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NNS140613-06. Navy Awards Contract to Dismantle Constellation

From Naval Sea Systems Command Office of Corporate Communication

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy competitively awarded a contract to International Shipbreaking Limited of Brownsville, Texas, for the towing, dismantling and recycling of conventionally powered aircraft carriers stricken from service, June 13.

Under the contract, the company will be paid $3 million for the dismantling and recycling of the decommissioned aircraft carrier Constellation (CV 64). The price reflects the net price proposed by International Shipbreaking, which considered the estimated proceeds from the sale of the scrap metal to be generated from dismantling.

The Navy continues to own the ship during the dismantling process. The contractor takes ownership of the scrap metal as it is produced and sells the scrap to offset its costs of operations.

This is the third of three contracts for conventional aircraft carrier dismantling. All Star Metals of Brownsville was awarded the first contract Oct. 22, 2013, which included the towing and dismantling of ex-USS Forrestal (AVT 59). ESCO Marine of Brownsville was awarded the second contract May 8, 2014, for the scrapping of ex-USS Saratoga (CV 60).

After the initial award of one carrier to each successful offeror, the Navy has the capability of scrapping additional conventionally-powered aircraft carriers over a five-year period under delivery orders competed between the three contractors.

International Shipbreaking will now develop its final tow plan for the Navy's approval for the tow of Constellation from its current berth at Naval Base Kitsap, Washington, to the company's facility in Brownsville. The ship is expected to depart Kitsap this summer. Navy civilian personnel will be on site full time to monitor the contractor's performance during dismantling of the ship.

Constellation was the second Kitty Hawk-class aircraft carrier to be built. She was laid down Sept. 14, 1957, at New York Naval Shipyard in Brooklyn, New York, and was the last U. S. aircraft carrier to be built at a yard outside of Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company. The ship was commissioned Oct. 27, 1961. After nearly 42 years of commissioned service, Constellation was decommissioned at the Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego Aug. 6, 2003. In September 2003, she was towed to the inactive ship maintenance facility in Bremerton to await its eventual disposal.

For more news from Naval Sea Systems Command, visit


NNS140714-01. Navy SEALs Bring Motivation, Challenge to US Naval Academy Wrestling Camp

By Lt. David C. Lloyd, Naval Special Warfare Group 2 Public Affairs

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (NNS) -- Members of the SEAL and Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman (SWCC) Scout Team and SEALs assigned to various East-coast based SEAL teams participated in the 2014 SEAL Wrestling Training Camp at the United States Naval Academy, July 6-13.

The weeklong wrestling camp offered 130 high school students from across the country the opportunity to work closely with the SEALs and wrestling coaches from the academy. The demanding program is designed to motivate as well as provide the wrestlers physical and mental training opportunities and introduce them to the career programs available in the Navy special warfare community.

"From a philosophical standpoint, the camp teaches the kids how to commit to something," explained Daniel Song, the U.S. Naval Academy head assistant wrestling coach. "Here, you're all in and having the SEALs participate brings legitimacy to the program. The kids draw a little more energy from their presence, it's intangible, but it's palpable. You can feel it, you can see it, and the kids respond."

Commitment is exactly one of the characteristic traits that the Naval Special Warfare (NSW) community looks for in individuals interested in becoming one of the Navy's elite.

"It means a lot for me to volunteer and give back to the NSW community and kids," said one of the SEALs assigned to an East-coast based SEAL team. "Wrestling is a team sport but also a one-on-one sport. You're out there and if you quit, you lose. Wrestling has helped me while at BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) to never quit."

The SEAL Wrestling Training Camp is highly intensive and one of six wrestling camps offered at the Naval Academy over the summer. Unlike the other wrestling programs, the SEALs put the wrestlers through two grueling daily work-out routines similar to the Navy's BUD/S training course in between the technique sessions in the gym. The training sessions are intended to reinforce a strong work ethic, teamwork, determination, and the fortitude necessary to reach the wrestlers' potential.

"This is really as good as it gets," said the three-time Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association and three-time All American and National Champion Navy SEAL Lieutenant volunteering at the camp. "Aside from family, wrestling and the Navy are the two most important things to me, so having the opportunity to do them both together with a great group of guys who have been working hard all week long is excellent."

This week's SEAL Wrestling Camp is the sixth consecutive summer held at the Naval Academy.

For more news from Naval Special Warfare Group 2, visit

NNS140712-02. Submarine USS San Francisco Deploys

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Anthony Walker, USS San Francisco Public Affairs

NAVAL BASE POINT LOMA, Calif. (NNS) -- USS San Francisco (SSN 711) deployed from Naval Base Point Loma for a scheduled six-month Western Pacific deployment, July 10.

The Los Angeles-class, fast-attack submarine's deployment is in support of the Chief of Naval Operations' maritime strategy. San Francisco's missions will focus on maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts, which help establish conditions for regional stability.

The deployment is part of an on-going rotation of deployed forces to support maritime security operations and operations in international waters around the globe, working with other coalition maritime forces. During the past few months, San Francisco has conducted several training exercises off the coast of California and is fully prepared to deploy.

"The crew has put in a lot of hours training and preparing the ship for this deployment, and we are ready," said Cmdr. Jeff Juergens, commanding officer of San Francisco. "We're very thankful for all the support along the way, especially from our families, and we look forward to successfully completing our mission."

San Francisco was commissioned April 24, 1981. Displacing more than 6,900 tons, San Francisco has a crew of nearly 140 Sailors. It is one of five Los Angeles-class, fast-attack submarines homeported in San Diego.

For more news from Commander, Submarine Squadron 11, visit

NNS140714-26. Supply Sailors Help Build for the Brave

By Candice Villarreal, NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center San Diego Public Affairs

LAKESIDE, Calif. (NNS) -- NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) San Diego Sailors donated their time and care July 9 by volunteering for a San Diego Habitat for Humanity program that will benefit disabled veterans and their families in Lakeside, California.

Fifteen Sailors - all first class petty officers and chief petty officers - took part in the effort, lending their skills and sweat to tasks that included digging ditches, planting trees, construction cleanup, irrigation system installation, and landscaping of the grounds and yards for four townhomes. Each of the structures will soon become affordable homeownership for disabled veterans through the Building for the Brave program.

"At first, we didn't even know the houses were for disabled veterans; we were just volunteering our time and building teamwork and camaraderie as part of the Navy's CPO 365 initiative," said Command Master Chief (SW/AW) Medea Dudley. "We just thought we were building the bond between our first classes and chiefs, while giving back to a community that gives back to us with their support. Knowing we took part in doing something good for these veterans - some of whom wouldn't be able to afford something so customized for them without this program - is even more fulfilling."

The Building for the Brave program is the first project of its kind for the organization in the city. Each of the four homes are tailored to disabled veterans' needs and will be specially equipped and outfitted with features and furnishings that are specifically adapted to the special needs of the veterans.

"It was awesome to be able to go out there and help build for some of our own," said Logistics Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Makita Lewis. "Even when it's hot outside and you're working in the dirt, you love doing it because it's going to help someone's family out. We can't always give money, but we can volunteer our time, and sometimes that's the best way to contribute."

San Diego Habitat for Humanity - the local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International - is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. While the command is active in the community and volunteers for numerous volunteer opportunities year-round, this event was the first partnership with Habitat for Humanity in 2014.

"It was a pleasure to help for such a good cause as veterans ourselves, and we all took great pride in it," said Logistics Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Aubrey Eubanks. "It was a really rewarding day of work."

Construction for the homes began in March of 2013. All four townhomes are scheduled for completion by the end of the summer.

NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center San Diego, one of eight fleet logistics centers under NAVSUP Global Logistics Support, provides global logistics, business and support services to fleet, shore and industrial commands of the Navy, Coast Guard, Military Sealift Command, and other joint and allied Forces. Services include contracting, regional transportation, fuel, material management, household goods movement support, postal and consolidated mail, warehousing, global logistics and husbanding, hazardous material management, and integrated logistics support.

NAVSUP GLS comprises more than 5,700 military and civilian logistics professionals, contractors and foreign nationals operating as a single cohesive team providing global logistics services from 110 locations worldwide.

A component of the Naval Supply Systems Command headquartered in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, NAVSUP GLS is part of a worldwide logistics network of more than 22,500 military and civilian personnel providing combat capability through logistics.

For more news from Naval Supply Systems Command, visit

NNS140712-04. USS Anchorage Departs for RIMPAC, San Diego

By Ensign Lindsay Lewis, Anchorage Public Affairs Office

USS ANCHORAGE, At Sea (NNS) -- Amphibious transport dock USS Anchorage (LPD 23) set sail to participate in the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014, July 10.

Anchorage is acting as the afloat sea-base, supporting Cmdr. Max Muller, the commander of Task Group 177.1. Anchorage is also serving as the operating platform for the multinational mine countermeasures group that includes airborne mine countermeasures, underwater vehicles, divers, and marine mammals. Anchorage's crew of more than 400 will join the additional 400 personnel from Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, and the United Kingdom.

In preparation for RIMPAC, Anchorage's crew ensured everything from berthing to food was in place to ensure embarked partner nation participants felt welcomed, acclimated and integrated into the ship's company and mission during RIMPAC.

"I'm most excited about the international collaboration," said Cmdr. Joel Stewart, Anchorage's commanding officer. "I think our global success is going to rely heavily upon those partnerships and team-building exercises between nations. Being able to embark the multinational forces that we have... helps build those bonds that we'll carry off into the future."

Anchorage Sailors are excited for RIMPAC too, because most of the missions are new for a majority of the crew.

"I really want to talk to the Japanese and see what the difference is between our Navy and their Navy," said Operations Specialist 3rd Class Jordan Beaty. "I've also heard that we're supposed to do some kind of stealth exercise, I'm really excited about that."

Anchorage was commissioned in May 2013 and this is the ship's first time participating in RIMPAC.

"I think Anchorage, as a newly commissioned ship, is a great place to start and get our crew integrated in the fleet," said Stewart. "We've come in a big way and proved that, even though we haven't done a maiden deployment yet, Anchorage is a force multiplier and will certainly bring a lot of value to Third Fleet or anywhere else the Navy needs the ship to conduct its mission.

Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 26 - Aug. 1, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2014 is the 24th exercise in the series that began in 1971.

For more news on USS Anchorage (LPD 23), visit their Facebook page at

For more news from Rim of the Pacific, visit

NNS140714-17. USS Vella Gulf Departs Black Sea After Successful Engagements with Partners and Allies in the Region

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

AEGEAN SEA (NNS) -- Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) departed the Black Sea, July 14, after completing a round of engagements designed to strengthen ties with partners and allies in the Black Sea region.

While in the Black Sea, Vella Gulf conducted a port visit in Bulgaria to prepare for her participation in the Bulgarian-led exercise Breeze 2014. Breeze consisted of a wide variety of drills across the full spectrum of operations including air defense, surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare as well as navigation of a simulated mine swept channel and naval gunnery exercises.

The presence of the Norfolk based ship in the Black Sea, represented efforts by the United States to reaffirm our commitment to strengthening ties with NATO allies and partners, while working toward mutual goals of promoting peace, security and stability in the region.

U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and 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

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

NNS140712-08. USS Oscar Austin Participates in Royal Navy Exercise

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class DJ Revell, USS Oscar Austin Public Affairs

USS OSCAR AUSTIN, At Sea (NNS) -- The guided-missile destroyer USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79) participated in a U.K.-led maritime exercise in the Atlantic Ocean, July 10.

The exercise consisted of combat operations in all areas of warfare including anti-submarine warfare, anti-aircraft warfare, and surface warfare.

Naval units from the U.S., Germany and the United Kingdom included Royal Navy frigates HMS Richmond (F239), HMS Lancaster (F229), and HMS St Albans (F83); Royal Navy destroyer HMS Dragon (D35); and the German Navy's Braunschweig-class corvette FGS Ludwigshafen am Rhein (F264).

"We dealt with a lot of scenarios," said Operations Specialist 2nd Class Gwendolyn Wadley, assigned to Oscar Austin, who participated in the exercise in the ship's combat information center. "Overall it was very busy and fast-paced, but it went pretty well."

The exercise also tested the various communications and defensives systems between the ships to help improve future training, tactical expertise and interoperability.

Following the exercise, Oscar Austin conducted a replenishment-at-sea (RAS) with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker RFA Gold Rover (A271), further advancing cooperation between the two navies.

Oscar Austin, homeported in Norfolk, Virginia, is deployed in a multi-mission role to enhance regional maritime security with NATO and regional partners and allies in the Baltic region.

U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint, and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.

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

NNS140714-24. Members of Congress Visit TR at Sea, Become Honorary Rough Riders

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Heath Zeigler, USS Theodore Roosevelt Public Affairs

At Sea (NNS) -- The men and women aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) welcomed five members of the U.S. House of Representatives to observe underway operations and meet with Sailors while at sea, June 12-13.

The purpose of the visit was to familiarize congressional members and staff with aircraft carrier operations and capabilities as well as creating a better understanding of Navy programs.

The group of delegates included U.S. Representatives Michele Bachmann, William Flores, Kerry Bentivolio, Doug LaMalfa and Rob Woodall.

"I loved every minute of it," said Bachmann of Minnesota, who was the senior member of the delegation. "Seeing how the crew works and how the flight deck operates, lets us know that this is the most important four acres of American real estate."

During the visit, Rear Adm. Andrew Lewis, commander Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 12, met with the group to discuss day to day operations of the CSG and an aircraft carrier, as well as, what it takes to manage flight operations underway.

"It was great to have our congressmen come to Theodore Roosevelt (TR) and see the great work our Sailors are doing," said Lewis. "I couldn't be more proud in showing off what this great ship is capable of to our guests."

The delegation flew aboard TR on a carrier onboard delivery aircraft, receiving a certificate commemorating their tail-hook landing. Once aboard, the delegation visited several areas around the ship, such as the bridge, foc'sle and carrier air traffic control center. They also observed day and night flight operations.

"It was a great experience out here," said Lt. Pia Chapman, Navy liaison officer and surface warfare officer. "It's a much different perspective than being on a cruiser or destroyer. I have really enjoyed my time here."

The delegation departed TR after seeing first-hand the ship's capabilities as her crew trains to conduct future deployments.

Join the conversation with TR online at and For more news from USS Theodore Roosevelt, visit

For more news from USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), visit

NNS140712-03. Submarine Group Nine Holds Change of Command Ceremony

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Ahron Arendes, Submarine Group 9 Public Affairs

BANGOR, Wash. (NNS) -- Commander, Submarine Group Nine conducted a change of command ceremony July 11 at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor.

Rear Adm. Dietrich H. Kuhlmann III turned over command of Submarine Group Nine to Rear Adm. Dave Kriete at Deterrent Park.

Kuhlmann oversaw certification and conduct of 32 strategic deterrent patrols by Trident ballistic missile submarines maintaining 100% readiness during his tenure, as well as training and certification of crews for the guided-missile submarines USS Ohio (SSGN 726) and USS Michigan (SSGN 727) in support of six forward-deployed mission periods.

Kuhlmann's tenure also saw USS Maine (SSBN 741) earn the Meritorious Unit Commendation (MUC) for completing 349 underway days in a 14-month period supporting various operations, USS Pennsylvania (SSBN 735) earn the MUC for completing the fastest return to strategic service ever for an ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) following a major maintenance period and subsequently complete an Ohio-class SSBN record-setting 140-day patrol, and USS Nebraska (SSBN 739) earn the 2013 U.S. Strategic Command Omaha Trophy for excellence in deterrence operations.

Kuhlmann acknowledged a number of key areas in the submarine mission, but it's the Sailors, he said, that are the most important.

"Our platforms are marvels of science and engineering, but in the end it has always been about having the best trained and motivated people," said Kuhlmann. "As we work together to adjust our Naval capabilities to the new fiscal realities, I am confident our Sailors will continue to make a difference."

"The submarine force sets the bar high, higher than the rest of the Navy, but together this team under your leadership has cleared that bar," said Vice Adm. Joseph P. Mulloy, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Integration of Capabilities and Resources, the ceremony's guest speaker. "I personally applaud your ability to command this team and to meet those objectives put forward by the Chief of Naval Operations."

Commander of Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet Rear Adm. Phillip Sawyer presented the Legion of Merit to Kuhlmann, after which Kuhlmann read his orders to the guests and service members in attendance. Once Kriete read his orders, Sawyer received his report of relief, marking the official change of command.

