korea.

The Bonhomme Richard has been assigned a search area five to 15 nautical miles from the shipwreck site. Two MH-60 Seahawk helicopters from the ship are conducting search and rescue operations within the assigned search area.

Additionally, the U.S. and Republic of Korea navies will exchange liaison officers to facilitate communications for the search operations.

"Our partners in the Republic of Korea coast guard and navy have the lead during this operation and the South Korean responders have been very efficient with their efforts," said Capt. Joey "JT" Tynch, commanding officer of Bonhomme Richard. "We remain ready to offer whatever help is required. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the passengers and crew of Sewol and their families."

The Korean passenger ship Sewol had more than 450 people embarked and was traveling from Incheon, South Korea to Jeju island at the time of the incident on the morning of April 16. Bonhomme Richard was on a routine patrol in international waters west of the Korean peninsula at the time of the incident.

"When we were alerted to the accident, we immediately diverted to the scene to render assistance," said Capt. Heidi C. Agle, commodore of U.S. Amphibious Squadron 11. "However, the efficiency of the Korean response eclipsed the immediate need for our assets. We will provide support as requested by the Korean on-scene commander."

Bonhomme Richard is forward-deployed to Sasebo, Japan as part of the U.S. 7th Fleet. With its embarked Marine Expeditionary Unit, Bonhomme Richard is capable of both combat and humanitarian operations. The ship's primary mission is to embark, deploy and land elements of a Marine Landing Force in amphibious assault operations by helicopter, landing craft, amphibious vehicle or any combination of these methods.

Bonhomme Richard is also equipped with MV-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft, MH-60 Seahawk helicopters, CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters and small boats with the capability of conducting search and rescue operations. The U.S. 7th Fleet will continue to provide assistance to the search and rescue operation as requested by Republic of Korea rescue authorities.

For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea, visit

NNS140417-04. Taking Care of Sailors' Careers

From Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs

MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- Command career counselors and command career development teams are required to conduct quality Career Development Boards (CDB) to include properly documenting them in the Career Information Management System (CIMS), Navy leadership said April 17.

The command master chief, chief of the boat, senior enlisted leader and the command career counselor team are critical focal points for career development initiatives within the command to include properly conducting CDBs.

"Career Development Boards don't just benefit the Sailor and the command's mission, but also the leadership," said Master Chief Navy Counselor (SW/SCW/AW) Jake Brady, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) command career counselor. "CDBs help the chain of command learn more about the Sailor, what motivates them, their family needs, goals in life, and it shows the Sailors we truly do care about them."

CDBs are required within 30 days of reporting, at 12 months on board, and every 12 months thereafter. CDBs may also be conducted for other reasons such as Career Waypoint decisions, requesting special programs, commissioning programs, advancement, high-year tenure, or by request of the Sailor.

"Every career counselor in the Navy should be pushing their career development teams to be using the Individual Career Development Plan (ICDP) from CIMS," said Brady. "The next time the Sailor has a CDB, the leadership can then review past goals, gauge the Sailor's progression, and counsel accordingly."

Many tools are available to career counselors to assist with the use, function and support of CIMS. The "5-Tip Series" of user aids cover a variety of helpful information to use CIMS effectively. Additional reference guides, tutorials, "How Tos," and instructions are available at under the Career Info/Career Counseling tab. Additional information can be found in the Navy Retention & Career Development Program (OPNAVINST 1040.11D) and the Career Counselor Handbook (NAVPERS 15878K).

For more news from Navy Personnel Command, visit

NNS140417-01. USS Howard Concludes Visit to Manila

By Ensign Mary Sanford, USS Howard Public Affairs

MANILA, Republic of Philippines (NNS) -- Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Howard (DDG 83) completed its visit to Manila April 11-14 while on their Western Pacific deployment.

During their port visit Howard crew members interacted with the Manila community through visits to the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Hospicio de San Jose, and historical sites.

The crew paid their respects to the memory of the lives of US military lost during World War II at a wreath laying ceremony at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial April 12.

The cemetery visit included a guided tour of the memorial and surrounding grounds. Following the tour, Cmdr. David G. Zook, Howard's commanding officer, laid a wreath and offered a prayer to honor the lives of the military members who died during World War II.

"It's humbling to walk the grounds and passages of this memorial that saves as a reminder of the service, sacrifice, and the true price of freedom," said Zook.

The Manila American Cemetery and Memorial contains the largest number of graves of service members who fought during World War II, a total of 17,201, most of whom lost their lives in operations in New Guinea and the Philippines.

Howard Sailors also participated in a community service project at Hospicio de San Jose, the oldest Catholic welfare institution in the Philippines, April 13.

Hospicio de San Jose is a haven for people of all ages in need. Orphans, poor, mentally ill, and elderly are all cared for by the 'Daughters of Charity' and a staff of dedicated social workers, caregivers and personnel.

The visit provided an opportunity for a tour of the facility, interactive engagement with the school children, and a chance to provide donations of medical and hygiene supplies provided by Project Handclasp. Howard also donated balls, frisbees, and board games to the children.

"We are grateful for the resources that the generous donors and Project Handclasp provided," said Zook. "We appreciate the opportunity to work with the wonderful staff of Hospicio de Jose and share in some fun, laughter, and smiles."

Crew members interacted with children inside and outside through playground games of football, soccer, and tag. The infectious smiles of the children reflected the significant impact an afternoon of fun could provide.

"At one point a pre-school girl gave me a giant hug to show how happy she was to spend time with us," said Lt. j.g. Joshua Hinshaw of Howard. "Overall I think it was a successful trip that will be remembered fondly by all."

Through these cultural interactions Howard Sailors were afforded the opportunity to experience the Filipino culture, lend a helping hand, and remember the history that has closely bounded the United States and the Philippines together.

Howard, homeported in San Diego, is currently deployed to the 7th Fleet area of operations supporting security and security in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

For more news from Commander Task Force 70, visit

NNS140417-05. USNS Spearhead Delivers Project Handclasp Material in Nigeria

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jeff Atherton, USNS Spearhead Public Affairs

LAGOS, Nigeria (NNS) -- Sailors and civil service mariners aboard joint, high-speed vessel USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1) delivered 46 pallets of humanitarian items donated by private companies to nongovernmental organizations as part of Project Handclasp in Lagos, Nigeria, April 15.

Project Handclasp is a U.S. Navy program that accepts and transports educational, humanitarian and goodwill material donated by the U.S.-private sector on a space-available basis aboard U.S. Navy ships. The donations are distributed to foreign nation recipients.

"This is a great feeling," said Jimmy Alli, a representative of one of the Nigerian recipient organizations. "I can't actually put into words what this means to the people who are going to benefit from the aid delivered today."

The donation, which has an estimated worth of about $2.6 million, includes more than 30,000 pounds of personal mobility handcarts, wheelchairs and medical supplies for local charities.

"It's an honor to have the opportunity to deliver all of these items to Nigeria," said Lt. Cmdr. Emma Mathis, Spearhead's military department supply officer. "I know that what we are doing is important, and I am thrilled that we get to give a tremendous amount of help to the people in this country."

Donations were offloaded from the ship and received by representatives from nongovernmental organizations including Personal Energy Transport (PET) International, Hope Haven International and AERObridge International at a port facility in Lagos where Spearhead was berthed for a port visit. PET International is a private charity that constructs and distributes personal mobility carts to organizations that help people with disabilities. Hope Haven will distribute a supply of wheelchairs, and AERObridge will distribute medical supplies to various relief organizations.

"We have always known that the United States has been there in one way or another, ready to give a helping hand," said Alli. "To have this massive ship come to Nigeria to deliver these essential items really shows that America is committed to helping around the world."

Spearhead was in Lagos prior to participating in Exercise Obangame Express, a Gulf of Guinea-based multinational maritime exercise designed to improve cooperation, interdiction expertise and information sharing among West and Central African maritime forces in order to increase maritime safety and security in the region.