Kuhlmann's next assignment will be the Deputy Director for Resources and Acquisition, J8, Joint Staff.

Kriete comes to Submarine Group 9 from U.S. Strategic Command where he served as Deputy Director of Plans and Policy. His previous command tours include USS Rhode Island (SSBN 740) Blue crew, and Submarine Squadron 6. While assigned to the Navy Staff from 2008 to 2010, he started the Ohio Replacement program.

"I believe that our job is not to tell our submarine crews how to do their jobs, but rather to create every opportunity for them to succeed" Kriete said. "Our job is not about us. It's all about the submarine crews There is no limit to what they can achieve if we all pull together in the same direction, with a steady strain every day."

For more news from Commander, Submarine Group Nine, visit

NNS140714-11. Destroyer Squadron 7 Changes Command

From COMDESRON 7 Public Affairs

SINGAPORE (NNS) -- Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7 held a change of command ceremony at Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific in Singapore, July 14.

Capt. Paul J. Schlise turned over command to Capt. Fred W. Kacher, who had recently served as DESRON 7's deputy commodore since October 2012. Rear Adm. Charlie Williams, commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific, presided over the event.

"As the operational face of our theater security cooperation activities in Southeast Asia, DESRON 7 is strengthening relationships and enhancing interoperability in ways that tangibly support America's re-balance to the Asia-Pacific," said Williams. "Much of this success is owed to Capt. Paul Schlise's superb leadership."

The ceremony marked the end of a successful 22-month command tour for Schlise, who previously served as the squadron's deputy commodore for 19 months. During his tenure as commodore, he spearheaded DESRON 7's historic forward deployment to Southeast Asia. He also led Southeast Asia's premier naval exercise series, Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT), which helps develop regional maritime security capability and capacity, strengthen navy-to-navy relationships and enhance interoperability among the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the armed forces of nine partner nations. Further, he served as operational commander for USS Freedom's (LCS 1) maiden rotational deployment to Southeast Asia.

As Deputy, Schlise embarked USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), deploying to the Western Pacific and Arabian Gulf, as well as participating in Operation TOMODACHI relief efforts and serving as sea combat commander for the Ronald Reagan Strike Group in the U.S. Fifth Fleet Area of Responsibility.

"It has truly been an honor and privilege to serve at sea with my incredible shipmates, the Golden Arrows of DESRON 7," said Schlise. "I'm particularly proud of the accomplishments this team has achieved since joining the forward-deployed naval forces of Seventh Fleet. While departing command is bittersweet, I couldn't be more pleased to turn over the watch to my friend and shipmate, Fred Kacher. He's exactly the right guy to lead this team as it continues to operate and advance relationships with regional partners in Southeast Asia and undertakes new challenges in this vital region."

Kacher, a native of Oakton, Virginia, graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1990 with an honors degree in English. A veteran of multiple overseas deployments and sea tours, he commanded USS Stockdale (DDG 106) from 2008 to 2010. Prior to reporting to DESRON 7 as deputy, he served as lead speechwriter and special assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He also holds a Master in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School and was selected as a 2006-2007 White House Fellow, where he worked at the White House on issues related to homeland security and counter-terrorism. A winner of the Arleigh Burke Leadership Award and Admiral Elmo Zumwalt Award for Visionary Leadership, he is the author of the book, Newly Commissioned Naval Officer's Guide (U.S. Naval Institute Press, 2009).

"I am honored to take command of DESRON 7," said Kacher. "We have an incredibly talented team and I look forward to building on the legacy of excellence Paul Schlise established leading the first Destroyer Squadron forward deployed to SE Asia in more than 40 years."

COMDESRON 7 is scheduled to complete the 2014 CARAT exercise series in late fall and will take operational control of USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) during her maiden deployment at the end of 2014.

For more news from Commander, Task Force 73, visit

NNS140712-01. JBPHH Holds Change of Command

By Karen S. Spangler, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Capt. Jeffrey W. James relinquished command of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) to Capt. Stanley Keeve Jr. during a change of command ceremony held on Ford Island, July 11. James took command of JBPHH on June 3, 2011.

James is retiring from the U.S. Navy after 30 years of service and plans to stay in Hawaii.
"I've lived here longer than I've lived anywhere else in my life. This is where we're staying after I transition out of the Navy," he said.

"This is my home now. Hawaii means a great deal to me and my family. We've been welcomed, and we've really embraced the aloha spirit. I really enjoy the culture, a lot that Hawaii has to offer. It's been great to serve here." James said.

"I look forward to being able to continue to join the community as we stay here beyond my Navy time and be part of the community and still have something to give back," he added.

James also had some advice to offer to Keeve as he takes command of joint base. "Aside from running the base, it's really about establishing and nurturing relationships we've got with the community," James said.

Prior to taking command of joint base, James served on the staff of Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor. His previous afloat assignments have included commanding officer of USS Hopper (DDG 70) and USS Pioneer (MCM 9) and as operations officer on USS Elliott (DD 967).

He served as an ordnance officer and navigator on USS Flatley (FFG 21). He also completed tours of duty at Naval Personnel Command and U.S. Northern Command.

Rear Adm. Rick Williams, commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, was the guest speaker for the ceremony. He praised James for his leadership of joint base.

"As commander of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Capt. James has been directly responsible for the Navy's third largest fleet concentration area with more than 87,000 Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen, Marines, their families, Department of Defense civilians and contractors at the Navy's best homeport. Joint base is the home to the U.S. Pacific Fleet, submarine forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Hawaii Air National Guard and Pacific Air Force's key strategic flight line in the Pacific," Williams said.

"Capt. James' leadership has been critical in ensuring warfighting readiness, focusing on supporting forward operations, building strong partnerships, and meeting the needs of service members and their families. He built strong ties with our friends and neighbors in the community-fostering education, understanding and a real sense of aloha through the annual makahiki and in events with the Navy League, Chamber of Commerce and other groups," he said.

Keeve's previous assignment was as military assistant to the Defense Business Board in the Pentagon.

A surface warfare officer, he served tours of duty on USS Reuben James (FFG 57), USS Philippine Sea (CG 58), USS Guardian (MCM 5) and USS Roosevelt (DDG 80). Some of his other assignments have included flag aide to the commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, commander of NATO Strike Forces Southern Europe, and director of professional development at the U.S. Naval Academy.

"Having served on a frigate homeported in Pearl Harbor 20 years ago, I've always had fond memories of my time on Oahu. Getting the opportunity to serve again on the island and to command such an important and historic joint installation is a great honor," Keeve said.

"I will endeavor to do my very best to lead and serve the men and women of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and to be a good partner with our neighboring towns and communities," he said.

Williams offered welcoming remarks to the new commander.

"Today, we welcome Capt. Stanley Keeve to beautiful Hawaii. Capt. Keeve brings a wealth of experience and skills to the base and to the waterfront. He has already hit the ground running-getting involved, showing his concern for Sailors and their families, and ready and willing to make a difference. He is the right leader at the right time with the right skill set, and I'm looking forward to seeing what he will accomplish in the months ahead," Williams said.

For more news from Commander, Navy Region Hawaii, visit

NNS140714-05. Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Conducts Change of Command Ceremony

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

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Capt. Stanley Keeve, Jr. relieved Capt. Jeffrey W. James as the commander of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) at Ford Island, July 11.

Rear Adm. Richard L. Williams was the guest speaker and reflected on James's service to those in attendance.

"Jeff, you set the standard for team building and support to families at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam," said Williams. "You will be remembered for your practical approach, your willingness to listen, and your problem-solving abilities, based on trust throughout the chain of command."

Williams presented James with the Legion of Merit Award and letters of appreciation for his service as commander of JBPHH.

James took command in June 2011 as the second commander of JBPHH. Prior to reporting, James served on the staff of Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet. He will retire after 30 years of naval service.

During James's speech, he reflected on his accomplishments as commander, giving the credit to all the personnel attached to JBPHH.

"Anything that I talk about with respect to the base, any accolades Admiral Williams gave me, anything you heard in the awards citation, is really about them," said James.

James and Keeve took turns reading their orders to the audience, which represents the official command turnover.

After the exchange of command, Keeve addressed the audience.

"To the men and women of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam," said Keeve. "Capt. James's tour of duty was successful because of your dedication, professionalism, and commitment to the mission."

Keeve has served tours of duty on frigate USS Reuben James (FFG 57), cruiser USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) and the staff of U.S. Sixth Fleet in Gaeta, Italy. He has served as commanding officer of the mine countermeasure ship USS Guardian (MCM 5) and the destroyer USS Roosevelt (DDG 80). His most recent assignment was military assistant to the Defense Business Board in the Pentagon.

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam is home to the Air Force's key strategic flight line in the Pacific and the Navy's most historically significant homeport, with 177 tenant commands and about 93,000 active duty personal and their family members, Department of Defense civilians and contractors.

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

NNS140714-18. Coastal Riverine Force: The Brown Water Navy

By Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class Dominique J. Shelton

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- (NNS) -- Reserve Sailors received a glimpse of the unique missions carried out by Navy Coastal Riverine Squadron 2, aboard Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, Va., July 12.

The training is designed to give junior officers, new to the Navy Reserves, the opportunity to get more acquainted with some of the Navy's surface forces.

During the exercise, Sailors took rides onboard the Sea Ark, the Coastal Riverine Forces patrol boat, as well as toured two other vessels. During each part of the exercise, members of the crew provided the Reservists with information surrounding the different vessels as well as the primary mission of the Coastal Riverine Force.

"I was extremely impressed with the level of training the Riverines have and the familiarity with their crafts," said Ensign Joseph Scannell, a newly commissioned officer with NPASE East. "I got a chance to drive one of the Sea Arks and it was cool to see how precise they are in the water -- it can turn on a dime."

Established during the Vietnam War, the primary mission of the Coastal Riverine Force is to conduct maritime security operations across all phases of military operations by defending the Navy's high-value assets, critical maritime-infrastructure, ports and harbors both inland and on coastal waterways. This includes exercises, Security Force Assistance and personnel exchange.

In 2012, the Navy merged Riverine Forces and Maritime Expeditionary Security Forces to form the Coastal Riverine Force. There are currently four squadrons. Squadrons 1 and 3 are home ported on the west coast and Squadrons 2 and 4 are home ported on the east coast. The force currently consists of both active and reserve service members who man and operate more than 100 boats, ranging from rubber combat raiding crafts to 53-foot command boats that can carry up to 26 personnel.

"When we're out conducting missions, situational awareness is very important," said Engineman 1st Class Carl Specht, NH3 Riverine Craft leading petty officer. "Our workspace differs from the normal battle space where when attacked you take cover wherever you can find it. When patrolling these rivers and waterways there isn't much cover. So that's why situational awareness is so important within our community and we preach it at the lowest level possible."

"The Riverines are vital to the Navy's mission," said Rear Adm. Sandy Adams, deputy commander, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC). "There are 22,000 Sailors assigned to NECC, half of which are reservists, if it weren't for these guys we might not be able to do our job."

NNS140714-16. The Marine Corps Warfighting Lab Showcases the UHAC During RIMPAC 2014

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Amanda R. Gray, USS Rushmore Public Affairs

WAIMANALO, Hawaii (NNS) -- The Marine Corps Warfighting Lab sponsored an Advanced Warfighting Experiment, featuring a half-scale Ultra Heavy-lift Amphibious Connector (UHAC) prototype at the Marine Corps Training Area Bellows, July 11.

The UHAC is a track driven connector that can reach reasonable water speeds and access beach areas that Landing Craft Air Cushion's (LCAC) and Landing Craft Utilities cannot. The UHAC was originally created by Navatek and the project was funded and carried out by the Office of Naval Research (ONR).

"It has taken a number of years of development to get to this point," said Dr. Frank Leban, program officer at ONR. "This is actually the third demonstration vehicle in this program. There has been a one-fifth scale model, then a one-quarter scale model and this is a half scale model, so we have been progressing. Every vehicle has incorporated more features and technology to help get us to the full scale. Over the past year the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab has gotten involved and they are looking at trying to put this technology in an operational context. They have been coming up with vignettes and scenarios on how the UHAC can be used."

The goal of the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab was to assist with the development of the UHAC technology and feature the half-scale model during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise 2014.

"Showcasing the UHAC during RIMPAC is a big deal," said Dave George, project officer assigned to the Ground Combat Element Branch of the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab. "This is a great way to let people know that this new technology is being developed and this is a great way to show what it can do. Today went quite well. We had much better seas then we anticipated and we were still able to get onto the well deck of the USS Rushmore."

The model consists of two tracks that are made out of captured-air foam blocks, which gives the vehicle the propulsion it needs for land and sea travel. The UHAC is intended to be a heavy lift vehicle; the full scale UHAC will be able to carry three times more than an LCAC and can go over more obstacles including 10-foot-high sea walls.

"There was generally some degree of apprehension since it is a new and unfamiliar piece of equipment and how it would operate with the ship," said Cmdr. Thomas Stephens, commanding officer of amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47). "At the same time, there was an excitement about being in a position to assist in the development of something significant like UHAC. I saw that excitement and pride on board Rushmore a great deal today. It was awesome to see them so proud of what it is they do so well day in and day out. I'm very proud of my crew's support to the UHAC endeavor."

The UHAC departed Marine Corps Training Area the Bellows and made its way to the Rushmore, where it embarked the ship's well deck. It then picked up and transported an assault vehicle back to shore.

"Today's successful demonstration of the half-scale UHAC is the culmination of months of research and risk analysis," stated Capt. Clint Carroll, Commander, Amphibious Squadron 3. "Setting the right conditions in the well deck was critical to the safe execution of this proof of concept. The Sailors of Rushmore performed flawlessly and the data collected during this well deck evaluation provides important information for follow on studies and design improvements."

Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC exercise from June 26 to Aug. 1, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2014 is the 24th exercise in the series that began in 1971.

For more news from USS Peleliu (LHA 5), visit

NNS140714-15. GW, Stethem, ROK Navy Sailors Participate in COMREL at Busan Orphanage

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ricardo Guzman, USS George Washington Public Affairs

BUSAN, Republic of Korea (NNS) -- Sailors from Nimitz-Class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73), Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) and Republic of Korea (ROK) navy and ROK participated in a community relations project (COMREL) at the Jongdukwon Orphanage, July 14.

Thirty-four U.S. Navy and six ROK navy Sailors participated in various activities with children during one of George Washington's eight COMREL events in Busan.

"It was a great day coming in and seeing how genuinely happy the kids were when we played with them," said Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Domingo Rodriguez, from George Washington's legal department. "When we take time out to come here and work with our allies to serve their community, it helps the people know that we're not just here to provide military support."

Sailors were first greeted by staff and given a brief introduction to the history of the orphanage. Shortly after, Sailors helped clean the playground and make water balloons for the children.

"I really appreciate the kindness the Sailors have shown to our children," said Shi Wook Song, Jongdukwon Orphanage vice-principal. "The Sailors are very loving and the children love to interact with them. Their presence here shows the kinship that we are building."

The staff then welcomed the Sailors to a traditional Korean dessert, bean-soup ice cream, while they shared laughs and stories.

"I feel really good about volunteering with our U.S. allies," said ROK navy Senior Chief Won Jeong Hyun. "Interacting with each other in a non-military capacity opens up the doors for new friendships and really gives new insight into our relationship as people."

Children soon paired up with Sailors, took them by the hand and ran out to the playground to play jump rope, soccer, compete in a three-legged race and have a water-balloon fight.

"The children really loved playing games with the Sailors," said Song. "These children don't all have parents or a home and the attention that they're getting is just what they need."

As the day came to a close, Sailors, staff and children shared snacks and posed for photos before high-fiving good-bye.

"The smiles and gratitude we received today was amazing," said Rodriguez. "The staff was extremely nice and welcoming, and the children were very friendly, eager and adorable. It makes me proud to have participated today."

George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

For more news from USS George Washington (CVN 73), visit

NNS140714-09. GW Sailors Engage with Busan Home to Foster Goodwill, Relations

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Matthew Riggs, USS George Washington Public Affairs

BUSAN, Republic of Korea (NNS) -- Sailors from the U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) visited the Busan Cheonma Jaehwalwon home for mentally disabled children and adults, July 14.

The visit was part of a community relationship project (COMREL) aimed at fostering relationships and building upon the partnership between the U.S. and Republic of Korea.

"COMRELs are especially important for our ship, given its status as forward-deployed," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Matthew Gustafson. "Since we operate in and around 7th Fleet, it's vitally important that we build and maintain good relations with our partners."

Sailors were provided a tour of the home's facilities; the center has its own dormitories, kitchen and cooking areas, classrooms, garden and pottery.

"The goal isn't to keep our members here forever," said Lee Ji Sun, an instructor at the facility. "We give them the knowledge and skills they need to one day go out into the world and live independently."

After the tour, George Washington Sailors were partnered with a member to participate in arts and crafts.

"I thought giving my time would be a good experience for me," said Yeoman 3rd Class Juan Carrillo, from Ventura, California. "I've never done this sort of thing before, and it certainly was something I'll remember. It's amazing to see how the Korean people take care of each other and how enthused they can get about it."

After completing the visit, both Sailors and Cheonma members exchanged a few gifts and said their good-byes.

"Today had a very special meaning for us," said Sun. "Everyone was so friendly and we all had a good time together. They weren't just volunteers today, they were our friends."

George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

For more news from USS George Washington (CVN 73), visit

NNS140714-06. GW Sailors Sing to Foster Good Relations With Republic of Korea

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Beverly J. Lesonik, USS George Washington Public Affairs

BUSAN, Republic of Korea (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to the forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) volunteered for a community relations (COMREL) project with Jeonghwa Noin Yoyangwon (Jeonghwa Sanatorium for senior citizens), July 12.

These Sailors might not make the American Idol, but they demonstrated their ability to entertain senior citizens through song and dance.

"I enjoy COMRELs; especially when I get to be a part of an event where there is heavy interaction between our two countries," said Aviation Ordanceman 1st Class Jesus Valverde, from Albuquerque, N.M.

Five sailors from the Republic of Korea (ROK) navy joined George Washington for the volunteer opportunity. Together, they sat and talked with residents and danced to both American and Korean songs.

"Seeing all of the smiles and hearing the laughter was definitely my favorite part of the event," said Valverde. "Some of them sang beautifully and would dance with us. I hope we influenced their day as much as they did ours."

COMRELs were established by the Department of Defense in order to foster and further good relations with communities around the world. They help to earn public support and understanding of operations, missions, and requirements of the military services, and to increase understanding of U.S. defense posture and capabilities by increasing public exposure.

"It feels good to give back to the host nation," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class Logan Hagerty, from Jacksonville, Fla. "I am lucky to experience the different ports we visit, and this is a great way to show my gratitude towards their generosity for allowing us to be here."

George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

For more news from USS George Washington (CVN 73), visit

NNS140714-04. Pearl NOC Celebrates Renovated Quarterdeck

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

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Personnel of Hangar 87 Pearl Network Operations Center (NOC) celebrated the renovation of its quarterdeck, July 10 at Ford Island.

Pearl NOC first served as an aviation hangar before and during World War II, and still wears the damage it received from the December 7th attack on Pearl Harbor.

"The team out here decided a year ago this historic building didn't have the flair they wanted it to have," said retired Vice Adm. Denby Starling, vice president and acting account executive of Navy and Marine Corps Accounts Enterprise Services, U.S. Public Sector (USPS), Hewlett-Packard (HP) Company.

The quarterdeck now displays a 10 by 14.5 feet wide mural of Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) 2010.

"The eight-month, self-help project displays the collaboration and partnership between our Navy Sailors, civilian Navy and HP on bringing Hangar 87's rich history on display," said Bill Clemente, program director of Pacific and Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, Navy account, Navy and Marine Corps account, USPS, HP Company. "We displayed the rich lineage of Hangar 87 via pictures serving first aviation and then Cyber with both Network Operations Center and Pacific Battlewatch leading down the hallway and in the quarterdeck. The HP team members' after hours' self-help worked to create the lineage photos and artifacts of the history of Hangar 87 serving our Navy for over 75 years."

The team celebrated the occasion, in honor of Hangar 87's history, with cake and beverages.

"This great quarterdeck picture stands to remind us why we're really here," said Starling, "which is to support the Navy every single day with everything we do. We're real proud of what we do, and this sort of shows a little bit of HP pride in our service to this great Navy."

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

NNS140714-03. Sailor Reunited with Family in Tacloban on Pacific Partnership

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Karolina A. Oseguera, Helicopter Maritime Sea Combat Squadron 21 Public Affairs

TACLOBAN, Philippines (NNS) -- A member of the Pacific Partnership mission team met her mother and siblings for the first time in five years in Tacloban during Pacific Partnership 2014, July 11.

"I am excited and nervous all at the same time," said Yeoman 2nd Class Hannah Herrera, assigned to Helicopter Maritime Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21, as she waited for her family members to arrive at the Tacloban City Airport. "It has been a long time since we last saw each other."

Herrera hasn't seen her family since 2009 when her mother left the United States to take care of her grandmother. Her grandmother lived in Mindanao, which is a restricted area for members of the U.S. military.

"I was 20-years-old when my mother left the states," said Herrera. "I never thought I would ever see my mother on a Navy deployment. This is a great surprise. I wasn't even expecting to pass by the Philippines."

Herrera said she was very happy when her command told her she would be participating in PP14. She is fluent in Tagalog and is a translator assisting the medical staff during engagements in Tacloban.

"This is the most Tagalog I have spoken in ages," said Herrera. "I left the Philippines when I was 12-years-old and a lot has changed since then. I know that when I see my mother's face it will all be familiar again."

The longest Herrera and her mother have been separated before this was when she was in Navy boot camp. When her mother saw her at graduation day, she cried hysterically Herrera recalls.

"It just has been too long and I am just so happy to finally see her," said Herrera. "She is so proud of what Pacific Partnership is doing out here, and she is very proud that I am in the service. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I am so grateful for."

At one o'clock, Herrera's mother landed at the Tacloban City Airport along with her brother and two sisters. They were finally reunited after five years.

"I don't know the feeling," said Teresita Herrera, Hannah's mother. "I am really happy to see her. She is so grown up. I am really proud that she is a part of this big job in Tacloban. She is a super girl to me."

Pacific Partnership is in its ninth iteration and is the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Asia-Pacific region.

For more news from Pacific Partnership, visit

NNS140712-05. USS Paul Hamilton Welcomes U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team

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

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Members of the U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team took a guided tour aboard Pearl Harbor-based guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60), July 10 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

The second-ranked U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team is in Hawaii for the USA Volleyball Cup match between Team USA and Brazil. The Navy is slated to participate in the opening ceremonies at the games.

Upon team's arrival to the pier, Sailors aboard USS Paul Hamilton cheered in unanimous greeting: "U.S.A!" Cmdr. Luke Frost, commanding officer, personally welcomed the members of the team pier side, awarding each player with commemorative ship's ball caps.

"We had a great visit from the U.S. Women's Volleyball Team," said Frost. "It was a tremendous opportunity for Sailors and players to interact and share their pride in representing the United States."

During the visit, Team USA toured the ship's bridge and later met with Sailors and signed autographs on the ship's bow, from which they also observed Battleship Missouri and USS Arizona Memorial.

"The tour was amazing and something we did not expect," said Cassidy Lichtman, member of the volleyball team. "We didn't know what was going to happen and what we were here for. We were just told that we were going to meet some members of the military and that they are excited to see us - it was so great and got us very excited."

Lichtman spoke of similarities that she noticed between the services members and sports players.

"The more Sailors talked about ship's operations, the more parallels I could see between what they do on the ship and what we do," she said. "Every person has their own job and if one person is not doing his or her job it affects the whole team - it is all about working as a team efficiently."

The commander reiterated the point of such visits not only as a morale booster for the ship's crew and athletes, but as a feeling of overall unity in doing something great for the nation.

"There are so many levels where we have things in common with these young athletes that are representing the United States, the same way as our Sailors representing this country," said Frost. "We have ties across home towns, across the love for sport and the love in representing our nation, which makes it a very exciting visit for our Sailors to enjoy and get excited about."

Paul Hamilton is one of 10 surface combatants currently assigned to Commander, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, Destroyer Squadron 31. Guided-missile destroyers are multi-mission anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare combatants that operate independently for the support of carriers and expeditionary and surface strike groups.

The games are scheduled to be played at the Stan Sheriff Center on the University of Hawaii campus at 7 p.m. July 11 and 12. Tickets for military service members are $15 and children under age of three attend for free.

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

NNS020702-16. This Day in Naval History - July 14

From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

1813 - During the War of 1812, Lt. John M. Gamble becomes the first Marine to command a ship in battle, USS Greenwich, when she captures British whaling ship Seringapatam.

1853 - Commodore Matthew C. Perry lands and holds the first meeting with the Japanese at Uraga, in which he delivers President Millard Fillmore's request for a treaty to representatives to the Emperor. Allowing time for reflection and discussion, Commodore Perry returns in March 1854 and finalizes the Treaty of Kanagawa.

1944 - USS William C. Miller (DE 259) sinks Japanese submarine (RO 48) and teams with USS Gilmer (AD 11) to sink Japanese submarine (I 6).

1945 - In the first naval gunfire bombardment of the Japanese home islands, Task Unit 34.8.1 warships bombard ironworks plant at Kamaishi, Japan.

1952 - The keel to the Navy's first "supercarrier", USS Forrestal (CVA 59), is laid down.

1955 - The first flight of jet-propelled Martin P6M seaplane is completed at Baltimore, Md.

NNS140715-04. Navy, Air Force Approve Return to Flight for F-35

From DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Airworthiness authorities for the Navy and the Air Force approved the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter fleet to resume limited flight, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said July 14.

In a statement issued this morning, Kirby said this is a limited flight clearance that includes an engine inspection regimen and and restricted flights that will remain in effect until the root cause of a June 23 engine fire on the runway at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, is identified and corrected.

The fleet was grounded July 3, putting in jeopardy a long-awaited appearance by the F-35 at the Farnborough International Airshow in England. In his statement, Kirby said officials remain hopeful that the F-35 can make an appearance at Farnborough.

"This information is an encouraging step, but no final decision has been made at this time," he said, noting that safety remains the overriding priority.

NNS140715-17. USNS Mercy Demonstrates Patient Transfer Capability at RIMPAC

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

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) personnel demonstrated their newest patient transfer capability at the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise July 10.

Two tender boats launched from Mercy to pick up patients from the shore and transported them to the Navy's hospital ship. This is a likely situation in a humanitarian assistance or disaster relief scenario when the hospital ship is at sea and patients ashore need medical care.

"These tender boats increase our capability significantly," said Capt. Jeffery Paulson, commanding officer of the Medical Treatment Facility (MTF) aboard Mercy. "These new boats are larger and can accommodate more patients."

The exercise also provided a valuable training opportunity for Mercy civilian mariners and military medical personnel to coordinate with each other.

"This is a great experience for all of us," said Baron Garvey, a Military Sealift Command (MSC) cargo mate assigned to Mercy. "My job is to manage, plan and execute all deck operations, and it's important that we work together with the medical team. This will help us prepare for real-life missions."

Chief Hospital Corpsman Jashir Setias, an independent duty corpsman assigned to Mercy, highlighted the value of realistic training to prepare Sailors to be ready for future real-world situations.

"We are training hard today so we will be ready for a real situation," said Setias. "One day these corpsman will be called upon to respond to an emergency or they will participate in a humanitarian mission. Because we are training for those situations today, we will be ready in the future."

Corpsmen assigned to the tender boats stabilize, secure and monitor the patient during the transfer.

"The tender boats are like aquatic ambulances," said Hospitalman Nickolas Ross, from Portland, Oregon. "This is my first time doing something like this. I'm looking forward to stepping in to see what logistics are involved to get a patient into the boat and then to get him up into casualty receiving on Mercy. I'm excited learn."

Throughout the exercise, Mercy MTF personnel will participate in medical subject matter expert exchanges with other nations ashore and at-sea and will participate in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercise events.

Mercy, homeported in San Diego, is in Pearl Harbor participating for the first time in RIMPAC. Mercy is one of two Navy hospital ships, crewed by civil service mariners assigned to MSC.

Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 26 - Aug. 1, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2014 is the 24th exercise in the series that began in 1971.

NNS140715-15. USNS Mercy Holds RIMPAC Mass Casualty Drill

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Pyoung K. Yi, USNS Mercy Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Medical and support staff aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) took part in a four-day mass casualty drill July 9-12 as a part of Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014.

The Mercy team participated in a wide-ranging drill which included mock surgeries performed on state-of-the-art suits that simulate traumatic injuries to internal organs, receiving patients via the ship's two Fassmer Life/Tender Boats for the first time and treating a number all with the intent of maintaining mission readiness and sharing ideas with partner nation military medical personnel.

"The purpose of the training was to demonstrate our capabilities with the different training tools we have," said Lt. Katherine Chiu, division officer of the operating room ward aboard Mercy. "For instance, we are showing our SimMan 3G mannequins, adult life support mannequins and cut suits in certain situations to demonstrate our capabilities and our education in medical situations."

During the initial day of the drill, medical officers and hospital corpsmen shared ideas and methods to international military medical personnel on the triage system, advanced cardiac skills, surgical procedures, Mercy's protocols, and ways to diagnose patients, among other things.

"The important takeaway here is that we are not teaching, but sharing," said Lt. Jessica Naranjo, division officer for main operating room aboard Mercy. "We're sharing the approach we have toward medicine in the United States. We are showing our partner nations how we train."

Attendees of the drill included military medical personnel from Canada, China, the Philippines and Singapore.

The diversity of the attendees made an impression on one hospital corpsman from Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group (NAVELSG) who was invited to take part in the joint training alongside the other nations.

"All the technology and the real-life simulations, the multinational exposure, especially to nations I've never met before, it's been quite an experience," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Chad Saunders, NAVELSG. "Working with these partner nations' medical personnel and learning alongside them has been one of the highlights of this drill for me."

To prepare for a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief effort, Mercy's crew managed a simulated event in which patients were transported on tender boats from an island to the ship after suffering injuries during a hurricane.

"We proved that the boat transfer of patients can go relatively smooth," said Capt. Mark Flynn, the training team leader for the drill. "It was the first time we used real patients and moved them physically off the boats onto the Mercy. No one was dropped, which is always a good thing, and they all made it successfully onto the Mercy and were treated for their injuries."

Flynn said the exercise helped team leaders evaluate how well Mercy's crew can manage patients arriving by boat.

"We learned a lot of lessons from this drill, both good ones and ones we need to work on, but things like this are how we get better at what we do," Flynn added.

The patient boat transfer exercise was in partnership with the state of Hawaii and civilian and military organizations at sea and on land.

This year's RIMPAC marks the first time in the exercises history that hospital ships have participated. PLA(N) hospital ship Ark Peace (T-AH 866) and Mercy are scheduled to hold more mock disaster relief drills and exercises sea.

Twenty-two nations, 49 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC exercise from June 26 to Aug. 1, in and around the California Coast and the Hawaiian Islands.

NNS140715-02. RIMPAC 2014 Participants Conduct Sinking Exercise

From Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet Publi Affairs

PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Live fire from ships, submarines and aircraft participating in the Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) 2014 sank the decommissioned USS Tuscaloosa (LST 1187) at about 12:15 p.m., July 14, in waters 15,000 feet deep, 57 nautical miles northwest of Kauai.

Units from Brunei, Canada, Japan and the United States participated in the sinking exercise (SINKEX), which provided them the opportunity to gain proficiency in tactics, targeting and live firing against a surface target at sea.

"This was an opportunity for the participating nations to take advantage of the excellent training infrastructure and ranges that are available in the Hawaiian Islands," said Deputy Commander of the RIMPAC Combined Task Force, Royal Australian navy Rear Adm. Simon Cullen. "It enabled individual units to conduct training that they could not otherwise have in their own waters and allowed them to improve their interoperability by working with their partner nations to achieve the training objective."

Former Navy vessels used in SINKEXs are prepared in strict compliance with regulations prescribed and enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Strict environmental compliance is observed during all SINKEXs. Each SINKEX is required to sink the hulk in at least 1,000 fathoms (6,000 feet) and at least 50 nautical miles from land.

Surveys are conducted to ensure that humans and marine mammals are not in an area where they could be harmed during the event.

USS Tuscaloosa (LST 1187) was a Newport-class tank landing ship commissioned in 1970, the second Navy ship named for the Alabama city. The ship deployed numerous times to the Western Pacific. Tuscaloosa earned a Meritorious Unit Commendation for Operation New Life, when she escorted 26 Vietnamese navy vessels to the Philippines after Saigon fell in 1975. Tuscaloosa was decommissioned in 1994.