Spearhead departed Norfolk, Va., in January for the ship's maiden deployment, and is scheduled to work with and visit more than 20 partner nations and travel more than 15,000 miles.

For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, visit

NNS140417-02. USS Lake Erie Sailors Give Back

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Mackenzie P. Adams, USS Lake Erie Public Affairs

OSAKA, Japan (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) participated in a community service (COMSERV) project at Holy Family Home April 14.

The COMSERV was designed to allow Sailors to interact with members of the local community while providing assistance to the residents and managers of Holy Family Home.

"It always feels good to help out people in need and it feels really great to be able to provide the children of the home with some great memories of Sailors helping out and having fun," said Fire Controlman 3rd Class Michael Figaro. "I had a great time today and I hope to participate in more events like this in the future."

Once the work was done Sailors and the children of the home played games in the courtyard of the home.

"Today was a phenomenal experience," said Ensign John Jackson. "It was so great to see the smiles on the kid's faces and to give back to the people of Osaka."

Lake Erie is currently on patrol in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

For more news from Commander Task Force 70, visit

NNS140416-27. USS Makin Island Chaplain Travels to USS Comstock

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Robin W. Peak, USS Makin Island (LHD 8) Public Affairs

USS MAKIN ISLAND, At Sea (NNS) -- An MV-22 Osprey with engines roaring waits on the flight deck for its next mission. Fueled up and pilots on station, only one more passenger needs to board: Lt. Robert J. Chapa, Roman Catholic chaplain assigned to USS Makin Island (LHD 8).

Transported by "Holy Helo," a term used for helicopters transporting chaplains, Chapa, from Robstown, Texas, landed on the deck of USS Comstock (LSD 45) Sunday to provide Roman Catholic Sailors and Marines aboard the opportunity to attend Palm Sunday Mass.

Comstock does not have a Roman Catholic priest assigned to its chaplain department.

"One of our jobs as chaplains is to facilitate so that everybody has the opportunity to worship their specific faith," said Cmdr. Timothy Moore, from Easley, S.C., command chaplain aboard Makin Island.

There are two chaplains on Comstock, two on USS San Diego (LPD 22), and Makin Island has four. Lt. Chapa is the only Roman Catholic priest in the entire ARG.

"There are only 48 Roman Catholic priests currently serving as active duty chaplains in the Navy, so we're spread out thin," said Chapa. "That's why it's important that I go out to other ships to provide that service."

Upon arrival on Comstock, Chapa and his assistant, Religious Programs Specialist 2nd Class Paul M. Ludlam, from Dearborn, Mich., wasted no time preparing the chapel on board for service.

Moore also said that moving forward into deployment, he would like to get Chapa out to each of the ships in the ARG at least once a month to minister and perform services.

"He's an excellent priest," said Moore. "I am very pleased with Father Chapa's willingness to be able to do exactly what our mission is as chaplains. He's called to serve and is willing to serve. It's important for everybody to have an opportunity to worship."

The service lasted roughly 45 minutes and was given to approximately 20 Sailors and Marines collectively aboard Comstock.

Sailors aboard Comstock expressed their gratitude for Chapa's visit.

"Father Chapa's mass was very refreshing," said Ship's Serviceman 3rd Class Albert Raymond Bruan, from West Orange, N.J. "It is important to strengthen faith especially in trying times like training cycles and deployment."

Lt. Byron T. Johnson, Chaplain aboard Comstock expressed his appreciation for the service.

"Our ship really appreciated Chaplain Chapa's visit," said Johnson. "We have many Catholics aboard and it is a blessing to have a priest willing to fly in to provide the religious needs of our service men and women."

At 1 p.m. the following day, Lt. Chapa once again boarded a "Holy Helo" and left Comstock to return to Makin Island.

"I enjoyed going out to the ships. The Sailors were very welcoming," said Chapa. "It was all good."

Makin Island ARG is in the Amphibious Squadron Marine Expeditionary Unit Integration Training (PMINT) phase in preparation for its upcoming deployment.

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

NNS140416-25. USS Makin Island ARG Medical Team Participates in Pre-Deployment Trauma Training Course

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (AW) Lawrence Davis, USS Makin Island (LHD 8) Public Affairs

USS MAKIN ISLAND, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Makin Island's (LHD 8) medical department, Fleet Surgical Team 5 (FST-5) and medical elements from 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) participated in a six-day pre-deployment trauma training course, April 9-14.

The course, which is accredited by Naval Medical Center San Diego, incorporated 20 hours of lectures and six simulation exercises with eight complex multi-injured trauma patient scenarios.

"Some of the training rehashes individual training done previously, but there are several new concepts introduced including team resuscitation," said course director Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Kang, general surgeon, Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton.

Navy and Marine Corpsmen assessed various simulated injuries including amputations from improvised explosive devices, gun shot wounds, drowning, hypothermia, and spinal and pelvic fractures.

"We work better cohesively because of the training, which allowed us to experience common injuries that may occur and familiarized us with our definitive roles as corpsmen, technicians and healthcare providers," said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Thai Dinh, a respiratory therapist assigned to FST-5.

The course also covered other trauma-based scenarios such as injuries to the head, facial and abdominal extremities and the process of trauma assessment and intervention in a systematic way.

Kang explained that pre-deployment trauma training is currently only available on the "green side," so this integrated training course remedies that for the Navy.

"It's a very informative course," said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Andrea Hahn, of Makin Island's medical department. "The concepts go far beyond the basics of medical corpsman training and it helps to prepare the medical team for possible casualties that could require trauma care."

Hahn trained as part of the resuscitation team, led by Makin Island's Senior Medical Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Baldwin. The team simulated multiple elements of resuscitation including hemorrhage control, airway management and surgical intervention.

"It's the mission of the medical staff on our ship," said Baldwin. "The key to saving lives lies in our ability to receive casualties from our amphibious assault mission and work seamlessly as a team."

According to Kang, the USS Boxer (LHD 4) Amphibious Ready Group's medical staff was the first shipboard medical team certified in the course back in 2013. Since then, the course has been picked up by the U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery and the Navy Surgeon General as a proof of concept initiative.

"We're hoping the future direction of the course is that this becomes a requirement for all shipboard medical departments prior to deploying," said Kang.

At the conclusion of the training course, Baldwin spoke about the overall success of the training aboard Makin Island.

"I'm extremely proud of my blue side and green side corpsmen and how they've come together as a team over the course of this training evolution," said Baldwin. "I look forward to a very exciting and successful deployment to come."

Makin Island is in the Amphibious Squadron Marine Expeditionary Unit Integration Training (PMINT) phase in preparation for it upcoming deployment.

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

NNS140416-23. Keel Laid for Future USS Gabrielle Giffords

From Program Executive Office Littoral Combat Ships

MOBILE, Ala. (NNS) -- The Navy and Austal USA held a keel-laying ceremony for the future USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10), the Navy's 10th littoral combat ship (LCS), in Mobile, Ala., April 16.

The keel-laying ceremony recognizes the first joining together of a ship's components. While modern shipbuilding processes allow fabrication of individual modules to begin months earlier, the laying of the keel represents the formal beginning of a ship.

The ship's sponsor, Roxanna Green, was unable to attend the ceremony. The ship's namesake, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, authenticated the keel by having her initials welded into a sheet of the ship's hull.

"It is a special day for all of us on the Gulf Coast to have the ship's namesake, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, here with us for the keel laying ceremony of LCS 10, the future USS Gabrielle Giffords," said Capt. Joseph Tuite, Supervisor of Shipbuilding (SUPSHIP) Gulf Coast.

LCS is a new class of U.S. Navy warship, capable of open-ocean operation, but optimized for littoral, or coastal, missions. LCS 10 is one of five Independence-variant LCS currently under construction at Austal USA. The ship is expected to deliver to the fleet in 2017.