For more news from Rim of the Pacific, visit

NNS140715-05. Mount Whitney Returns to Gaeta, Italy after Completing BALTOPS

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Mike Wright, USS Mount Whitney Public Affairs

GAETA, Italy (NNS) -- The U.S. 6th Fleet command and control ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) arrived in Gaeta, Italy July 15, after completing Baltic Operations 2014 (BALTOPS) with its European counterparts.

BALTOPS is an annual, multinational exercise designed to enhance maritime capabilities, interoperability and support regional stability. This year's BALTOPS, the 42nd iteration of the exercise, saw the participation of naval forces from 14 countries including Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

"BALTOPS was an amazing exercise," said Yeoman 2nd Class Roman Garcia. "I think it was awesome to work with our European allies, it was great having the opportunity to learn from one another while creating a stronger global force of unified nations."

The training objectives of the exercise included gunnery, replenishment-at-sea, anti-submarine warfare, radar tracking and interception, mine countermeasures, seamanship, search and rescue, maritime interdiction operations and scenarios dealing with potential real world crises and maritime security.

Mount Whitney's crew dedicated a significant amount of their time building stronger relationships with regional partners and allied nations with port visits to Sweden, Germany, and Belgium, ensuring the advancement, security and stability in Europe.

"I couldn't believe that we were actually involved in such a historically known exercise like this, said Information Systems Technician 1st Class Danny Suarez. "Many of the local nationals that we met were very warm and welcoming. They really enjoyed our presence in their country," said Suarez. "I loved being a part of this mission. It was great!"

During Mount Whitney's extended underway period, Sailors had the opportunity to experience many different cultures, including festivals, foods, music, and dialects in Karlskrona, Sweden; Kiel, Germany; and Brugge, Belgium.

Mount Whitney, forward deployed to Gaeta, Italy, operates with a combined crew of U.S. Navy Sailors and Military Sealift Command civil service mariners. The civil service mariners perform navigation, deck, engineering and supply service operations, while military personnel support communications, weapons systems and security. It is one of only two seaborne joint command platforms in the U.S. Navy, both of which are forward deployed.

U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint, and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and 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

NNS140715-06. USS Nitze Returns to Homeport

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Maddelin Angebrand, Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- Guided-missile destroyer USS Nitze (DDG 94) returned to Naval Station Norfolk July 15 following a nearly eight-month deployment in the 6th Fleet Area of Operations.

Nitze entered the theater in December, 2013 via the Mediterranean Sea and Suez Canal. Her crew conducted maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts there, and remained off the Horn of Africa for the majority of her deployment.

The crew spent more than 200 days at sea and conducted three port visits in support of maritime partnerships with Seychelles, Italy and Mauritius. In port, more than 130 Sailors volunteered a total of 760 hours on six different community relations projects making repairs to community buildings, constructing playgrounds, and bonding with children from several orphanages.

"The Nitze Sailors are some of the most devoted and hardworking individuals I have ever had the opportunity to lead projects with," said Lt. Marian King, Nitze chaplain. "The international communities that welcomed our teams were blown away at how devoted and motivated the Sailors were. The locals joked with me while we were watching a group of Sailors build a playground from scratch: 'Chaps, your Sailors are machines. Do they ever get tired?'"

Many Sailors excelled on an individual level and helped one another accomplish watchstanding and warfare qualifications, other career milestones. Among their many accomplishments, nine Sailors reenlisted, 29 advanced to the next paygrade and 45 Sailors earned a total of 135 college credits while underway. Additionally, 68 Sailors earned their Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist qualification.

"Deployment can be rough at first, but it gets better once you start to realize that you can accomplish a lot of positive things out here, like going to the gym and getting your fitness level up," said Fire Controlman 2nd Class Jason Shaull. "Another good thing about deployment is that I was able to complete some online classes and get closer to accomplishing my degree."
Cmdr. Michelle Nakamura, Nitze commanding officer, shared her insight on why the Nitze was so successful during this deployment.

"I would say the number one factor is the Nitze Sailor. Our schedule was very compressed and very challenging. When we were faced with obstacles and had to get through things, everybody really pulled together; we powered through everything," she explained.

"That was absolutely our number one factor for success."

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

NNS140715-01. Kearsarge Completes Sea Trials

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Travis DiPerna, USS Kearsarge Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- Amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) returned to homeport Naval Station Norfolk, July 14, after completing sea trials.

These sea trials consisted of a series of evolutions to test the integrity of the work performed by the contractors recently performed during a five-month planned maintenance availability at BAE Systems Norfolk Ship Repair.

"During this underway we tested all the work done by contractors at BAE, ship's force, and AIT (Alteration Installation Team)," said Cmdr. Douglas Waskiewicz, Kearsarge's chief engineer.

This sea trial wasn't scheduled because the contractors' work wasn't trusted, but all installations must be tested at sea to ensure they function properly when needed most.

"It is kind of like buying a new car," said Command Master Chief David Randall. "You don't buy a car without taking it out for a test drive. It is the same thing. They have done a lot of work on the ship and we wanted to make sure it all works before it's all signed off on. If anything isn't working, we have warranties for it to be fixed."

Once all the testing was completed and the ship pulled back in port, civilian contractors came aboard to assess the amount of repairs needed and to create a plan to tackle the job.

Not only was there operational testing of the installments from contractors, but many other evolutions have occurred as a result of this underway period. There have been numerous drills such as man overboard drills, high speed maneuvers and rudder swing checks, flying squad drills, crew live fires, streamed AN/SLQ-25A (Nixie) and main space fire drills.

"This underway has been stressful and we put in a lot of hours, but I am happy to be back at sea doing what I was trained to do," said Machinist's Mate Fireman Trevor Catizone, who works in the forward main machinery room which conducted main space fire drills and maintains ship's power.

Besides all of the training and drills, Kearsarge is just trying to get back into the swing of being underway.

"Being in the ship yards wasn't fun for anyone, but it will get the crew back into the mindset of doing our job, and that is being out to sea protecting our country," said Randall.

Along with all of the surface warfare tasks, Kearsarge also performed a fuel certification test, which is part of the overall air certification needed in order to fly military aircraft off the flight deck.

The fuel certification involved starting the systems back up in the pump rooms, getting fuel topside without any leakage, inspecting the pipes, pressures, the purifiers, the hose reels, and all the fuel stations.

"It has been a good change of pace and routine for us and that is always good," said Master Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate Lance Hands, Kearsarge's air department leading chief petty officer. "The hours were long and the work was strenuous, but at least the weather has been nice out and I am happy to report that we are now certified to pump fuel."

Kearsarge will continue with certification exercises throughout the summer.

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

NNS140715-25. Naval Hospital Bremerton Corpsmen support Black Hills 2014 Joint Field Exercise

By Douglas H. Stutz, Naval Hospital Bremerton Public Affairs

BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- The Black Hills of South Dakota are about as far removed from the open ocean as can be, but that was exactly where Sailors from Naval Hospital Bremerton have been training of late.

Four teams of hospital corpsmen are taking part in 2014 Joint Field Exercise (JFE) not only supporting the Army National Guard's Officer Candidate Program and 196th Regiment, but also honing their skills in austere surroundings similar to down range in Afghanistan.

The 2014 JFE is centered at the historical U.S. Army outpost of Fort Meade. The base continues to provide significant operational focus and preparatory training due to the surrounding terrain being suitable grounds for engaging in maneuvers, exercise and evolutions for personnel who deployed to Iraqi for Operation Iraqi Freedom in the past and for those who are heading down-range to Afghanistan to support Operation Enduring Freedom.

According to Electronics Technician Chief Jack Bower, JFE coordinator, NHB's corpsmen have been tasked with supporting the Army National Guard's Officer Candidate Program, an eight-week long course that started in June.

"Based on their training schedule, they need teams of four corpsmen to provide medical coverage to 50-100 staff and 100-200 officer candidates during the various events and field exercises. To accomplish this we are sending four, four-person teams for approximately two weeks apiece," said Bower, adding that NHB was able to send 15 corpsmen this year. "This is a special opportunity and we are looking for more opportunities like this to expand the number of corpsmen that get this additional training and experience."

Each corpsmen team spends 15 days at Fort Meade, which allows a day for turnover with the previous team, getting in some familiarization with their surroundings, and then undertaking 14 days of providing medical coverage and medical support, primarily in the field.

Bower attests that there are several objectives that the corpsmen are being entrusted to accomplish during their time in South Dakota.

"First, we want our corpsmen to expand their medical knowledge by working in an environment similar to what they might experience in the field as a fleet marine force (FMF) corpsman or even in some ways as an independent duty corpsman (IDC) and less like in our own well-staffed hospital. Second, we want our corpsmen to experience how the Army practices field medicine so that they have that knowledge and experience that may serve them in the future if they go on deployments with joint service medical missions and facilities," Bower explained.

Some of the field exercises have required the corpsman to be able to operate relatively autonomously or with a small team. The corpsmen are also working side-by-side on a daily basis with both junior and senior Army medics and physician assistants (PA) to provide needed medical care to any patient in need, as well as receive instruction, guidance and hands-on experience in working with and in a joint environment.

"Our corpsmen have told me that through this experience they have experienced an approach to medicine, meaning field medicine, that they have not seen before and it has provided them a new perspective on medicine in the field and in combat situations," noted Bower.

"This exercise was a very beneficial training opportunity not only to establish joint operations with Army medical, but to also provide first hand experiences with the Army. The other corpsmen and I noticed the Army has a whole different language compared to the Navy," said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Kimberly Huidor, just returned from the exercise.

During the two weeks that Huidor, an El Paso, Texas native, spent at Fort Meade, she and her fellow corpsmen actively took part in supporting the officer candidates in their five and ten mile hikes, engaging in day and night navigation, conducting morning and evening sick-call, and providing tailgate medicine during chow hours.

"We did everything from distributing simple medications, to patching up blisters, combating a heat casualty and providing IV fluids to both instructors and students," said Huidor.

Bower stresses that the major benefit for the corpsmen being with their fellow Army service members is being able to broaden their vision and gain experience as it relates to future service in joint military medicine evolutions. Many of the corpsmen are relatively new to the Navy and their experience has just been limited to their rating school, followed by being assigned in a military treatment facility/hospital setting. 2014 JFE is an opportunity that affords them a glimpse of other prospects in the military's medical field that could spark an interest to professionally pursue in their future.

"The second great benefit is that our corpsmen also attended several training and certification events prior to their departure, which was oriented at improving each corpsman's ability and confidence to work autonomously, raising their baseline medical knowledge level, and teaching them tactical medicine. Other benefits include experiencing how another branch of the military approaches medical practices, learning about and then practicing medicine in the field, and (also) getting to experience a beautiful and historical part of our country," said Bower.

Including Navy Medicine assets in this Army pilot program has raised a few challenges, specifically in communication and coordination, but Bower attests that the differences in the services has been bridged and the end result has been that valuable lessons have been learned and will be incorporated into future JFEs.

"With this the initial establishment of the program, we have had to understand the Army's program, their medical service needs, and also ensure that we thought of everything that our corpsmen could encounter. It has been a big task," Bower said. "But having our boots on the ground at Fort Meade, working side-by-side with the fantastic staff of the 196th Regiment, and witnessing a program that is able to contribute to the larger goals of our hospital has been very rewarding."

Each corpsman has been required to attend Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) prior to JFE. TCCC required all participants to wear Kevlar, field vests, and helmets. They carry weapon simulators, and navigate tactically while treating patients wounded in combat. The challenging course is built to help the corpsman think about his or her surroundings, be able to focus under stress, and ensure that the correct medical treatment is provided in a simulated combat environment. Even bolstered with that training, the involvement in JFE was scaled back to concentrate primarily on providing direct medical support if and when needed.

"The corpsmen's main role in the Army's program required limited involvement in the actual land navigation or combat exercises because we are there to ensure medical coverage. They get to experience all of the exercise, but from a safe perspective. Some of our corpsmen elected to take part on several of the Army's marches and I'm proud to say that they did very well," Bower said.

A typical 2014 JFE day for the corpsmen had them up early to provide medical coverage for pre-breakfast exercises such as combatant training, challenge courses, three mile runs, and water survival training. They then cond

NNS140715-12. Naval Aviator Recognized for Putting Wounded Warrior Sailors First

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timmy Wakefield

GREAT LAKES, Ill. (NNS) -- A regular, Friday morning quarters, May 7, turned into a rewarding, yet somber moment for staff members of Commander, Navy Region Midwest (CNRMW).

Navy Wounded Warrior (NWW) - Safe Harbor representative of the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center (FHCC), Lt. Michael A. Chalfant was presented a spot Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medal.

Chalfant, a helicopter pilot, was inducted into the NWW - Safe Harbor program in 2013. The transition from pilot to medical has "been a challenging, yet rewarding experience because the program is Sailor-focused." It focuses on how Sailors are treated, what options are best for them and their family situations.
His story took place when a terminally ill Sailor was transferred to Lovell FHCC in 2013.

"Unfortunately, we had a Hospital Corpsman who had been battling cancer for a year," said Chalfant. "We sent him up to Milwaukee to receive chemotherapy and radiation. None of the treatment was working."

As a last resort, it was determined that the Sailor needed a bone marrow transplant. They sent him to Minneapolis, Minn., for the treatment.

"We had to help him find a genetic match for a bone marrow transplant," said Chalfant. "After numerous tests from multiple candidates, it was declared the Sailor's mother was a perfect match for the bone marrow transplant."

The match for the treatment failed and the Sailor became sicker.

"The Sailor was given a timeline of two weeks to live after an unsuccessful treatment," said Chalfant. "His only request was to go back home to be with his family, lie on the beach one more time and enjoy the sun. The Sailor's request was ultimately denied because it was determined the flight was 'one of convenience and not for the care of the Sailor.'"

"We then turned to our Tricare representative," explained Chalfant. "We found that there was a provision that we could transfer him for care because it was under a hospice care condition."

Tricare paid for the Sailor's medical evacuation flight home to live out his final days.

"Unfortunately, the Sailor died twelve hours after he arrived in Daytona Beach, Fla.," said Chalfant.

His unrelenting persistence, dedication and care gave the Sailor a chance to live out his final hours as he wanted.

The NWW - Safe Harbor program is "a program in which a wounded warrior can determine the best place to get care," explained Chalfant.

Now, Chalfant has a case that is part of his command, CNRMW. He is working with NWW Interior Communications Technician 3rd Class Angel Andrade who was transferred to Lovell FHCC from USS Bainbridge (DDG 96) to receive care for his recent cancer diagnosis.

His wife, Yeoman 2nd Class Brittany Andrade, stationed at CNRMW, and his family is located nearby.
"I've been diagnosed with stage 2B testicular cancer," said Andrade. "I was originally stationed on USS Bainbridge in Norfolk, Va. It was my first ship. I was only on it for six months. I liked my command and the people. I wasn't ready to leave because it's the start of my career."

Andrade stated he first noticed signs of trouble when he fell into pain during watch.

"I just felt this terrible pain," said Andrade. "I was standing watch when it hit me. I finished the watch and went to the emergency room."

The doctors told Andrade he had a tumor rupture, which ultimately expanded within itself causing the intense pain.

"I had just gotten off maternity leave when I received the news," said Brittany, who just had a newborn son, Sawyer, four months ago. "I asked for more leave regarding the situation with my husband, and my Chief Yeoman Jevon Echols referred me to Lt. Chalfant for help with the situation. He helped us coordinate to get my husband over here."

The leadership of CNRMW was involved in helping the Andrade's. CNMRW Commanding Officer, Capt. Frank Martin, and Chief Staff Officer Cmdr. Kevin Barnett, and Command Master Chief (CMDCM) John Hall, CNRMW, coordinated with USS Bainbridge CMDCM Laura Nunley to get Andrade over to the Lovell FHCC.

"There were numerous options we could take," said Hall. "It was decided by the Andrade's that Angel is taken care of over here because of their newborn child and the convenience of family living in the area."

"The hospital in Virginia wanted me to stay there for treatment," said Andrade. "I determined that it was better to be with my wife, Brittany, because we just had a child, and also my family is here too."

Eventually, the NWW received word of Andrade's diagnosis and wanted to hear what he wanted to do.

Andrade said the NWW really pushed for his wish to be with his family during his time of treatment and recovery. He was issued orders 24 hours after his initial request to be with his family in Great Lakes, Ill.
"The ultimate goal is for a full recovery, as well as progression in Andrade's Navy career," said Chalfant. "Right now, the immediate phase is focusing on his recovery."