"This is an important milestone for the Navy. I look forward to closely following the completion of the future USS Gabrielle Giffords, as well as her sister ships, as we bring this tremendous capability to the fleet," said Rear Adm. Brian Antonio, program executive officer, Littoral Combat Ships.

The future USS Gabrielle Giffords will be approximately 420 feet in length, have a waterline beam of about 103 feet, displace approximately 3,000 tons, and make speed in excess of 40 knots. The construction will be led by Austal Shipbuilding in Mobile, Ala. This is the 16th ship to be named for a woman and the 13th ship to be named for a living person since 1850.

Program Executive Office LCS is responsible for delivering and sustaining credible littoral mission capabilities to the fleet and is working with industry to achieve steady production to increase production efficiencies and leverage cost savings. Delivering high-quality warfighting assets while balancing affordability and capability is key to supporting the nation's maritime strategy.

For more news from Naval Sea Systems Command, visit

NNS140417-08. Naval Hospital Bremerton E-Prescribing Initiative benefits Providers and Patients

By Douglas H. Stutz, Naval Hospital Bremerton Public Affairs

BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- The old yarn about trying to decipher a doctor's scribbled shorthand note for a prescription is coming to an end with a new electronic prescription initiative implemented at Naval Hospital Bremerton (NHB).

NHB is the first military treatment facility in the Department of Defense (DoD) to use the electronic prescription initiative, or e-prescribing. This capability allows civilian prescribers to electronically forward their prescription request(s) on behalf of their patient to NHB's Pharmacy to fill instead of utilizing a handwritten paper script.

After NHB Pharmacy leadership briefed more than a dozen medical business managers back in January 2014 on the initiative, the command went live for e-prescribing March 14.

The first e-prescription (eRX) was received March 20 at 9:55 a.m. Currently over 50 local civilian prescribers are participating in sending their patient's prescription electronically to the NHB pharmacy.

"This capability allows civilian providers to securely send their prescription and associated instructions electronically to Naval Hospital Bremerton for any of our NHB beneficiaries. We're the first site to roll out the function but eventually all Department of Defense military treatment facilities will have access to this capability," said Lt. Cmdr. Eric Parsons, NHB Pharmacy Department head.

According to Parsons, the electronic prescription initiative is part of a Congressional mandate that centers on 'meaningful use' of the Electronic Healthcare Record (EHR) system.

"This initiative helps civilian healthcare providers meet that standard by using the EHR for what's it's designed to do which is eliminate paperwork and electronically connect a provider with a pharmacy such as ours," said Parsons, citing that if all hardcopy prescriptions were to be sent electronically, based on the past 365 days, that would be 47,375 prescriptions annually.

"We were so happy to find out that NHB was doing this. We love it. This is much more convenient for patients and much more cost efficient for providers," said Ms Laurie Kehler, Clinic supervisor at Harrison Medical Center, Bremerton, Wash.

Prior to implementation of the e-prescribing capability, if a beneficiary went to see a doctor outside of NHB and as part of the overall treatment had to pick up medication(s), the provider would have to hand write the prescription for the patient to fill at the NHB Pharmacy.

"Receiving the prescription electronically helps to clarify the dosage, quantity, and actual medication, increasing patient safety. It also prevents the potential for losing a written prescription," stated Parsons, adding that once a script has been sent to NHB's Pharmacy, it can 'sit' for up to a year before being filled once the patient actually shows up to request the medication.

Parsons also attests that once the initial electronic prescription has been sent, received and filled by NHB, future refills remaining on the prescription can then be simply phoned in by the beneficiary and picked up at the drive-through option if so desired.

"Ideally we want all hard-copy requests for any prescription to go electronic," Parsons said, noting that local doctor offices are excited to use the service due to it being much simpler, safer and more streamlined.

However, the system is currently no set up to handle any controlled substances such as Percocet or Vicodin. All controlled substances must be hand written prescription as in the current process.

Parsons attests that this is not only a secure method for transferring prescription data which means better accuracy, increased patient safety and less prescriptions lost or misplaced, but as the pharmacy staff get used to processing the eRXs, the familiarity will translate into more timely processing of the prescription than the old method of transcribing a written script.

Cmdr. David Hardy, NHB Clinical Support Services director, was on the TriService design and implementation team that determined NHB would be the perfect location to test the initiative.

"NHB is the ideal site to be the inaugural site due to our outstanding staff's can-do attitude and their willingness to contribute to a successful effort. We are not only testing the software for issues, we are also forging the way the new software is operationalized and integrated into our daily workflow," explained Hardy, adding that lessons learned here will be rolled throughout the DoD healthcare enterprise.

The design team has developed implementation and user guides with NHB staff contributing significantly to refinement of those documents, such as Parsons developing a comprehensive set of training slides which he will begin teaching to all of DoD Pharmacy in June.

The design team has been comprised of the DoD PITAC (Pharmacy Information Technology Advisory Council) that consists of pharmacy information technology subject matter experts from Navy, Army, Air Force and Defense Health Agency, the Composite Health Care System (CHCS) Program Office, and Leidos (the contractor that maintains CHCS).

The electronic prescribing address for NHB's e-pharmacy is
DoD Bremerton ePhcy,
1 Boone RD Code 08RAZD,
Bremerton WA, 98312,
Phone: 360-475-4425,
Fax: 360-475-4786.

For more news from Naval Hospital Bremerton, visit

NNS140416-19. Submarine Group 7 Hosts STEM Program

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Paul Kelly, Commander, Submarine Group 7 Public Affairs

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to Submarine Group 7 (SUBGRU 7) hosted students from Yokosuka Middle School's science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) program, April 3.

The STEM program has educated more than 30,000 students since 2002, and has helped to bolster interest and potential career paths in the various fields that make up the program's acronym.

An opportunity for students to enter a command with high importance and high security like SUBGRU 7 is rare, and the potential impact for the future generation can be huge.

"STEM offers our students an opportunity to see science and technology in the 'real world,'" said Dale Duncan, STEM coordinator for Yokosuka Middle School. "This is important because it shows how their school curriculum is preparing them for their future careers, while maybe planting a few ideas about careers they never considered."

This event supports the Department of the Navy's STEM roadmap built around five priorities: inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers; engage students and build their STEM confidence and skills through hands-on learning activities that incorporate Naval-related content; educate students to be well prepared for employment in STEM careers that support the Navy and Marine Corps; employ, retain and develop Naval Stem professionals; and collaborate on STEM efforts across the Department of the Navy, the federal government and best practice organizations.

"We are trying to get the kids out of their comfort zone and show them how science, technology, engineering and math apply in real life situations," said Laura Batista, a Spanish teacher at Yokosuka Middle School. "I'm sure the kids can relate to this, and they will bring a lot back to the classroom."

During their time at SUBGRU 7 the students toured three different spaces in the building learning about communications, nuclear reactors, life on a sub, and how a torpedo works.

"I definitely think the program has value," said Daniel Limmer, a social studies teacher at Yokosuka Middle School. "The kids show a lot of interest in the activities that happen on base that they don't normally get to see. I think they have gained an interest in furthering their academics that may lead them to one of these positions or jobs in the future."

The submarines attached to SUBGRU 7 safely and securely conduct persistent undersea warfare and anti-submarine warfare operations in the 5th and 7th Fleet Areas of Responsibility covering nearly half of the Earth's surface.

Coordinating a diverse fleet of submarines, surface ships and aircraft, CTF-74 and CTF-54 provide theater anti-submarine warfare support from the Red Sea to the International Date Line.

For more news from Commander Submarine Group 7, visit

NNS011216-17. This Day in Naval History - April 17

From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

1778 - The sloop-of-war Ranger, commanded by John Paul Jones, captures British ship, Lord Chatham, in St. George's Channel, during the American Revolution.