"I'm feeling positive with all the help and treatment Lt. Chalfant and the NWW has helped me with," said Andrade. "I'm grateful for this program."

"I wasn't expecting an award for what I've done to help my Sailors," said Chalfant. "Just helping Sailors and being humble about is all I ever want. It was a nice surprise being recognized for my work."

For more information on the NWW - Safe Harbor program, call the NWW Care Line at 855-628-9997, or visit:

For more news from Commander, Navy Region Midwest/Naval Station Great Lakes, visit:

NNS140715-09. Logistics Support Representatives Aid Forward Deployed Ships

By Sky M. Laron, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Director of Corporate Communications

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Yokosuka logistics support representatives (LSRs), conducted a pier sweep alongside USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) and USS Lassen (DDG 82) ensuring equipment and high priority parts were identified and verified ready for storage on board Yokosuka Naval Base July 8.

The pier sweep was just one of countless tasks LSRs perform daily as part of the processing, coordinating and expediting of logistics requirements to support home ported and all transiting ships within the Asia Pacific area of responsibility (AOR).

"My main job is ship support," said Logistics Specialist 1st Class Elijah Burgos, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka LSR. "We are basically an extension of the ship's supply department."

LSRs are extremely effective in providing boots-on-ground support to the fleet. From tracking down and receiving critical parts to coordinating deliveries of provisions, stores, mail and fuel.

"With the 7th Fleet ships always being forward deployed they need to be ready to go and that's where we come in," said Burgos.

That is why Burgos and the other LSRs across the entire NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka enterprise from Guam to Diego Garcia hit the deckplate running on a daily basis.

"LSRs go that 'last tactical mile' to ensure that our customers' logistics requirements are met," said Lt. Peter Rivera, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka logistics support officer. "LSRs coordinate between the various shore supporting activities to deliver the services customers request so the customer does not have to 're-invent' the wheel and build those relationships themselves, the LSR already has built them and uses them to support the ship."

NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka is the Western Pacific logistics integrator providing material, postal, bulk fuel and supply chain services to afloat and shore based commands, said Rivera.

"If their ship is in home port, the LSRs will visit their ship at least twice a week to go over any logistics concerns the ship has. Whether it is scheduling a crane to support an [air detachment] on load or reserving a bus for a gun shoot, the LSRs coordinate with the ship's LSC or S-1 LPO," said Rivera.

More visits and meetings will take place when the ship is undergoing a major evolution such as deployment, added Rivera.

When a ship is deployed, the LSRs will provide distance support such as ensuring that the ship receives its high priority requisitions, said Rivera, adding "if the ship is visiting a foreign port the LSR might even be called upon to provide boots-on-ground support during that port visit providing all the same services as at the home port to include scheduling delivery of mail and parts but also searching for ways for the ship to save money during its port visit."

"One LSR enabled the Navy to save approximately $75K in port costs during a recent visit to Ishinomaki, Japan," said Rivera.

So whether it's running along the pier ensuring freight and equipment gets to its desired destination or manning the phones to ensure contractors are able to deliver desired services for their ship customer, the LSR is everywhere the fleet needs to be, ensuring maximum support.

"My job is to lighten their logistical load," said Burgos. "When they pull in somewhere an LSR will be there."

NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka, one of eight fleet logistics centers under NAVSUP Global Logistics Support (GLS), is the Western Pacific region's largest U.S. Navy logistics command, headquartered just 26 miles due south of Tokyo, the enterprise networks more than 20 sites and fuel terminals from Misawa, Japan, to Sydney, Australia; Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean to Guam with a mission to serve the Asia Pacific Region's forward deployed maritime warfighter with around the clock logistics support.

For more news from Naval Supply Systems Command, visit

NNS140715-08. Miles of Pulled Cables Help Ike Prepare for Return to Sea

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jermaine M. Ralliford, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Public Affairs

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) -- The anchors have been reinstalled, the "69" lights are up and running on the ship's superstructure, and various other teams remain busy with preservation, restoration and reinstallation of the systems that make the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (Ike) run.

Among the ship's many docking planned incremental availability period (DPIA) projects, the ship's cableway improvement team's task of pulling miles and miles of cables throughout the ship reached its completion, June 16.

The cableway team removed 6,450 dead-end cables from the cableways throughout the ship, which is equivalent to 225,700 feet (48.4 miles) of cable. They pulled 188 of those cables to assist VT Milcom with the Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) installation. The cableway team completed all its DPIA jobs ahead of schedule and without any need for rework.

"We were the ones tasked with removing dead-end cables and going through the whole ship inspecting it in preparation for [the Board of Inspection and Survey] (INSURV)" ship qualification process, said Chief Electronics Technician Gregory Reno, the cableway team leader.

The team consisted of 30 Sailors (three first class petty officers, eight second class petty officers, 13 third class petty officers and six E-3 and below Sailors) from the ship's Combat Systems, Air and Engineering departments.

"Our team did a lot of good," said Information Systems Technician 1st Class Francis Bartoszak, a cableway team member. "Together we pulled more than 200,000 feet of cable. I feel good knowing we had a good group of people who could bring the ship back into standards for INSURV."

Bartoszak is one of two team members who created a database to track all the cableway jobs the team performed ahead of Ike's inspection. They used the database to track man hours and help schedule outstanding maintenance. The team shared the database with the cableway team aboard the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). Truman is scheduled to join Ike Norfolk Naval Shipyard later this year.

"I think my team performed outstandingly," Reno said. "There were some rough spots where we had to work a little longer than others, but we had to get the job done. They worked hard, and I give all the credit in the world to them.

"I couldn't have asked for a better team," Reno said.

Dwight D. Eisenhower is scheduled to conclude her current DPIA shipyard period later this year.

For more news from USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), visit

NNS140714-27. NTTC Lackland Welcomes New Commander

By Master-at-Arms 1st Class Candice Boyd, Center for Security Forces Public Affairs

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (NNS) -- Cmdr. Lee Alexander turned over command of Naval Technical Training Center (NTTC) Lackland over to Cmdr. Bart Fabacher during a change-of-command ceremony at Mitchell Hall, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, July 11.

Center for Security Forces Commanding Officer, Capt. Raymond Benedict, served as officiating official and guest speaker.

"Taking care of Sailors is important and on his watch, Lee and NTTC Lackland have done a great job. He has institutionalized programs here that exceed the Navy's standards. Lee's work can be summarized by one word - leadership," said Benedict.

A native of Belton, South Carolina, Alexander enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1985. He was later selected for the Navy's Enlisted Commissioning Program and earning a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of North Florida, he received his commission in 1995. In 2004, he earned his Master's Degree in Business Organizational Security Management from Webster University.

Alexander assumed command of NTTC Lackland July 12, 2014 and in his remarks, he earnestly gave thanks to friends, family and the NTTC Staff for their support over the last two years. His next tour of duty will be at Naval Education and Training Command headquarters located in Pensacola, Florida.

"These last two years in command have been the absolute best two years in my professional life," Alexander said. "It has been my utmost pleasure to work alongside each and every one of you."

Fabacher, a native of Huntsville, Ala. enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1990 and received his commission in 1996. He holds master's degrees in Military Operational Art, Business Administration, and Operations Management. He has also earned certification as a Senior Professional in Human Resources, a Project Management Professional from the Project Management Institute and a Six Sigma Black Belt from the American Society for Quality.

Prior to assuming command of NTTC Lackland, Fabacher was stationed at Naval Personnel Command in Millington, Tennessee. There he served as Branch Head for both the Officer Subspecialty Management and Full Time Support Enlisted Detailing branches.

"I have three priorities for NTTC Lackland," stated Fabacher. "The first is standards guide the training we provide. Do not assume for a second that we are smarter than the rules. The second is safety because we cannot send injured Sailors to the Fleet; therefore, keep your head on a swivel, watch out for your shipmates, and train safely to the standards. The third is production. This is the only reason we are here and that is to provide the fleet with Sailors who are safely trained to the standards."

NTTC Lackland is home to one of the Navy's largest apprenticeship "A" schools for Sailors looking to serve in the Master-at-Arms (MA) enlisted rating. MA "A" school has graduated an average of 1,675 Sailors over the last two years. Graduates go on to perform a wide range of antiterrorism and security forces duties throughout the fleet and around the world.

The Center for Security Forces is the parent command for Naval Technical Training Center Lackland. The Center provides specialized training to more than 28,000 students each year. It has 14 training locations across the U.S. and around the world.

For more news from and information about the Center for Security Forces, visit,, or

NNS140714-28. Granddaughter of One of 'The Sullivans' Reviews Recruit Graduation

By Scott A. Thornbloom, Naval Service Training Command Public Affairs

GREAT LAKES, Ill. (NNS) -- Rear Adm. Rich Brown, commander, Naval Service Training Command (NSTC) hosted Kelly Sullivan Loughren, the granddaughter of one of the Sailor brothers known as "The Fighting Sullivans", during a Recruit Training Command (RTC) Pass-In-Review (PIR) graduation at Great Lakes, Ill., July 11.

Sullivan Loughren was invited by Brown to serve as reviewing officer at the weekly PIR, The admiral has known the third-grade school teacher from Cedar Falls, Iowa, since he was the fifth commanding officer of the USS The Sullivans (DDG 68). She was the ship's sponsor and christened the aegis guided-missile destroyer on Aug. 12, 1995 at Bath, Maine. She was also on hand for the commissioning on April 19, 1997 in Staten Island, New York.

"Kelly represents an important heritage of our Navy and embodies the ideals of service we instill in recruits at RTC. I have learned a lot from our time together, and I know that the recruits graduating today (July 11) will benefit from her wisdom as well," said Brown.

Sullivan Loughren's grandfather, Albert, and his four brothers from Waterloo, Iowa, served together aboard the light cruiser USS Juneau (CL-52) during World War II. The Sullivan brothers: George, 28; Francis, 27; Joseph, 24; Madison, 23; and Albert, 20; lost their lives during the Battle of Guadalcanal on Nov. 13, 1942. They were adamant about serving together in spite of the Navy wartime policy to separate family members. Surviving the brothers were their parents, Thomas and Alleta, their sister Genevieve, and the youngest brothers wife, Katherine, and their son, James. The family today includes two grandchildren of Albert Sullivan: Kelly Ann Sullivan Loughren and John Sullivan.

"My grandfather and his brothers were all about service just as the recruits graduating today also will be volunteering their service to the Navy," said Sullivan Loughren. "I know that my grandfather and grand-uncles were here with us in spirit today."

Sullivan Loughren is a representative for Gold Star Mothers of America today. She participated in the 50th Anniversary of V-J Day at Pearl Harbor in 1995 representing World War II mothers. She received the 1995 honor because she is a lifetime member of the Society of Sponsors of the United States Navy. She is also a board member of the Sullivan Foundation. She is actively involved with ship activities on The Sullivans and works to keep the ship and her crew connected to the Sullivan family and the city of Waterloo.

"The five Sullivan Brothers epitomize Honor, Courage and Commitment!" said Brown. "Often our friends and family who support us at home and who survive us, do the most to honor our service. I would like to thank Kelly for all she has done in her service to her family, our country and our shipmates. She has truly made a difference."

In her speech as the reviewing officer she told the more than 500 graduating recruits and their more than 1,000 family members and friends in attendance in the USS Midway Ceremonial Drill Hall to carry on the legacy of those before them.

"Each recruit has selfishly answered a call to duty and serve a cause greater than them. These men and women have proven themselves worthy to wear the uniform that symbolizes freedom around the world - the uniform of the United States Navy," said an emotional Sullivan Loughren as she spoke to the graduating recruits and their family members.

"I hope the Sailors of today always take their service seriously and never forget those who came before them," she said. "Naval Station Great Lakes has a very special place in my heart as my grandfather and his brothers first came through Great Lakes for training before they went to World War II. I know they are here and just as proud of all these graduating recruits as I am. They are all my heroes," Sullivan Loughren said.

On Friday morning, before graduation, Sullivan Loughren was afforded the opportunity to see how today's Navy recruits live with a tour of Recruit Training Command (RTC). She started the morning with breakfast in the USS Arizona, a recruit barracks.

Arizona and the 13 other recruit barracks on RTC are set up like a ship. They have berthing (sleeping) compartments, galleys, classrooms, quarterdecks, laundry facilities and offices. The last of the specialized barracks was finished in July 2010 successfully completing a 12-year $770 million recapitalization plan to meet the mission of training 21st Century Sailors.

Today, more than 35,000 recruits graduate annually from RTC and begin their Navy careers.

Sullivan Loughren and her fiance, Frank Jowitt, were escorted by Brown and Capt. W. Douglas Pfeifle, RTC commanding officer, on a tour of the Navy's largest simulator, USS Trayer (BST 21). Trayer is a 210-foot-long replica of an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer where Battle Stations is held and is the final evolution recruits must pass before graduating from boot camp.
Recruits spend an entire night on board Trayer loading stores, getting underway, handling mooring lines, manning general quarter stations, stopping floods and combating shipboard fires. It is as close to being underway as a recruit can get before they receive orders to their first ship. It is also considered the final evaluation of a recruit's reactions in tight situations and a chance for the recruit to see how far they have come in their training.

"This was such an amazing, amazing day that I will always remember," she said.

In closing her speech at the PIR graduation, Loughren Sullivan reminded the recruits what she also told those in attendance at the christening of USS The Sullivans as a blessing to the newest Sailors of the Navy.

"In honor of my grandfather and his brothers, I say congratulations Sailors. May the 'Luck of the Irish' always be with you. God bless you all, our Navy and the United States of America."

Naval Battle of Guadalcanal

On Nov. 8, 1942, The Sullivan brothers and Juneau departed Noumea, New Caledonia, as a unit of TF 67 under the command of Rear Adm. Richmond K. Turner to escort reinforcements to Guadalcanal. The force arrived there in the early morning on Nov. 12, and Juneau took up her station in the protective screen around the transports and cargo vessels. Unloading proceeded unmolested until 2:05 p.m., when 30 Japanese planes attacked the United States group. The anti-aircraft (AA) fire was effective, and Juneau alone accounted for six enemy torpedo bombers shot down. The few remaining Japanese planes were in turn attacked by American fighters; only one bomber escaped.

Later in the day, an American attack group of cruisers and destroyers cleared Guadalcanal on reports that a large enemy surface force was headed for the island. At 1:48 a.m. on Nov. 13, Rear Adm. Daniel J. Callaghan's relatively small landing support group engaged the enemy. The Japanese force consisted of two battleships, one light cruiser, and nine destroyers.

Because of bad weather and confused communications, the battle occurred in near pitch darkness and at almost point-blank range as the ships of the two sides became intermingled. During the melee, Juneau was struck on the port side by a torpedo causing a severe list, and necessitating withdrawal. Before noon on Nov. 13, Juneau, along with two other cruisers damaged in the battle - Helena and San Francisco - headed toward Espiri

NNS020702-17. This Day in Naval History - July 15

From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

1862 - While CSS Arkansas makes her way down the Yazoo River, she encounters the Union gunboats USS Carondelet, USS Tyler, and USS Queen of the West. In the ensuing battle, CSS Arkansas damages the first two vessels and makes her way into the Mississippi River, where she boldly fights through the Federal fleet to find refuge at the Confederate batteries at Vicksburg, Miss.

1942 - USS Grunion (SS 216) sinks the Japanese submarine chasers (25 and 26) off Kiska, Aleutian Islands.

1942 - USS Terror (CM 5), the first minelayer built as such, is commissioned. During World War II she participates in Operation Torch, the Battle for Iwo Jima, and the Okinawa Invasion, where she is struck by a kamikaze on May 1, 1945.

1943 - TBF aircraft from (VC 29) from USS Santee (CVE 29) sinks German submarine (U 509) south of the Azores.

1943 - PBY (VP 92) and British destroyer HMS Rochester and frigates HMS Mignonette and HMS Balsam sink German submarine (U 135) west of the Canary Islands. Previously, (U 135) sank 3 and damaged 1 Allied vessels, none from the U.S.

NNS140716-06. USNS Mercy Departs Pearl Harbor for RIMPAC's Sea Phase

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Pyoung K. Yi

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) departed Pearl Harbor July 15 to participate in the sea phase of Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014, the world's largest international maritime exercise.

While underway, Mercy is scheduled to participate in various events including simulated medical evacuations (MEDEVAC), a mass casualty exercise and subject-matter expert exchanges (SMEE) with other RIMPAC participants.

"I am looking forward to operating with different allied partner nations," said Capt. Michael Perkow, mission commander aboard Mercy during RIMPAC. "This is a great opportunity for everyone to learn together and operate in a multinational environment."

The MEDEVAC simulations are scheduled to arrive within Mercy's task force and other participating ships. The simulations will test each ships' medical department's ability to respond and evaluate patients, and then decide whether they need to be brought to Mercy for a higher level of medical care.

"I am looking forward to testing our junior officers, integrating their skills and knowledge they've learned so far with our previous engagements with other countries," said Cmdr. Angelo Lucero, a staff member for Mercy's directorate for nursing services.

The mass casualty exercise is scheduled to simulate an oil platform accident with 40 patients being brought to Mercy, allowing the ship's staff to train in an environment in which a large amount of injured people are loaded onto the ship.

SMEEs are slated to take place with medical personnel from other nations participating in RIMPAC.

"The SMEEs are for Mercy's staff to learn best practices other navies have developed and also for our allied partners to learn some of our best practices," said Perkow.

This year's RIMPAC marks the first time in the exercise's history that hospital ships have participated. Twenty-two nations, 49 ships, six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 26 to Aug. 1, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California.

For more news from Rim of the Pacific, visit

NNS140715-28. Pacific Partnership Completes Philippines Mission

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Karolina A. Oseguera

TACLOBAN, Philippines (NNS) -- With wind and rain from the outer bands of Typhoon Rammasun pelting the area, Pacific Partnership 2014 (PP14) held its closing ceremony July 15 in a local establishment that still bears the scars from Typhoon Haiyan.

Although the weather was less than ideal, those in attendance were determined to give Pacific Partnership a proper ceremony.

"I'm amazed at the resiliency of the people here," Pacific Partnership's mission commander, U.S. Navy Capt. Brian Shipman, said. "Even after all they've been through they continue to persevere, they continue to rebuild, and they continue to smile."

Among the speakers at the ceremony were the Philippine Army's Maj. Gen. Lysander Suerte, deputy chief of staff for civil-military operations; Brig. Gen. Rolando Malinao, assistant division of the 8th Infantry Division; and Alfred Romualdez, Tacloban's mayor. The three thanked all involved with this year's PP14 mission and expressed the importance of continued engagements with partner nations.

"The Philippines has been the most enjoyable and successful engagement because not only are we passing on subject matter expertise with our Filipino colleagues, but given the devastation of the typhoon, we have been able to help the community with our medical and engineering engagements," said Australian Army Lt. Col. John Cronin, Pacific Partnership 2014 chief of staff.

The ten-day PP14 Philippines mission conducted professional medical exchanges, provided basic medical, dental, and optometry clinics, medical knowledge exchange seminars and veterinary surgical and vaccination services, as well as four engineering projects.

"We had veterinarian technicians working to prevent rabies illness, preventative medicine specialist that helped promote public health, and we also gave lectures on different topics," said Cmdr. Steven Romero, the PP14 medical officer in charge.

Symposiums and subject matter exchanges addressed emergency medicine, infectious disease, cardiology, pediatrics, microbiology, occupational medicine physical therapy and biomedical engineering.

"I have seen a really grateful response," Cronin said of the local community and the mission's Philippine hosts. "I am grateful that we have been working with them and for them in projects that they needed."

This was the last phase of PP14, which also provided assistance in Vietnam and Cambodia, operating from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ship JS Kunisaki (LST 4003). A simultaneous airborne phase took place earlier in Indonesia and Timor-Leste.

Pacific Partnership is in its ninth iteration and is the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Asia-Pacific region.

For more news on Pacific Partnership, visit

NNS140716-12. CNP Conducts NSA Naples All Hands Call

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jared King, Naval Public Affairs Support Element East-Det. Europe

NAPLES, Italy (NNS) -- Chief of Naval Personnel, Vice Adm. Bill Moran, visited Naval Support Activity (NSA) Naples, Italy, July 16, addressing base personnel on critical Navy topics including advancement, pay and uniform changes.

As the Chief of Naval Personnel (CNP), Moran is responsible to the Chief of Naval Operations for the Navy's manpower readiness.

"I am really proud of what you are doing," said Moran. "This is not easy to work, it takes cool heads and a lot of thought to be successful--its great to finally get out and see it for real and have the opportunity to talk to you."

Moran re-emphasized Naples' vital importance in ensuring the overall success of the Navy, and that the naval station is currently a primary focus due to the Forward-Deployed Naval Forces and NATO Ballistic Missile Defense program.

Sailors also listened to Moran speak about advancement opportunities, which affects all Sailors, and the biannual fleet-wide Navy advancement cycles.

"We are still above our historic norms for advancement cycles in the fleet and we expect to stay there in September," said Moran. "Some rates go up and some rates go down and this is just a typical curve of the Navy advancement opportunity. More important than numbers or rates, we are trying our best to keep all of the rating advancement opportunities balanced and that takes a lot of effort and a lot of understanding.

Moran stated the reason the advancement cycle ticked down four percent was due to the retention of more Sailors. Moran also said he wanted to ensure that young Sailors don't have to stand in line and wait to advance and if they are truly performing, they deserve to advance.

Moran informed Sailors about uniform changes. Some of these include the upcoming change ball caps to be worn with the Navy working uniform (NWU).
Moran also mentioned current testing of a new lightweight version of the NWU. The feedback received about the new lightweight uniforms has been optimistic according to Moran, who was wearing the prototype uniform.

"When we are done with the wear test, we are going to take all of the lessons we've learned and incorporate those changes," said Moran.

Moran was very grateful to have the opportunity to speak to NSA Naples Sailors and articulated his appreciation for their service.

"Whatever time you spend in the uniform is valuable to the nation and valuable to us and I thank you for serving whatever length of time you do. I am very proud of you whether you serve 20 years or whether you serve five years. It is all important to us.

Join the conversation on Twitter and follow us on Facebook.

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

NNS140716-09. SPS 2014 Service members Complete Renovations at Bethel S.D.A. School

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Andrew Schneider, Southern Partnership Station 2014 Public Affairs Ashore

PUNTA GORDA, Belize (NNS) -- U.S. service members from Southern Partnership Station 2014 (SPS-JHSV 14) ashore and Belize Defense Force personnel completed renovations on the Bethel Seventh Day Adventist School (Bethel) grounds in Punta Gorda, Belize, July 14.

The need for the repairs on Bethel was a direct result of a fire that nearly burnt down the school in February 2014.

"Students, teachers and parents are all excited something finally happened," said Rose Odinga, principal of Bethel. "We went from only being able to teach on one side of the school, to a new building and a great feeling for the upcoming school year."

Service members attached to the Belize Defense Force and U.S. military have put more than 1,200 hours of work at the school since arriving to Belize.

Renovations on the school included four classrooms, roofing, electricity, plumbing, and new kitchen appliances. The project will impact more than 1,000 students.

"We did this for the kids because we are getting older and they will one day be the future leaders of Belize," said Belize Defense Force service member James Castillo.

After the summer is over, students at Bethel can start the new school year with all the new upgrades.

"It was an honor to work alongside the Belize Defense Force to get this school ready for the upcoming school year," said U.S. Navy Builder 2nd Class Adam Jones, a native of Pulaski, Virginia attached to Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit 202. "Seeing the smiles on the teachers and students really felt good. I am glad I had the opportunity to make a difference here."

The gratitude from everyone at the school sent the team off with a sense of accomplishment, but most important is that the children are in great spirits for the coming school year.

Military Sealift Command joint high-speed vessel USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1) is scheduled to return to Belize to reload and transport service members to Guatemala to continue the SPS-JHSV 14 mission.

SPS-JHSV 14 is a U.S. Navy deployment focused on subject matter expert exchanges with partner nation militaries and security forces. U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet employ maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations in order to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships that foster regional security in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility.

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

NNS140716-07. America Prepares to Visit Colombia on Maiden Transit

From USS America Public Affairs

CARIBBEAN SEA (NNS) -- The future amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) will conduct a port visit to Cartagena, Colombia on July 17.

During the visit, the ship's military and civilian crew will have the opportunity to experience the rich culture of this host nation and serve as goodwill ambassadors.

Additionally many of America's Sailors and Marines will have the chance to volunteer for enhancement projects at local schools, orphanages and other facilities.

"The Sailors and Marines aboard USS America have worked hard to get to this point and are looking forward to visiting Colombia," said Capt. Robert A. Hall Jr., America's commanding officer. "This will be our first port during the ship's 'America Visits the Americas' transit and the crew and I are excited to enjoy the rich culture of the country."

The ship will visit Colombia, Brazil, Chile, Peru as well as Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba while also conducting engagements with other valued partners in the area of responsibility. These nations are valued friends and partners and the visits to these ports will enhance these partnerships.

America is the first ship of its class, replacing the Tawara-class of amphibious assault ships. As the next generation "big-deck" amphibious ship, America is optimized for aviation, capable of supporting current and future aircraft such as the tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey and F-35B Joint Strike Fighter. The ship is scheduled to be commissioned Oct. 11 in San Francisco.

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

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

NNS140716-04. Patrol Squadron 5 Deploys to 7th Fleet

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ben Larscheid, Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs

KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa, Japan (NNS) -- The Mad Foxes of Patrol Squadron (VP) 5 began a seven-month deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations, following a turnover ceremony at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan, July 15.

VP-5 relieved The War Eagles of Patrol Squadron 16, based out of Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida, assuming maritime patrol and reconnaissance efforts in support of national interests in the 7th Fleet operating area.

Like its predecessor, VP-5 flies the Navy's newest maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon. The P-8A brings the latest technology to the maritime patrol and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission, making it the most advanced anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare aircraft in the world.

"The Mad Foxes are well-prepared for this deployment and excited to be part of the P-8A movement to the fleet," said Cmdr. Gregory Petrovic, VP-5 commanding officer. "We are more than ready to meet and exceed expectations in support of the 7th Fleet mission and those of its allies."

The movement of VP-5 and its P-8A aircraft to the 7th Fleet is part of the Navy's ongoing plan to rotate newer and more capable aircraft forward to ensure the U.S. is best postured to honor its security commitments and to contribute to regional security and stability.

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

NNS140716-03. F-35 Returns to Limited Flight, Officials Rule Out Farnborough

By Jim Garamone, DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- While the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter has returned to limited flying, it will not be appearing at the Farnborough International Airshow in the United Kingdom, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said during a Pentagon news conference July 15.

The F-35 fleet was grounded July 3 in the wake of a June 23 engine fire on the runway at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. Navy and Air Force airworthiness authorities approved the F-35's return to flight yesterday.

The return has a limited flight clearance that includes an engine inspection regimen and restricted flight rules, Kirby said, adding that the limits will remain in place until the root cause of the engine fire is identified and corrected.

While the investigation is not yet complete, "we haven't seen anything that points to a systemic issue across the fleet with respect to the engine," the admiral said.

Even with the return to flight, U.S. and British officials decided not to send Marine Corps and Royal Air Force F-35B aircraft across the Atlantic to participate in the Farnborough airshow. "This decision was reached after a consultation with senior leaders and airworthiness authorities, despite the decision by airworthiness authorities to clear the aircraft to return to limited flight," Kirby said.

"While we're disappointed that we're not going to be able to participate in the airshow," he added, "we remain fully committed to the program itself and look forward to future opportunities to showcase its capabilities to allies and to partners."

Under the rules of the flight resumption, the F-35s are limited to a maximum speed of Mach 0.9 and 18 degrees of angle of attack. They can go from minus 1 G to a 3 G's, the admiral said. After three hours of flight time, each front fan section of each engine has to be inspected with a borescope. "That was a pretty significant limitation in terms of being able to fly them across the Atlantic," he added.

This is not the first aircraft to have problems like this, Kirby noted, and it won't be the last. "New programs often go through these kinds of challenges," he said. "We're confident that we're going to get through this."

NNS140716-02. GW Carrier Strike Group Bids Farewell to Busan, ROK

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Beverly J. Lesonik, USS George Washington Public Affairs

BUSAN, Republic of Korea (NNS) -- The George Washington (CVN 73) Carrier Strike Group (GWCSG) departed Busan, Republic of Korea (ROK) after a four-day, goodwill port visit, July 15.

The port visit provided GWCSG Sailors well-deserved liberty and the opportunity to engage with ROK citizens.

"[GWCSG] was extremely proud to be here," said Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, commander, Battle Force 7th Fleet. "This strike group is the most visual sign of America's commitment to ROK, and to the security and stability of north east Asia. We will spend the next two to three weeks doing operations with ROK navy, air force and army demonstrating our teamwork and interoperability."

The GWCSG visit sets the stage for upcoming operations with ROK military, but the U.S. and ROK have conducted at-sea exercises for decades.

"For more than 60 years, [U.S. and ROK navy] ships have exercised at sea together," said Rear Adm. Lisa Franchetti, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea. "We practiced together, trained together and developed our capabilities together. We deter our enemies and we provide peace and stability throughout the region."

More than 1,000 ROK citizens toured George Washington during its time in port. They were able to view the ship's hangar bay, ride an aircraft elevator up to the flight deck and climb ladder wells to the ship's navigation bridge.

Sailors took site tours around ROK and participated in eight community relation projects and three sporting events. Sailors were also able to explore ROK through Morale, Welfare and Recreational events that took them to various sites across ROK.

"I feel really good about volunteering with our U.S. allies," said ROK navy Senior Chief Won Jeong Hyun. "Interacting with each other in a non-military capacity opens up the doors for new friendships and really gives insight into our relationship as people."

The GWCSG includes the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers USS Antietam (CG 54) and USS Shiloh (CG 67), and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63).

George Washington and CVW 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

For more news from USS George Washington (CVN 73), visit

NNS140716-01. Carrier Strike Group 12 Assets Join Forces During At Sea Maneuvers

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Heath Zeigler, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Public Affairs

USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT, At Sea (NNS) -- The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) joined ships from Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 2 to conduct a pass-and-review as part of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 12, July 15.

Arleigh Burke-class destroyers USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98), USS Farragut (DDG 99), USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81), the Military Sealift Command fast combat support ship USNS Arctic (T-AOE 8) and TR, the strike group flag ship, performed a variety of coordinated maneuvers.

"This evolution involved all of our ships in the strike group, except for the [guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60)]," said Chief Warrant Officer Ryan Keenan, the tactical action officer aboard TR. "It shows that we are ready to function as a unit."

The event marked the beginning of increased integration and cooperation among the CSG assets, including Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1.

"It took our own [commanding officer], along with the air wing commander and DESRON commander, to plan and coordinate this many ships and aircraft this close together for the first time," said Keenan.

The strike group will continue to conduct more integrated training in the coming months as it prepares for deployment next year.

"It was very cool to see the ships lined up for the first time," said Keenan. "It made me feel like we are whole once more and ready for the long road ahead."

Join the conversation with TR online at and and

NNS140715-27. Midshipmen Ascend to New Heights at Mountain Warfare Training Center

By Lt. Matthew Comer, Naval Service Training Command Public Affairs

BRIDGEPORT, Calif. (NNS) -- Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) Marine-option and U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen began summer training at the U.S. Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center (MWTC), July 12.

The 155 NROTC midshipmen from 62 colleges and universities and 23 Naval Academy midshipmen were scheduled to train for 10 days in the Sierra Nevada mountain range gaining exposure and learning to operate in a mountainous environment.

The midshipmen began their training with an address by the Commanding Officer of MWTC, Col. Scott D. Leonard.

"This summer is your exposure to the Marine Corps, next summer at Officer Candidate School is your test," said Leonard. "Enjoy your time here. What you do up here throughout the next ten days is going to be very important in establishing connections, and building confidence to get you through OCS. The Marines here are the subject matter experts. There is no one more qualified to teach you. Ask questions, be safe and enjoy yourselves."

The first day of training contained briefs that covered topics from range safety and communications procedures to mountain safety and mountain health.

"Keep me wild, that is our motto," said Andrew Irvin, natural/cultural resources manager. "This is one of the most natural and realistic training environments in the Marine Corps. Our goal is to cause as small of an impact on this pristine environment as possible. Pack in, pack out."

The training area at MWTC is headquartered at approximately 6,700 feet above sea level and rises to 11,100 feet. MWTC was established in 1951, originally opened as a cold weather-training center. The MWTC operating area is 64,000 acres. The majority of the operating area is owned by the U.S. Forrest Service as part of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. Marine Corps Base Twenty-nine Palms, California, oversees the daily operations of MWTC.