1808 - Napoleon Bonaparte issued the Bayonne Decree, which authorized the French seizure of all United States ships entering all ports of the Hanseatic League. Napoleon argued the decree would help the United States enforce the Embargo Act signed by President Thomas Jefferson in December 1807.

1918 - USS Stewart (DD-13) is on escort duty in Quiberon Bay, France when nearby the American steamship Florence H suffers an internal explosion. Ship's Cook Third Class Jessie W. Covington and Quartermaster Frank M. Upton dive overboard to save an exhausted survivor surrounded by exploding power boxes. For their actions, both sailors received the Medal of Honor.

1942 - USS Searaven (SS 196) begins rescue of stranded Australian sailors, airmen, and soldiers from Japanese-occupied Timor, N.E.I.

1944 - Minesweeper USS Swift (AM 122) and patrol craft USS PC 619 sink the German submarine, U 986, in the North Atlantic.

NNS140418-19. Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group Returns Home

From USS Harry S. Truman Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- Approximately 6,000 Sailors and Marines assigned to the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HST CSG) arrived at their homeports in Norfolk and Mayport, Fla., April 18, following a nine-month deployment to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation.

While deployed, HST CSG conducted a full range of operations ranging from maritime security operations and multinational exercises, to providing air support for Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

HST CSG also conducted integrated operations with the French navy's Charles de Gaulle Strike Group over a five-week period in the Gulf of Oman, Arabian Sea, and Arabian Gulf.

"I cannot overstate how proud I am of our young Sailors and Marines in the Truman Carrier Strike Group," said Rear Adm. Kevin Sweeney, commander, HST CSG. "They performed magnificently during some very challenging times overseas. We were deployed for nine months, including seven and a half months straight supporting operations in the Middle East region with a focus on building trust and confidence with our regional partners. Across the spectrum of operations at sea and in the air over Afghanistan, our crews executed with precision and professionalism, and when called upon, with great lethality."

During this deployment, originally scheduled for February 2013 but delayed just prior to the strike group's scheduled departure, ships assigned to HST CSG conducted 44 Strait of Hormuz transits and two Suez Canal transits.

Squadrons assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3 flew 2,902 combat sorties totaling more than 16,450 hours in support of OEF from Aug. 27, 2013 to March 19, 2014.

"Team Battle Axe was on point, every day, on every mission," said Capt. George Wikoff, commander, CVW-3. "Everyone remained focused on mission accomplishment, from the aircrew in the cockpits to the maintainers keeping the aircraft flying, determined to keep our coalition troops safe on the ground in Afghanistan."

He credited teamwork as the driving force behind the air wing's success.

"Everything we did as an air wing, we did as a team," said Wikoff. "If it wasn't for Team Truman keeping the flight deck ready to launch and recover our aircraft, we wouldn't have been able to provide support to our coalition forces."

Capt. Bob Roth, commanding officer, USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), praised his crew for their dedication, professionalism, and like Capt. Wikoff, his command's ability to work as a team.

"Nine months at sea as a forward-deployed combat team is an immense undertaking," he said. "The days were long and the work was challenging, but Team Truman never missed a beat and we met every challenge. The professionalism and dedication of our Sailors is unmatched. The teamwork between the ship and air wing was spectacular and a model for how it should be done. I couldn't be more proud to be a part of this combat-proven team."

Sweeney expressed his sincere gratitude for the support HST CSG family members and friends extended to the strike group.

"I must thank our family members and friends for their resiliency and enduring support throughout our deployment," he said. "Without their support each and every day, none of our success would have been possible."

HST CSG consists of approximately 6,000 Sailors and Marines. Deployed units included Commander, Carrier Strike Group (CCSG) 10 staff; CVW-3; 1st Combined Destroyer Squadron staff comprised of U.S. and Royal Navy personnel; aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75); guided-missile destroyers USS Bulkeley (DDG 84) and USS Mason (DDG 87); guided-missile cruisers USS Gettysburg (CG 64) and USS San Jacinto (CG 56); and fast combat support ship USNS Arctic (T-AOE 8).

CVW-3 was embarked on board Harry S. Truman with its associated squadrons - Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 32 "Swordsmen," VFA-37 "Ragin' Bulls," and VFA-105 "Gunslingers;" Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 312 "Checkerboards;" Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 126 "Seahawks;" Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 130 "Zappers;" Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 7 "Dusty Dogs;" and Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 74 "Swamp Foxes."

CVW-3, VFA-32, VFA-37, VFA-105, returned to Naval Air Station Oceana; VAW-126 and HSC-7 returned to Naval Station Norfolk; HSM-74 returned to NAS Jacksonville and VFMA-312 returned to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C.; and VAQ-130 returned to NAS Whidbey Island April 17.

NNS140418-05. USS Mason Returns from Deployment

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Rob Aylward, USS Mason Public Affairs

USS MASON, At Sea (NNS) -- Guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87) returns Norfolk, Va. from a nine-month deployment to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility (AOR), April 18.

"This deployment was the culmination of nearly 30 weeks of training, preparation and assessments," said Cmdr. Mikal Phillips, Mason's commanding officer. "This crew was extremely well prepared mentally, physically, and emotionally for the entire range of operations they faced."

The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer deployed July 22, 2013, primarily serving as part of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (CSG) in support of combined task forces (CTF) 55, 150, and 151. Mason also briefly joined the Nimitz CSG earlier in deployment, supporting CTF 58 operations in the Red Sea.

"Regardless of location, strike group or task force, Mason has met every challenge with tenacity and professionalism," said Master Chief Eric Hovik, Mason's command master chief. "I feel very fortunate to be part of the Mason family."

Embarked Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 74, Detachment 3, flew missions almost daily utilizing two MH-60R Seahawk helicopters. The squadron completed more than 1,200 flight hours, 400 sorties and two bilateral helicopter cross decks in support of maritime security operations.

"The integration of the MH-60R is a complete force multiplier," said Phillips. "The capability and proficiency the pilots and their aircraft bring to anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, command and control, search and rescue, military lift and even medical missions, is astonishing."

Notable events for Mason included a counter-piracy exercise with elements of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (Navy) in the Gulf of Aden last fall. The combined events included visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS), live-fire proficiency and aviation operations with Chinese destroyer Harbin (DDG 112) and Chinese auxiliary ship Weishanhu (AO 887) to enhance bilateral interoperability between U.S. and Chinese naval assets in the 5th fleet AOR.

Mason's VBSS team also patrolled the AOR in rigid hull inflatable boats as part of maritime interdiction operations conducting approach and assist visits of fishing dhows to better understand fishing patterns and establish a working rapport with locals.

"We strived to improve relations with local mariners by keeping the waterways safe," said Lt. j.g. Jeffrey Fasoli, Mason's ordnance officer. "We not only offered assistance to local dhow masters, but positively influenced the deterrence of piracy, terrorism and both human and drug trafficking in the region."

Mason conducted port visits to Amsterdam, Netherlands; Aqaba, Jordan; Manama, Bahrain; Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates, and other international ports.

"Mason has executed each port visit with liberty and good conduct ashore as a mission focus," said Phillips. "From our vigilant watch-standing while in port to the superb and professional conduct displayed by our Sailors on liberty, Mason's crew has been an excellent ambassador for our Navy and our country."

For more news from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), visit

NNS140418-12. HSC-25 Rescues Missing Hikers

From Joint Region Marianas Public Affairs

ASAN, Guam (NNS) -- Sailors from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25 in partnership with government of Guam agencies rescued two hikers in the jungles of Yona, Guam April 17.

HSC-25 received a request from U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam April 16 at 10:16 p.m. for aerial support in search of the hikers, a mother and daughter, within the vicinity of Tarzan Falls.

A Navy MH-60S helicopter from HSC-25 arrived on the scene at 10:46 p.m. to begin search efforts.

At 8:50 a.m. April 17, a Navy MH-60S helicopter was launched from Andersen Air Force Base. The crew flew approximately 18 miles to the reported area, recovered the individuals and transported them to U.S. Naval Hospital Guam for treatment.

"The successful rescue today is a perfect example of the strong partnership between the Navy and government of Guam agencies" said Rear Adm. Tilghman Payne, commander, Joint Region Marianas. "The close coordination between homeland security, Guam Fire Department and HSC-25 played an integral part in finding the hikers and bringing about a happy ending for all."

The incident was the 11th search-and-rescue executed by HSC-25 personnel this year.

"HSC-25 continually trains our pilots and crews to handle any situation, any time day or night, whether on the water or on land," said HSC-25 Commanding Officer Cmdr. Gregory Leland. "This rescue is a direct result of the skills our crews develop during combat training for deployed missions in and around the region, and put to use saving lives right here on Guam."

HSC-25 is the Navy's only forward-deployed MH-60S expeditionary squadron. As a part of Helicopter Sea Combat Wing Pacific, it provides an armed helicopter capability for U.S. 7th Fleet in support of logistics, search and rescue and humanitarian assistance missions.

The command is also the only squadron that maintains a 24-hour search-and-rescue and medical evacuation alert posture, directly supporting the U.S. Coast Guard and Joint Region Marianas.

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

NNS140418-23. 2013 Shore SOY Announced

From Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The vice chief of naval operations (VCNO) announced the winner of the CNO Shore Activities Sailor of the Year (SOY) during a ceremony at the Pentagon, April 19.

Adm. Mark Ferguson announced Cryptologic Technician Collections 1st Class Patricia Madigan of Navy Information Operations Command Hawaii, as this year's winner.

Madigan received a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal at the ceremony and will be meritoriously advanced to chief petty officer (CPO) later this year.

Joining Madigan as finalists were Aviation Ordnanceman Anthony Artino, commander, Task Force 67, Sigonella, Sicily; Builder 1st Class Deanna Dimeo, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Five, Port Hueneme, Calif; Cryptologic Technician Collections James Lee, Jr., Center for Information Dominance Detachment, San Diego; and Master-at-Arms 1st Class Clinton Peterson, Commander Fleet Activities, Sasebo, Japan.

Each of the candidates received a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal from the VCNO during the ceremony.

"These Sailors exemplify our Navy core values," said Ferguson. "When we look into the faces of these nominees, we see a reflection of excellence."

Shortly after graduating from high school, Madigan reported to Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes for Basic Training. Upon completion, she reported to NTTC Corry Station for CTR "A" school. Her first tour of duty was NSGA Menwith Hill, in Harrogate England. Follow-on tours included NSGA Kunia, USS Normandy (CG 60), USS Porter (DDG 78), and Center for Information Dominance Learning Site San Diego.

Madigan said dedication and perspective are what has defined her career up to this point.

"Not every day is the best day, but every day is an incredible opportunity to serve," said Madigan. "It is a tremendous honor to represent my command. This is a great but also humbling experience. No one gets here alone."

"Congratulations to our nominees," said Ferguson. "We are a better Navy because you chose to serve."

Adm. Elmo Zumwalt initiated the Sailor of the Year program in 1972, to recognize the outstanding Atlantic and Pacific Fleet Sailors. The following year, the Shore Sailor of the Year program was introduced.

Each year, every Navy ship, station and command around the world chooses its Sailor of the Year based on leadership, professionalism dedication, and superior performance. These selectees compete against recipients from other commands competing at higher and higher echelons until the Navy's four finest are chosen and only one selected as the CNO Shore Activities SOY.

NNS140418-03. Daiki Maru Salvage Operations Continue Despite New Challenge

From Joint Region Marianas Public Affairs

APRA HARBOR, Guam (NNS) -- The unified command continues salvage operations of the grounded Japanese commercial fishing vessel Daiki Maru 7 in outer Apra Harbor April 18 despite a new challenge.

On the morning of April 17 the vessel's mooring lines attached to the on-site barge parted due to increasing ocean swells. Daiki Maru 7 drifted back toward shore along the same path it was removed and became wedged against the front of the rock it originally rested beside. Salvage teams have shifted their efforts and are using the vessel's new position to their advantage for swifter removal and demolition.

"Despite the change of sea and surf, the salvage team is able to adjust tactics and continue the safe removal of the vessel from the harbor," said U.S. Naval Base Guam Operations Officer Dennis Siler. "The unified command continues to work closely with the responsible party to ensure the vessel is properly demolished and minimizes impact to the area."

A contract salvage team is utilizing an on-site barge and crane to disassemble the vessel in preparation for transport to shore and proper disposal. All recoverable hazardous materials have been removed from the vessel, which ran aground Feb. 13.

Contract teams conduct cleanup operations regularly to ensure demolition debris from the vessel does not further impact the environment as salvage continues.

The unified command consists of representatives from Naval Base Guam, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam and the responsible party. Other agencies that have been involved in all aspects of planning from the standup include Joint Region Marianas operations department, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Marianas environmental personnel, NOAA, Guam Fish and Wildlife Service, Guam Environmental Protection Agency, Mammoet Salvage, Cabras Marine and Osroco.

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

NNS140418-16. Northwest FCPOAs Convene for Networking, Leadership

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Cory Asato, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West Det. Northwest

SILVERDALE, Wash. (NNS) -- The Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PSNS & IMF) First Class Petty Officer Association (FCPOA) hosted the 2014 Navy Region Northwest FCPOA Symposium, "Leaders Developing Leaders," at Bangor Plaza on Naval Base Kitsap, April 15-17.

The symposium served as a platform for first class petty officers from various commands to receive mentorship from senior leaders on topics such as selection board information, Fleet Reserve opportunities, and full time support.

"We wanted to open a forum for first class [petty officers] from all over the region to participate and receive guidance and mentorship from some of the best senior leadership the Navy has to offer," said Hull Maintenance Technician 1st Class Dominic Clifton, PSNS & IMF FCPOA president, from St. Louis. "This also allowed us to exchange advice to help improve our impact within our commands and the community."

Guest speaker Pacific Fleet Master Chief Marco Ramirez, a San Antonio, Texas native, emphasized the importance of communication and how it affects the role of a first class and their naval career.

"A Sailor should never find out what they're doing wrong from an evaluation," said Ramirez. "The responsibility falls on leadership to counsel and address deficiencies within that Sailor and for the Sailor to take charge and ask their supervisors periodically what they can improve upon.

"Communication is always a two-way street and I stress the importance for every Sailor to develop an appreciation and incorporate it into their professional and personal lives," said Ramirez.

Retired Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Rick West, a Poulsbo native, who served as 12th MCPON, was also a guest speaker during the symposium.

"I get many questions about achieving success in the Navy," said West. "I always need to stress that while diligence and hard work do earn dividends, luck and timing are also elements as well in regards to promotions and high visibility billets."

West also shared insight from his 31-year Navy career.

"What made my career successful to me is how I enjoyed my journey rather than where it ended, every one of you will end it by transitioning out of the Navy," said West.

The symposium disseminated vital information and inspiration to Pacific Northwest Sailors due to collaborative efforts within the area's FCPOAs and assistance from khaki leadership.

"Everyone who cooperated and participated in any manner available is who made this symposium such a success," said Clifton. "Not only did we network with each other and gain numerous careers worth of insight from some of the best, but we have more tools as first classes to engage our Sailors and our careers."

The three-day event was designed to benefit the most junior first class petty officer to those who are about to transition to the civilian work force.

NNS140418-14. Obangame Express 2014 Participants Conclude In-Port Familiarization Drills

By Lt. Amy Hession, Obangame Express Public Affairs

LAGOS, Nigeria (NNS) -- U.S., European, South American and African naval forces concluded two days of in-port familiarization drills at the Nigerian navy's Joint Maritime Security Training Center, April 17.