"Plan, be prepared and know your group's ability," said Sgt. Edward Pricola, Mountain Leadership Course instructor. "The weather in the mountains shifts rapidly. Maintain proper clothing and equipment for drastic weather and temperature changes."

More than 24 percent of the Earth's land mass is mountainous terrain. MWTC is the sole Defense Department mountain training facility to prepare service members.

Throughout their training the midshipmen were scheduled to learn skills including repelling, mountain safety, stream and rope-bridge crossing, land navigation, survival and Marine tactics in a mountain environment.

"Take this opportunity to get to know each other," said Lt. Col. Mark Shellabarger, NROTC Mountain Warfare Training OIC and North Carolina Peidmont NROTC Consortium executive officer. "This environment, this terrain, is going to test you; it is going to exhaust you. The midshipmen sitting next to you will get you through this."

Midshipmen attending the summer training were recommended to achieve a minimum score of 250 on their physical fitness test to meet the physical requirements of the training. The test is comprised of a three-mile run, sit-ups and pull-ups.

"I have been doing weight resistance training and hiking to prepare for this week's evolutions," said Midshipman 2nd Class Alex Vrancic, 20, from the Florida State University NROTC unit. "I am most excited about the training at Landing Zone Penguin. I hear it is humbling."

The NROTC program is currently overseen by Rear Adm. Rich Brown and his Naval Service Training Command staff, headquartered at Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill. More than 150 colleges and universities either host NROTC units or have cross-town enrollment agreements with a host university.

For more information about NROTC, visit

For more information about NSTC, visit or visit the NSTC Facebook pages at

For more news from Naval Service Training Command, visit

NNS140715-26. Military Families Meet Navy SEAL Astronaut at Exhibit

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy M. Black, Naval Special Warfare Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- A Navy SEAL who is also a NASA astronaut met with military families at a multimedia mobile exhibit called "Driven to Explore," July 14.

Capt. Chris Cassidy of York, Maine, the second SEAL launched into space, met with local military children at Murphy Canyon Chapel in San Diego. Cassidy talked with Sailors and their families about his experience aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Cassidy participated in two space missions to the ISS, and has spent a total of about six months in space.

After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science in mathematics in 1993, Cassidy completed Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training in Coronado, Calif., and was the honor graduate of BUD/S Class 192. Cassidy spent more than 10 years with the SEAL Teams. He was a platoon commander at SEAL Team 3 in Coronado, and deployed to Afghanistan several times. Cassidy was awarded two Bronze Stars with Combat 'V' and a Presidential Unit Citation for missions with the Army's 10th Mountain Division on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

At the Murphy Canyon Chapel, Cassidy led physical exercises with children who came to meet him during the "Train like an Astronaut" event, signed autographs and took group photos before talking about his experience in space.

When asked about going to the moon, he said he would love the opportunity, and to test the Orion spacecraft there before they take it to Mars or an asteroid.

Cassidy is still on active duty status in the Navy while assigned to NASA, and reflected on the opportunities the military has afforded him.

"One of the main reasons I am able to go to space is because of the Navy," he said. "I feel strongly that I wouldn't have been selected if it wasn't for all my experience gained while I was in the Navy. In the final week of SEAL training, if you start at the beginning thinking about the end of the week, you are never going to make it. The key to surviving is dividing the week into smaller intervals - meal to meal. You go from breakfast to lunch, and then lunch to dinner. Perseverance and hard work is rewarded with some kind of opportunity."

Approximately 180 parents and children showed up to the event, exploring the mobile exhibit, where they were able to touch a moon rock, put on astronaut gloves and helmets, and feel the vibrations of a shuttle launch.

"I want to be an astronaut and see all the stars and planets," said one 8-year-old. "It was fun, and I loved it, and someday I want to fly a spaceship." Cassidy is hopeful that he is a small part of inspiring the kids he talked to today to be the astronauts leading a mission to Mars or beyond in the future.

"I love it! I feel extremely privileged that I am able to positively influence kids," said Cassidy. "Occasionally I get to go to space and still be on active duty in the Navy."

For more news from Naval Special Warfare, visit

NNS020715-11. This Day in Naval History - July 16

From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

1863 - The screw sloop of war USS Wyoming, commanded by Capt. D. McDougal, is fired on by shore batteries and Japanese ships of the Prince of Nagoya. During this action, Wyoming became the first foreign warship to take the offensive to uphold treaty rights in Japan.

1943 - TBFs (VC 13) based on board USS Core (CVE 13) sink German submarine (U 67) in the mid-Atlantic.

1945 - The first atomic bomb test, Trinity, is detonated at Alamogordo, N.M.

1957 - An F8U 1P Crusader (Bu#144608), piloted by Maj. John H. Glenn, Jr., USMC, breaks the transcontinental speed record by crossing the country from Los Alamitos, Calif., to Floyd Bennett Field, N.Y., in three hours and 22 min., 50.5 sec. for an average speed of 723.517 mph. This is the first upper atmosphere supersonic flight from the West Coast to the East Coast.

NNS140717-10. NPC Customer Service Center Helping Sailors

From Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs

MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- Navy Personnel Command's (NPC) Customer Service Center (CSC) is the Navy's human resource point of contact, providing information and support to Sailors and families globally.

"The customer service agents field a large number of questions from a wide variety of constituents concerned about programs, current policies, pay and detailing," said Fred Chambers, Customer Relations Management Division director, CSC. "Our goal is to answer or find resolution to these questions in a timely manner."

CSC ensures that every Sailor and family member can interact with an agent to provide answers and guidance on a wide variety of career-related concerns in a timely and accurate fashion, no matter where the Sailor is deployed.

The CSC started screening calls for detailers in early 2010. Their aim was to help Sailors get quick answers to their detailing questions, while simultaneously reducing detailers' call volume.

"CSC points the Sailor to the Subject Matter Expert who can answer their question so that they can get the bottom line up front; we are the Navy's human resource center," said Chambers.

Sailors' social security numbers may be required when calling to access Privacy Act records. Providing the social security number is voluntary; however, failure to do so may result in an inability to get immediate help with a problem.

The CSC can also be contacted by e-mail at for general inquiry questions and routine correspondence, such as record request inquiries, Fitness Report/Evaluation questions, detailer and Career Management System-Interactive Detailing information. DoD policy requires e-mail correspondence containing Personally Identifiable Information to to be encrypted.

CSC agents are available Monday - Friday from 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. (CST) to answer questions at 1-866-U-ASK-NPC (1-866-827-5672). Overseas Sailors may wish to email or contact via DSN (882-5672), as the Toll Free number is not available outside the United States. Sailors may also post questions or concerns on the Navy Detailers Facebook page, the official Facebook page for NPC.

For more news from Navy Personnel Command, visit

NNS140717-07. Mercy Conducts MEDEVAC Drill during RIMPAC

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Pyoung K. Yi, USNS Mercy Public Affairs

PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- The crew of the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) participated in a medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) drill, July 16, during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014.

The MEDEVAC drill's purpose was for Mercy's crew to practice coordinating between all of the medical components aboard the hospital ship while receiving a steady flow of incoming patients who suffered injuries likely to be seen during a mass casualty scenario. Medical, aviation and security personnel were all called into action in support of the drill.

Observers of the drill included medical personnel from the Canadian Armed Forces, the People's Republic of China, People's Liberation Army (Navy) [PLA(N)], and Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD). Some of the attendees who witnessed the fast-paced atmosphere of the drill were impressed.

"I found the whole experience to exceed anything I've done or witnessed in my twenty-one year career as a nurse," said Lt. j.g. Mary Pelton, a nurse and observer from NMCSD. "The use of resources, the communication, the level of professionalism and the mission in getting patients quickly evaluated, it's the gold standard."

Seven patients with various mock injuries were treated, and simulated mannequins were also utilized to enhance training and make the drill more realistic. Posing as patients with mock injuries during the drill were two midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy.

"The first time being wheeled into the casualty reception area, in that sort of trauma scenario, was very unique," said Midshipman 1st Class Vikram Mukherjee. "The medical team acted very quickly. You can tell they know what they're doing."

Lt. j.g. Nicole Ely, a nurse aboard Mercy, said the MEDEVAC drill, along with other drills the Mercy conducts, provides Sailors experience with of the ship's standard operating procedure when dealing with a mass casualty situation.

"Every drill we get a little better and fine-tune the ship's capabilities," added Ely. "It gives us all a chance to get better at our jobs and responsibilities on Mercy."

For more news from USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), visit

NNS140717-16. USS Donald Cook Participates in SAREX

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Corey Hensley, US Naval Forces Europe-Africa/US 6th Fleet Public Affairs

MEDITERRANEAN SEA (NNS) -- Guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) participated in a bilateral search and rescue exercise (SAREX) off the coast of Cyprus with search and rescue units and personnel from the Republic of Cyprus, July 16.

The SAREX provided an opportunity to promote maritime capabilities and interoperability in a number of maritime mission areas, including man-overboard and medical evacuation emergency drills, daylight search and rescue operations and deck-landings of the search and rescue helicopters aboard the Donald Cook's flight deck.

It also focused on personnel and rescue units capabilities and readiness, responding to potential SAR missions or other humanitarian operations within the Republic of Cyprus region and throughout the Eastern Mediterranean.

USS Donald Cook Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Scott A. Jones, commented that "[it] was great to be able to share and hone our tactics, techniques and procedures for search and rescue at sea with our Republic of Cyprus partners. Exercises such as this allow us to demonstrate our shared commitment to maritime security and safety."

The exercise began with the Cyprus Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC Larnaca) responding to a distress call from a simulated sinking fishing boat. AW-139 rescue helicopters assigned to Cyprus' 460 SAR Squadron, the Cyprus Police Aviation Unit and a fast patrol boat assigned to Cyprus' nation guard and navy command were dispatched in response.

JRCC Larnaca also sent an emergency transmission requesting further assistance to any ships operating in the area. Donald Cook was the first on scene to respond and provide assistance as Cyprus units conducted rescue operations.

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 to ballistic missile defense in Europe.

U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and 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

NNS140717-13. CORIVRON 2 Completes Training with Belize SBU During SPS 2014

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Andrew Schneider, Southern Partnership Station 2014 Public Affairs Ashore

PUNTA GORDA, Belize (NNS) -- Coastal Riverine Squadron (CORIVRON) 2, held an end-of-mission ceremony at Camp Fairweather, July 11, in support of Southern Partnership Station 2014 (SPS-JHSV 14).

Over the last six weeks, CORIVRON 2 trained the Belize Small Boat Unit (SBU) service members in riverine operations, insertion and extraction missions, river patrols and interdictions.

"This was a valuable training opportunity for us," said Belize Defense Force Lt. Col. James Reque馻, 1st Infantry Battalion commanding officer. "I loved seeing how well we worked together in the classroom or out in the field."

A unique aspect about this years training is that several of the trainers that were part of Southern Partnership Station 2013 returned for SPS-JHSV 14.

"One of the things that really impressed me and the team is how much you all retained the knowledge that the past two training teams have taught you," said U.S. Navy Lt. Sean Tucker, CORIVRON 2 officer in charge from Pittsfield, Massachusetts. "This made it easier to move on into advance tactics and techniques."

Toward the end of the training, the Belize SBU learned something new while working alongside CORIVRON 2 Sailors to help them better stabilize security in their region.

The ceremony concluded with Belize SBU service members receiving graduation certificates and awards for their hard work and dedication.

Military Sealift Command joint high-speed vessel USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1) is scheduled to return to Belize to reload and transport service members to Guatemala to continue the SPS-JHSV 14 mission.

SPS-JHSV 14 is a U.S. Navy deployment focused on subject matter expert exchanges with partner nation militaries and security forces. U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet employ maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations in order to maintain access, enhance interoperability and build enduring partnerships that foster regional security in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility.

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

NNS140717-08. VP-16 Departs 7th Fleet After Historic Deployment

From U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- Patrol Squadron (VP) 16's final aircraft touched down in Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida, signifying the successful end to a dynamic seven-month deployment for the War Eagles of VP-16 and the first operational deployment of the P-8A Poseidon July 16.

Families and friends were on hand to welcome the Sailors and aircrew home with smiles, hugs and kisses.

Operating out of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan, the War Eagles supported commander, Task Force (CTF) 72, flying anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, maritime domain awareness, search and rescue, carrier strike group coordination and theater security cooperation missions throughout the Western Pacific area of operation.

"Our men and women have worked tirelessly the last seven months," said Cmdr. Daniel Papp, VP-16 commanding officer. "As the first squadron to deploy with the P-8A we were faced with challenges that the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance community has not seen in over fifty years since VP-8 first deployed with the P-3 Orion. I am proud to say, our Sailors' and aircrew's flexibility and diligent work ethic allowed us to handle these trials effectively."

VP-16 Sailors played an important role in shaping a positive perception of the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) community and the P-8A.

"From static displays and community service projects to day-to-day interactions with host nations, our Sailors handled themselves with the utmost integrity and discipline. Our War Eagle team unquestionably represented the U.S. Navy and the United States admirably," said Papp.

Most notable was the War Eagles' participation in the multinational search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. Over the course of two months, VP-16 supplied two aircraft for the search and rescue effort, with multiple aircrews rotating through Perth, Australia, to support daily flight operations. VP-16 flew more than 37 missions, logging more than 313.3 flight hours and 365,118 square miles covered.

"It was the first time the P-8A was used in a search and rescue operation," said Lt. Cmdr. Adam Schantz, the detachment officer in charge. "As a result, our aircrew were tasked with determining how best to effectively employ the aircraft for the assignment. We were able to develop a comprehensive search plan, allowing us to cover thousands of miles of open ocean in a single mission. And although we were regrettably unable to locate the missing plane, the performance of our aircrew and the aircraft itself was commendable."

In addition to the search effort, the War Eagles conducted multiple detachments, participating in international exercises, strengthening partnerships and improving interoperability with U.S. friends and allies throughout the theater. During the deployment, VP-16 completed 16 detachments to seven countries including Japan, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, the Republic of the Philippines, Guam and the Republic of Korea. The War Eagles participated in exercises with both U.S. and international partners including Snapdragon exercises, Operation Foal Eagle (Ssang Yong 2014), Operation Tropic Thunder, Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Malaysia, Coordinated Maritime Patrol Operational Procedures exercises and Operation Rai Balang.

"Introducing the Poseidon's capabilities to both our sister services as well as partner nations, friends and allies has been a great honor for VP-16," said Lt. Timothy Bierbach, a weapons and tactics instructor and tactical coordinator in the command. "There is always excitement bringing a new platform online for the first time. The MPRA community is taking a huge leap with the addition of the P-8A Poseidon, opening doors to additional mission sets not seen with the P-3C Orion."

Thanks to the dedicated support of the maintenance professionals, VP-16 aircrews flew more than 3,500 mishap-free flight hours among 600 sorties. Despite this high operational tempo, many War Eagles still managed to achieve personal milestones, with 67 personnel qualifying and receiving the Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist pin, 15 being selected for advancement during the most recent exam cycle and 26 choosing to reenlist throughout the course of the deployment.

The War Eagles kept themselves busy when off-duty as well. VP-16's Morale, Welfare and Recreation committee organized and sponsored eight tours to various cultural and historical sites throughout the island, allowing 160 Sailors to explore the various attractions Okinawa had to offer. In addition, more than 60 Sailors contributed off-duty time in support of the Okinawa, Japan, area assisting the Hijagawa no Sato Retirement Home, Stearley Heights Elementary School and the Yaro Youth Center, volunteering 206 hours to the community.

"As we return home to Jacksonville, our team is looking forward to some well deserved time off to reconnect with family and friends," said Papp. "We had an extremely successful deployment and are now shifting our focus to the inter-deployment readiness cycle. I know that our Sailors are looking forward to tackling the training, exercises and evaluations here at home in prepare for our next deployment."

The War Eagles were relieved by the 'Mad Foxes' of Patrol Squadron (VP) 5.

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

NNS140716-13. Lincoln Sailors Visit Washington D.C. to Celebrate Diversity

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brenton Poyser, USS Abraham Lincoln Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Sailors from the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) traveled to Washington to celebrate diversity in the U.S. Navy, July 15.

The Sailors visited museums and landmarks along the National Mall including the Lincoln Memorial, National Archives Building, National World War II Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the National Museum of American History and the Freer Art Gallery.