The evolutions were part of Obangame Express, a Gulf of Guinea-based multinational maritime exercise designed to improve cooperation, interdiction expertise and information sharing among West and Central African maritime forces in order to increase maritime safety and security in the region.

A variety of skill sets including visit, board, search and seizure, and medical response were tested in order to prepare personnel for three days of underway operations in the Gulf of Guinea that will include real-world, at sea scenarios mirroring counter-piracy and counter-illicit trafficking operations.

"Exposure to these techniques and the legal principles that apply, will provide sailors the ability to make sure they are properly gathering and handling evidence so traffickers can be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, no matter which country has jurisdiction," said U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Jeffrey Deitel, officer in charge of the Pacific Tactical Law Enforcement Team.

Members of the Pacific Tactical Law Enforcement Team led classroom discussions and hands-on sessions for more than 50 individuals from participating nations. The sessions focused on techniques for identifying, stopping, searching and collecting evidence from vessels suspected of trafficking drugs, weapons and other contraband.

Participants learned common ways smugglers use to hide contraband on boats, and how to identify concealment. They also handled field drug test kits used to test for illicit substances and the proper procedures that go along with testing.

The exercise included tactical movement familiarization, where participants, many from special forces commands, practiced entering and searching a ship's hull - another place smugglers use to hide illegal items. The techniques practiced have real-world applications for many of the participants.

"I learned new tactics and new ideas on searching the hull of a vessel. Most importantly was how to search a suspect," said Nathaniel Odike, an able seaman with the Nigerian Navy.

"Contending with weapons trafficking, piracy and other militancy issues facing our navies, observing and learning about the ways criminals at sea hide weapons, and knowing what to look for is something that is important to me in my job," Odike added.

Twenty nations are participating in Obangame Express 2014 including Angola, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, The Netherlands, Nigeria, Portugal, Republic of Congo, Sao Tome & Principe, Spain, Togo, Turkey and the United States.

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For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, visit

For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, visit

NNS140418-15. US 6th Fleet Commander Visits Patrol Squadron 9

From Patrol Squadron 9 Public Affairs

SIGONELLA, Sicily (NNS) -- The commander of U.S. 6th Fleet was welcomed aboard Naval Air Station Sigonella during a recent trip to Sicily, April 17.

In addition to a tour of base facilities, Vice Adm. Phil Davidson met with the leadership of Task Force 67 and the "Golden Eagles," of Patrol Squadron (VP) 9. CTF 67 is responsible for tactical control of deployed maritime patrol and reconnaissance squadrons throughout the U.S. Naval Forces Europe and U.S. Naval Forces Africa areas of operations.

Davidson conducted an all-hands call to speak with personnel from VP-9, as well as Sailors from CTF 67, Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Depot (AIMD) Sigonella and Mobile Tactical Operations Center 7. He commended the group on their outstanding record of mission accomplishment while speaking on the importance of their deployment to the Mediterranean.

"I could not be more pleased with the performance of the entire CTF 67, VP-9, and AIMD Sigonella team," said Davidson. "The Golden Eagles' operations in two theaters - AFRICOM and EUCOM - plays a key role assuring our allies and maintaining security and stability in this part of the globe. We are incredibly fortunate in the United States to have Sailors like you at the tip of the spear."

Both aircrew and maintainers appreciated an opportunity to showcase their platform and their professional knowledge. Davidson and his staff visited the squadron's spaces and received a tour of a P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft. The group also received hands-on anti-submarine warfare simulator training in the PACT-3 trainer.

"I think it's great that Vice Adm. Davidson and his staff took the time to visit with the squadron and address the current issues affecting us in this area of operations," said Lt. j.g. Eugene Soto. "To have the commander of 6th Fleet come out and visit us is something special."

VP-9 is assigned to Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 2, Marine Corps Base Hawaii. The squadron consists of 71 officers and 276 enlisted personnel who maintain and operate eight P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft.

VP-9 is currently on a scheduled deployment to the 6th Fleet area of operations supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts.

U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts a full range of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation missions in concert with coalition, joint, interagency, and other parties in order to advance security and stability in Europe and Africa.

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NNS140418-11. US 6th Fleet Commander Visits USS Ramage

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jared King, USS Ramage Public Affairs

AUGUSTA BAY, Sicily (NNS) -- The commander of U.S. 6th Fleet visited Sailors aboard guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage (DDG 61), April 17.

While visiting the ship, Vice Adm. Phil Davidson met with Ramage's leadership and held an all-hands call with the crew, recognizing them for all their hard work and accomplishments while deployed to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.

"You guys are the hardest working destroyer in the Navy," said Davidson. "I know that for a fact. We counted on you to do the hard stuff, and you did it well. I appreciate all of your efforts."

During the all-hands call, Davidson emphasized the importance of Ramage's mission while answering questions from Ramage Sailors. He also discussed the ship's future as it returns to Norfolk for an extended period of planned maintenance.

"I enjoyed the opportunity to have Vice Adm. Davidson come out and speak to us today," said Personnel Specialist 1st Class Gervin Pimentel. "For him to take time out of his busy schedule to arrive in person and thank us made my deployment that much more meaningful."

Ramage, homeported in Norfolk, Va., is deployed to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts.

U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts a full range of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation missions in concert with coalition, joint, interagency, and other parties in order to advance security and stability in Europe and Africa.

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For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, visit

NNS140418-10. USS Constitution Hosts Gold Star Families

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Victoria Kinney, USS Constitution Public Affairs

CHARLESTOWN, Mass. (NNS) -- Members of the Massachusetts and Rhode Island department of American Gold Star Mothers and Gold Star Families paid a visit to USS Constitution as invited guests of honor April 14.

"American Gold Star Mothers is a national organization of mothers that have lost children in service to their country," said Dolly Sullivan, president of the Massachusetts and Rhode Island department. "Whether killed in action, missing in action, or have died from a result of their service injuries that are connected to their service, we're here to support their families."

Several Gold Star mothers and fathers attended the event, and were joined by the Massachusetts Secretary of Veterans' Services Coleman Nee and City of Boston department of Veterans' Services Commissioner Francisco Urena. Guests joined Constitution's 73rd Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Sean Kearns, for a coffee reception in the captain's cabin aboard Old Ironsides, which was followed by a special guided tour of the ship.

"The crew and I are privileged to host events like this to honor and support Gold Star Mothers, Gold Star Wives, and Gold Star Families who have lost loved ones to the service and defense of our nation," said Kearns. "These families share a tragic common bond that is impossible to fully grasp unless you have experienced it yourself. Bringing them together for events such as this provides an opportunity for fellowship and mutual support amongst a group of people who truly understand."

American Gold Star Mothers was founded in 1928 as a national organization by 25 women - all dedicated to offering support to fellow mothers who have lost children in the service, but also to assist suffering veterans in hospitals.

During World War I, families with a member in the service would symbolize their loved one's commitment by flying a flag with a blue star on it, one star for each service member. When a service member lost their life, the blue star would be replaced with a gold star. The organization has almost 1,000 members today.

"We've been to Constitution about five times now," said James Sullivan, Dolly's husband. "Every time we come, the current captain and the Sailors have always been right there supporting us."

James and Dolly's son, Christopher, was killed in Iraq while serving in the U.S. Army in 2005. Since then, they have worked with families in the New England area who have also lost family members in the service of their country, including Elizabeth and John Wells.

"It's good for us to come out because we're able to share our experiences with the families that go through the same thing. Even though it is a difficult road, it makes it much easier to share and help," said Elizabeth Wells.

"It's a great support group," said Dolly. "We're a veterans' service so we work to make the lives of our veterans and their families better through legislation and through fundraising for hospitals and Veteran Affairs homes and shelters. We do what we can."

USS Constitution, the world's oldest commissioned warship afloat, actively defended sea lanes against global threats from 1797 to 1855. Now a featured destination on Boston's Freedom Trail, Constitution and her crew of U.S. Navy Sailors offer community outreach and education about the ship's history and the importance of naval seapower to more than 500,000 visitors each year.

For more news and information on USS Constitution, visit:, and

NNS140418-06. US Naval Forces Southern Command, US 4th Fleet Welcomes New Commander

From U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet Public Affairs

NAVAL STATION MAYPORT, Fla (NNS) -- The former director of theater engagement for U.S. Southern Command assumed the responsibilities of commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and commander, U.S. 4th Fleet April 17 at the Ocean Breeze Conference Center here.

Rear Adm. George W. Ballance replaced Rear Adm. Sinclair Harris, who will become the vice director for operations on the Joint Staff at the Pentagon.

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet are responsible for U.S. naval forces in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility, which includes Central and South America and the Caribbean Sea. Marine Gen. John F. Kelly, the commander of U.S. Southern Command, served as the presiding officer for the ceremony.

"I believe Sinc's greatest accomplishment while commanding NAVSO has been his commitment to building partnerships with naval forces throughout the region," said Marine Gen. John Kelly, commander, U.S. Southern Command. "The presence of representatives from Colombia, Brazil, Chile, and Peru at today's ceremony is a testament to the importance of those partnerships, which are critical for the United States and the region alike."

Ballance, a Navy Reservist, has served as vice commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe and U.S. Naval Forces Africa, as director of U.S. 6th Fleet's Maritime Partnership Program, and as deputy commander of U.S. 7th Fleet.

He is the 13th commander of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command since it was established in 1942 and the fifth commander of U.S. 4th Fleet since it was re-established in 2008.

Vice Adm. Robin Braun, chief of Navy Reserve, commander of Navy Reserve Force was in attendance as the senior Navy official.

"It's the partnerships and relationships with military and political leaders throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as your innovation, vision, and charismatic leadership, that make you "larger than life" and so deserving of the high esteem in which you are held.

Your efforts here have directly supported the CNO's Global Maritime Partnership Initiative."

Harris thanked Kelly and Braun for their support, and offered congratulations to what he described as "a few of our great partners in South America."

The courage and sacrifices of the people of Colombia as they close out their 50-year struggle against armed revolutionaries is phenomenal, and the nation's execution of the maritime exercise UNITAS last year was inspiring, he said.

He also praised the Chileans, Peruvians and Brazilians for their professionalism, partnership and leadership.
Brazil has been leading international naval forces off the coast of Lebanon for several years and participated in Obangame Express, an exercise conducted by U.S. Naval Forces Africa.

"Your leadership role amongst our partners is highly valued, specifically in a region Brazil understands so well," Harris said. "We stand to learn much from you."

Harris, who arrived in Mayport in 2012, previously served as commanding officer of Amphibious Squadron 4 and the Iwo Jima (LHD 7) Strike Group during humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 and during the noncombatant emergency evacuations of Lebanon in 2006. He also commanded Expeditionary Strike Group 5, providing disaster relief during the Pakistan floods of 2010, and served as director of the Navy's Irregular Warfare Office on the staff of the chief of naval operations.

He joked that he wasn't in a hurry to give up Florida's sunshine and his easy commute.

"But there is more than that I'm sorry for," Harris said. For instance, he won't be present for the transit of the future USS America (LHA 6) around South America this summer; nor for the likely return of USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) on a Continuing Promise mission next year.

He'll miss the transition to the era of the Littoral Combat Ship, the Joint High Speed Vessel and patrol craft - and he'll miss something even bigger, he said.

"As our relationship continues to deepen in the hemisphere, I truly believe that a combined maritime force will one day come to fruition, as no nation can afford to protect the sea lanes alone, and we are all inextricably tied together," Harris said. "From Canada to Chile, we have shared values and concerns that we have seen demonstrated in our exercises and operations for over 50 years."

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

NNS140418-01. US 7th Fleet Conducts Personnel Recovery Training

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Samuel Weldin, Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- U.S. 7th Fleet hosts the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency's (JPRA) personnel recovery training aboard the U.S. 7th Fleet Flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) during the week of April 14.

The JPRA is charged with coordinating and advancing capabilities for military, civil, and diplomatic efforts to obtain the release or recovery of captured, missing, or isolated U.S. personnel from uncertain or hostile environments.

"When personnel are recovered, there are multiple measures that must be taken in order to ensure their full recovery, both physically and psychologically," said John M. Patarini, JPRA lead instructor. "It is my job to educate the people attending this course so that they are able to implement these steps correctly and maintain efficiency with the recovered individual."

The training provides the proper personnel recovery procedures to maximize efficiency and to return the individual recovered back to full duty.

In order to push this overall goal to the students, the course is composed of three sections, the initial planning, execution, and reintegration of the individual back to duty that are taught throughout the week

"The instructors are the subject matter experts and were outstanding in providing a high level of knowledge, as well as detailed accounts on actual personnel recovery events," said Chief Naval Air Crewmen Mechanical Eric Nordstrom. "In addition they tailored the training to how we operate here and what we could possibly encounter during our tours in the Seventh Fleet AOR."

Even though this class was taught to Sailors aboard the Blue Ridge, the JPRA also provides training to multiple organizations across the Department of Defense.

According to Patarini, personnel recovery training is a high priority of the DoD and commands across the globe must meet the DoD's requirement. The class allows for DoD organizations to not only plan for the here and now, but plan for the worst should it happen.

"As a Naval Air Crewmen it makes me feel good to know the JPRA is providing this high quality training to the fleet," said Nordstrom. "In the event one of my fellow Service Members or I require assistance, the tools are in place to affect a successful recovery ensuring everyone comes home safe,"

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

NNS140417-22. NAVFAC Marianas Promotes STEM and Energy Conservation at DODEA Elementary School

By Jesse Leon Guerrero, Joint Region Marianas Public Affairs

SANTA RITA, Guam (NNS) -- Personnel from Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Marianas and U.S. Naval Base Guam (NBG) promoted science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) at Cmdr. William C. McCool Elementary and Middle School on U.S. Naval Base Guam, April 17.

Volunteers conducted presentations as part of the school's drive to encourage students' interest in STEM, help them understand, and practice energy conservation and celebrate Earth Day.

"Math and science are what built this country," said NBG Energy Manager Derek Briggs. "That's what made this country the powerhouse that it is today."

Briggs gave presentations to several classes of second-graders about what they can do to understand energy and how to conserve it by studying STEM in school and being mindful of energy use at home.

He was accompanied by NAVFAC Marianas Chief Builder (SCW) Joseph King, who was dressed as the yellow light bulb-themed BRITE (Be Responsible In Today's Energy) costume.

Principal Geoff Fong praised the volunteers for partnering with the school to help the students understand how the world works and how they can improve their quality of life.

"Our kids really need to know about conservation and how to best conserve energy and recycle materials," he said. "Who better to do that than the people who are actually in the business of doing that to come in and help us make those connections, and help our kids get some sort of civic responsibility and a social consciousness?"

Throughout the month of April, NAVFAC Marianas will participate in several events in celebration of Earth Day, which will be recognized, April 22.

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

NNS140417-16. Public Health Center Publishes Annual Report on Wounded, Ill and Injured Program

From Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center, Public Affairs

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) -- The Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center (NMCPHC) announced the release of its 2013 Wounded, Ill and Injured (WII) Program annual report, April 17. The report highlights the many ways that WII projects improve the health of WII service members throughout the Navy and Marine Corps.

NMCPHC's WII projects are founded on the Force Health Protection (FHP) strategy and enhance all three pillars of FHP (Healthy and Fit Force, Protection and Prevention, and Medical and Rehabilitative Care) by promoting healthy lifestyle choices, protecting against environmental health hazards, improving clinical results and reducing health care expenses.

The report showcases the unique products and services of each WII project with associated outcomes and impacts that align to the FHP pillars and public health focus areas.

"We are excited and proud to see NMCPHC products and services directly impacting wounded, injured and ill Sailors, Marines and their families. Making a difference in the lives of our warfighters and equipping leadership with information they need to make effective and informed decisions related to health care is a task we are proud to uphold," said Cmdr. Amy Drayton, NMCPHC Director of Population Health.

The NMCPHC WII Program offers products and services targeted to providers, scientists, leadership and individuals. The program equips military leaders with the tools to develop and maintain a fit and deployable force, and provides operational commanders with real-time information to help protect service members from exposure to environmental health stressors in the deployed setting.

Public health experts collaborate within NMCPHC and partner with organizations throughout the services, the Defense Health Agency, and other federal agencies to promote FHP. These teams of scientists, epidemiologists, statisticians, programmers and health educators conduct extensive data analysis and develop unique products building on early program success and experience.

NMCPHC is part of the Navy Medicine team, 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 world-wide, providing critical mission support aboard ship, in the air, under the sea and on the battlefield.

For more news from Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center, visit

NNS140418-22. Son Travels to Misawa to Honor Father's Sacrifice

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Erin Devenberg, Naval Air Facility Misawa Public Affairs

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan (NNS) -- Commander, Task Force (CTF) 72 and Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC) Misawa hosted a remembrance ceremony and dinner in honor of the crew of the EC-121, call sign Deep Sea 129, April 15.

This is the 45th year that NIOC Misawa has conducted this remembrance since two North Korean MiG-17s shot down Deep Sea 129 over Japanese national waters, April 15, 1969. However, this year the ceremony had a notable attendee: Cmdr. Joe V. Overstreet, the son of Deep Sea 129's plane commander, Lt. Cmdr. James Overstreet.

"I first learned of the remembrance ceremony in 1999," said Cmdr. Overstreet, Navy Region Hawaii Air Operations program manager, and originally from Hattiesburg, Miss. "I was stationed at Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi and I ran into a crew from Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron One (VQ-1) at the Atsugi Air Show who told me about it. Then I saw a little article from Public Affairs here at NAF Misawa, saying the ceremony had been occurring every year since the incident, and I thought to myself that that's something I'd like to attend someday, so I finally got here."

Overstreet, with wife Julie and daughter Sydney, attended the two bell ceremony at Misawa Air Base's Chapel where the congregation stood to honor the 31 service members who were on board EC-121. Each crew member received two strikes from the bell when their name was read aloud.

"I think it's very important that we pause to remember the contribution and extraordinary heroism of our service members that made the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of our country," said Capt. Sean P. Kelley, NIOC Misawa commanding officer. "Together with our VQ shipmates, NIOC is proud to sponsor the annual Two Bell Ceremony that memorializes the events of that tragic day."

In a solemn march across the pier at Misawa Beach, the Overstreet family was able to witness a flowered wreath cast out to sea as they stood for a moment of silence to remember their missing family member and his crew.

"It's important to remember the lives of all of our service members," said Overstreet. "Especially this group, who were a part of that fraternity of Cold War intelligence gatherers, and who all gave the ultimate sacrifice. Due to the nature of their missions, there are a lot of heroic people and actions whose stories haven't been told."

Later that evening Overstreet was the guest speaker during a dinner to honor the 30 Sailors and one Marine who lost their lives 45 years ago. Overstreet shared his recollections as a six year old boy at the time of the incident and his thoughts based on research he has conducted about the incident over the past 20 years. Sailors from CTF-72, NIOC Misawa and VQ-1 participated in the dinner which also featured a table setting for 31 to commemorate the lost servicemen. VQ-1 also conducted a static display on an EP-3 for the Overstreet family. To honor the crew, the EP-3 is marked with "LCDR OVERSTREET; 15 APR 1969" painted under the pilot window.

"I think as naval officers and professionals, it's important to take any opportunity to honor those who have gone before us and remember them for the sacrifices that they've made," said Capt. David Wright, CTF-72 deputy commander." They paved the way for us and it's important that their sacrifice does not go unnoticed."

For more news from Naval Air Facility Misawa, visit and

NNS140418-18. Naval Base Coronado Executive Officer Relieved

From Commander, Navy Installations Command Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The executive officer of Naval Base Coronado in San Diego was relieved of his duties April 18 by Commander, Navy Installations Command.

Vice Adm. William French, commander of Navy Installations Command relieved Capt. Gregory McWherter. The decision was based on initial findings of an ongoing investigation into recent allegations of misconduct and an inappropriate command climate at the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron (Blue Angels) based at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla.

The allegations refer specifically to the period when McWherter served as Blue Angels commanding officer, from November 2008 to November 2010 and again from May 2011 to November 2012.

McWherter assumed his duties as Naval Base Coronado executive officer in November 2013. He has been temporarily reassigned to Naval Air Forces in San Diego.

NNS140418-04. Sexual Assault Reports Week of April 7 - 13

From the Office of the Chief of Information

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- This week's overview of alleged sexual assaults is compiled based on 19 initial reports across the Navy from April 7 - 13.

This time frame reflects only the receipt of the initial reports; two of these reported incidents also occurred during this period. Every one of these reports will be fully investigated. Looking at this snapshot in time, we see the following:

* Eight reports come from events that occurred on-base and 11 from events that occurred off-base.

* Eighteen of the alleged offenders were male and two were unknown. The vast majority were known to their alleged victims. Two were E-7 or above, two were petty officers, nine were E-3 and below, four were civilians, and three were unknown.

* Eleven of the reported incidents are alleged to be service member on service member.

* Among the alleged victims, one was E-7 or above, six were petty officers, nine were E-3 and below, and three were civilians. Of these reported, 15 were female and four were male.

To contact a Sexual Assault Response Coordinator at the Department of Defense Safe Help Line, call (877) 995-5247.

To learn more about Navy's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program, visit

NNS011216-18. This Day in Naval History - April 18

From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

1848 - U.S. Navy expedition to explore the Dead Sea and the River Jordan, commanded by Lt. William F. Lynch, reaches the Dead Sea.

1906 - U.S. Navy assists in relief operations during San Francisco earthquake and fire. Sailors fight fires and ships carry the homeless and injured to Vallejo, where medical personnel established emergency facilities.

1942 - The Doolittle Raid begins with 16 Army Air Force B-25 bombers launching earlier than expected from USS Hornet (CV 8), approximately 650 miles off Japan, after being spotted by enemy ships. It is the first attack by the U.S. of the Japanese mainland since Pearl Harbor. Most of the 16 B-25s, each with a five-man crew, attack the Tokyo area, with a few hitting Nagoya. Embarrassed, the Japanese revise plans and six weeks later attack the American carrier group near Midway sooner than expected.

1943 - U.S. Army Air Force P-38s off Bougainville, using signals intelligence, shoot down plane carrying Imperial Japanese Navy Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto, Commander in Chief of the Japanese Combined Fleet.

1945 - USS Heerman (DD 532), USS McCord (DD 534), USS Mertz (DD 691), and USS Collett (DD 730), with assistance from destroyer USS Uhlmann (DD 687) and TBM "Avenger" aircraft (VT 47) from USS Bataan (CVL 29), sink the Japanese submarine I 56, 150 miles east of Okinawa.

1958 - Lt. Cmdr. G.C. Watkins flying a Grumman F11F-1F Tiger at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., for the second time in three days sets a world altitude record of 76,938 feet.

1988 - During Operation Praying Mantis, Navy ships and Navy and Marine aircraft strike Iranian oil platforms, sink the Iranian frigate Sahand and smaller boats, and damage the frigate Sabalan in retaliation for when USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG-58) hit an Iranian mine four days earlier.

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