"I had no idea that the Freer Art Gallery had such a great collection of Asian art," said Electrician's Technician 3rd Class Leroy Tamtomo. "It's awesome to see some of the great works of art that have made their way into the U.S. throughout the years."

This diversity trip focused on Asian American and Pacific Islander, the challenges they face and their contributions to the military and history of America.

"This trip was a great way to celebrate my Asian heritage," said Information Systems Technician 3rd Class Marvin Villas, who was born in the Philippines. "I had a great time and saw a lot of historical landmarks that makes me appreciate what it means to be an American."

More than 20 Sailors attended the trip to Washington, many of whom are of Asian or Pacific Island descent.

"It was great to see such a great turn out for this event," Tamtomo said. "I'm very grateful to all my shipmates who made the trip up here to celebrate this rich and amazing heritage."

Throughout the year, Lincoln takes time to recognize different cultures and gives Sailors a chance to celebrate their various backgrounds.

"I'm looking forward to next year's celebration," Villas said. "I hope it's as interesting and insightful as this year's celebration!"

Lincoln is currently undergoing refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH) at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries.

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

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

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

NNS140717-12. US Naval Base Guam, Local Community and Liberators Remember Historic Sumay Village

By JoAnna Delfin, Joint Region Marianas Public Affairs

SANTA RITA, Guam (NNS) -- Sailors and civilians from U.S. Naval Base Guam (NBG) joined local residents and Guam liberators during a memorial Mass at the Sumay Cemetery on base in Santa Rita July 17.

More than 150 former Sumay residents, their descendants and guests attended the Mass as part of the island's annual Liberation Day ceremonies which commemorate the recapture of Guam by U.S. Forces from Japanese occupation July 21, 1944.

NBG Commanding Officer Capt. Andy Anderson said the event was significant to individuals both on and off the base as it continued to foster the relationship between the two communities.

"This is sacred ground and the events that took place in and around this area seventy years ago is something that we absolutely have to pay respect and tribute to," Anderson said. "To be here today and see folks who were present during that timeframe and some of the liberators who were present here today is just an honor beyond anything that I would ever imagine."

Sumay village was once known as the "Pearl of the Island" before World War II. Evolving from a small fishing village to the agricultural and commercial hub for ships in the mid-1800s, it became an economically rich village by the 1930s.

Santa Rita Mayor Dale Alvarez extended his appreciation to the base for allowing events such as the Mass to be held at the historic site.

"I am very grateful for the Navy and the opportunity," said Alvarez. "It gives the former residents and their families the chance to reminisce about their childhood and see where they were raised and share it with their families. I'm really happy that the military is attending our functions because they see how it affects the elderly and how it really touches and affects people."

Seven retired U.S. Marines who helped liberate the island 70 years ago also attended the Mass and met with island residents to share their stories.

"When we left here it was a mess from the war," said Bill Toledo, retired Marine and Navajo code talker. "Now it's a big city, all the war part is done away with and so everything is clean now. The people (are) the one(s) that invite us back over here and I am very happy to be here."

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

NNS140717-20. Ike Sailors Promote Science and Math for Hampton Roads Students

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class John Haynes, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Public Affairs

HAMPTON, Va. (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (Ike) met with a convention hall full of smiling faces and young, inquisitive minds at a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) showcase program in Hampton, July 15.

The event brought Ike Sailors, Norfolk Naval Shipyard employees and representatives of various other organizations to the Hampton Roads Convention Center to educate local students about math and science. In all, more than 30 Ike Sailors took part.

Dr. Pam Dedeaux, the event organizer, said the children look up to Sailors and other adults and are eager to learn.

"For [the Sailors] to take time out to teach these things is critical," Dedeaux said. "This program is important to the community."

More than 300 children attended the event, which included several interactive stations set up throughout the convention center.

The volunteers spent the early hours of the morning setting up displays and posters before the exhibits opened. Later, they discussed physics, chemistry, math and scientific methods at the various display stations. The hands-on stations enabled the children to handle water, glue and clay while making models and testing the effects of water density against various objects.

"Science has always intrigued me because it is all around us," said Aviation Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Jake Thatcher. "To be able to pass along to others what I've learned is awesome."

Chief Master-at-Arms Jeffrey Sulkey, Ike's Security department leading chief petty officer, said he was proud to see Ike Sailors taking the time to give back to the community.

"It shows these Sailors that there is an entire community outside of the ship that needs us to step up and make a difference," Sulkey said.

Thatcher agreed. "Working with these kids is quite a handful, and I have to give props to the teachers that do this every day. It was a pretty fun experience and I would definitely recommend community service like this to others. It's a great way to use your abilities and knowledge in an extremely positive way within the community."

Dwight D. Eisenhower is currently undergoing a scheduled docking planned incremental availability at Norfolk Naval Shipyard.

For more news from USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), visit

NNS140717-14. Leadership Changes Hands at NAVFAC Hawaii

By Denise Emsley, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Hawaii

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Hawaii held a change of command ceremony July 16 fronting its headquarters building on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Capt. Dean A. Tufts, Civil Engineer Corps (CEC), relieved Capt. Michael D. Williamson, CEC. Williamson turned over responsibility for NAVFAC Hawaii and more than 1,200 highly-skilled civilian and 200 Navy and Air Force military personnel at the time-honored event.

"Leading extraordinary people at NAVFAC Hawaii has been a highlight of my career," said Williamson. "We successfully dealt with many challenges these past two years together including sequestration, funding reductions, hiring restrictions, executing many large complex construction projects on Oahu and Kauai, and moving forward with renewable energy initiatives and successes. All of this has ultimately positioned us for success in the future."

Over the past two years, Williamson's innovative leadership motivated the NAVFAC Hawaii workforce to deliver over a billion dollars in facilities engineering and environmental services to Navy Region Hawaii, Marine Corps Base Hawaii and numerous Federal agencies. He was instrumental in the completion of the first Advanced Electronic Guidance and Instrumental System (AEGIS) Ashore facility on Kauai for the Missile Defense Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Inouye Region Center on Ford Island, Oahu.

In addition to his duties as Commanding Officer of NAVFAC Hawaii, Williamson also provided his expertise as Navy Region Hawaii's Regional Engineer helping to improve Navy facilities capabilities, enhancing quality of life for military and civilians, energy conservation, environmental stewardship, community relations and historic preservation. An example of this was his engagement with the state of Hawaii, local and business leadership on the $5.3 billion HART Rail Project ensuring the transfer of land, environmental assessments and Section 106 historic consultation process proceeded effectively. His vigilant efforts results in two high-capacity rail stops servicing Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in the future, thereby reducing traffic condition at base entrances and enhancing overall quality of life for military and civilian personnel.

Williamson's dedication to partnering and innovation moved Navy Region Hawaii's Energy Program forward toward extensive alternative energy initiatives while instilling Region-wide energy behavior changes affecting in excess of 60,000 personnel. He expanded the Region's energy program from a traditional energy conservation focused program to one that also addresses energy security concerns, renewable energy initiatives and water conservation efforts to meet the Secretary of the Navy's (SECNAV) aggressive energy goals. His extraordinary efforts charted a course for the Region to meet all renewable energy goals, and directly resulted in Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Pacific Missile Range Facility Kauai, and Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard receiving 2013 Gold Level of Achievement in the SECNAV Energy and Water Management Awards.

Williamson is remaining in Hawaii and will become NAVFAC Pacific's Vice Commander where he will be responsible for facilities engineering and construction activities in the Pacific area of responsibility to include Hawaii, Guam and Far East.

"While we've accomplished much over the past two years, we still have a long way to go to achieve our energy goals, upgrade our infrastructure and creating a world class integrated training capability here in Hawaii," said Williamson. "I can think of no one more qualified than Capt. Tufts to lead NAVFAC Hawaii through the challenges that lie ahead."

Tufts is a native of Springfield, Mass. Prior to reporting to NAVFAC Hawaii he was the Commander of the 31st Seabee Readiness Group (now Naval Construction Group One) of Naval Construction Group 1, Port Hueneme, Calif. He had two previous tours of duty in Hawaii as Aide to the Commander, 3rd Naval Construction Brigade and Facilities Operations Officer, Navy Region Hawaii.

For more news from Naval Facilities Engineering Command, visit

NNS140717-19. San Antonio Lab Seeks to Enhance Wound Treatment Using Biocompatible Nanofiber Technology

From Naval Medical Research Unit, San Antonio Public Affairs

SAN ANTONIO (NNS) -- Researchers at the Naval Medical Research Unit San Antonio (NAMRU-SA), are currently developing biocompatible nanofiber technology to enhance wound treatment.

Scientists plan to integrate nanofibers into coatings for use on medical materials, such as titanium implants, to improve treatment for craniofacial injuries. These nanofibers can deliver bioactive agents at a sustained rate and can be assembled into a 3-D architecture to guide cell behavior.

To synthesize the nanofibers, NAMRU-SA's biomedical engineering team constructed a custom electrospinning apparatus. The electrospinning process is currently used in industry for the manufacture of air filters and other items requiring a thin application of multiple layers of fibers.

In using the electrospinner for the creation of a nanofiber-based coating, a polymer solution is first fed through a spinneret under an applied electric field, the droplets elongate under the electric charge, and a thin, continuous fiber of submicron diameter is created.

The nanofiber composition and structure are readily controlled during the electrospinning process, enabling the user to tailor nanofibers to a wide variety of biomedical applications.

A project underway at NAMRU-SA will explore the mechanical properties of nanofiber wound dressings, and describe the release of bioactive factors and their impact on cellular behavior. Nanofibers will be electrospun into a scaffold to create a biomimetic wound dressing.

The nanofiber scaffold will promote tissue repair by creating a surface which mimics that of the natural cellular environment, while simultaneously releasing growth factors to accelerate healing and potentially minimize the formation of scar tissue.

Researchers may also use nanofibers to develop antimicrobial coatings on cranial implants. Nanofibers can be loaded with antibiotic drugs and then bonded to the surface of the implant to achieve localized sustained release of the drug.

Using nanofiber coatings may reduce the incidences of postoperative bacterial infection and subsequent surgeries due to implant rejection.

While development of the nanofiber technology is ongoing, these nanofiber coatings offer the potential to improve patient outcomes and reduce costs associated with wound treatment.

NAMRU-SA's mission is to conduct medical, dental, and directed energy biomedical research, which focuses on ways to enhance the health, safety, performance, and operational readiness of Navy and Marine Corps personnel and addresses their emergent medical and dental problems in routine and combat operations.

For more news from Naval Medical Research Center, visit

NNS140717-05. Omaha Navy Week Kicks Off

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Dusty Good, Navy Office of Community Outreach Public Affairs

OMAHA, Neb. (NNS) -- Omaha Navy Week 2014 kicked off July 14, beginning a weeklong series of events intended to introduce local community members to meet and interact with Sailors serving in their Navy.

The Navy Week program is designed to raise awareness about the Navy in areas that traditionally do not have a naval presence and include community relation projects, speaking engagements and media interviews with flag hosts and area Sailors.

Creighton University alumni Vice Adm. Tom Copeman, commander, Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet, spoke to Mayor Jean Stothert during a presentation of the Navy Week proclamation.

"Our Sailors don't come just from states with ports and harbors; they come from across America, Nebraska included," said Copeman.

Mayor Stothert expressed her pleasure to the Navy for choosing Omaha as a site of a Navy Week.
Rear Adm. Annie Andrews, commander, Navy Recruiting Command, will also participate in Navy Week events along with more than 100 other Sailors from: the Blue Angels, USS Constitution (the world's oldest commissioned warship), Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 11, officers and crew members of USS Nebraska (SSBN 739), Navy Band Great Lakes, U.S. Strategic Command, Navy Operational Support Center Omaha and Navy recruiters in the area.

"America's Navy is the greatest Navy in history," said Copeman. "There is no place we don't steam, nowhere we can't go. America depends on a strong Navy and on ready Sailors."

Copeman spoke at Creighton University, the Lincoln Rotary club and met with Tanaska Energy officials at University of Nebraska and veterans at Omaha Veterans Hospital. Andrews is scheduled to speak at the Navy League reception and meet with executives of Con Agra and Union Pacific.

Andrews will also meet with various community leaders in the area to discuss the Navy's mission and its impact on Omaha and the state of Nebraska.

Events open to the public will include: a Blue Angels and Leap Frogs performance Saturday and Sunday at the Defenders of Freedom Air Show, Navy Band Great Lakes performance at Jazz on the Green on Thursday and local performances throughout the week. Constitution Sailors and EODMU 11 will hold demonstrations at Aim for the Stars Science Camp, Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium and local YMCAs.

"I am excited to be here to give back to the people of Omaha representing the crew of the USS Nebraska," said Chief Fire Controlman Lennard Hightower, from Los Angeles. "I enjoy sharing what I do and this is a great chance to do that."

Omaha Navy Week 2014 is one of six Navy Weeks scheduled this year.

For more information about Omaha Navy Week, visit
Join the discussion this week with #NavyWeekOmaha.

NNS140717-01. DoD Official Provides Consumer Tips on Avoiding Scammers

By Terri Moon Cronk, DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Service members and their families can be easy targets for scammers, and financial education is key to prevention, according to the deputy director of the Pentagon's office of family policy and children and youth.

In an interview with DoD News, Navy Cmdr. Peter Hoegel noted that July 16 is Military Consumer Protection Day.

The observance is part of the long-term Financial Readiness Campaign, in which DoD, the Federal Trade Commission and many other organizations highlight efforts to protect service members and their families.

"Military members are trustworthy and trusting members of society who work hard, have a regular income, and they want to be helpful and serve," Hoegel said. "Unfortunately, it makes them a target for unscrupulous people who are trying to get into their pockets." Other service member vulnerabilities include frequent relocation, separation from family and friends, and deployment stresses.

Identity theft is the No. 1 crime affecting service members and their families, Hoegel said. "We want to make sure folks understand the scope of the problem and just how cunning some [scammers] are, trying to get their hands on personal and financial information," he added. "[Identity theft] can be a tremendous drain. You have to understand how scammers come at you and how to protect yourself."

Hoegel cited the following statistics from the Federal Trade Commission:

-- In the past 12 months, 43 percent of service members or their spouses experienced a financial shortfall; this number was 51 percent in the E-1 to E-4 ranks;

-- 21 percent of E-1s to E-4s have no emergency savings fund, and another 9 percent have less than $100 in emergency savings;

-- 33 percent of service members describe their financial condition as difficult, and 20 percent say their condition is worse than it was 12 months ago;

-- A recent study shows financial education had positive results for service members' retirement savings and other financial issues; and

-- In 2013, the Federal Trade Commission received nearly 73,000 complaints from military consumers. Identity theft topped the list with 22,00 complaints, and others concerned debt collection, imposter scams, bank, lender and credit bureau issues, information furnishers and report users, and auto-related complaints.

"The Military Consumer website contains resources to raise awareness and explain the details of scams and other things service members and families can fall prey to, and how to avoid them," Hoegel said, noting that financial scammers can harm military families stateside and overseas, particularly where language and cultural barriers exist.

Financial stability is a DoD priority, he added, and leaders believe that a service member's sound financial readiness is critical to mission readiness. The department's financial readiness resources are available to help service members and families plan budgets, spend accordingly, save for retirement and emergencies, and "get ahead of the curve to give people the tools and knowledge they need before they're scammed or taken advantage of," Hoegel said.

"We want to make sure they're thinking ahead and getting their financial affairs in order before scamming becomes an issue," he added.

NNS020715-15. This Day in Naval History - July 17

From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

1858 - The steam screw frigate, USS Niagara, and the British ship, HMS Agamemnon, depart Queenstown, Ireland, to assist in laying the first trans-Atlantic telegraph cable.

1927 - Maj. Ross E. Rowell, USMC, leads a flight of five DHs, which are two-seat biplanes, in a strafing and dive bombing attack against bandit forces surrounding a garrison of Marines at Ocotal, Nicaragua.

1944 - At the Naval Magazine at Port Chicago, Calif., an explosion occurs on the pier where SS E.A. Bryant is loading ammunition and while SS Quinault Victory is preparing to load ammunition. The subsequent explosion of SS E.A. Bryant spins SS Quinault Victory in the air and kills 320 men, including 202 African-Americans.

1944 - USS Gabilan (SS 252) sinks Japanese minesweeper (W 25) northwest of Zenizu, Japan.

1975 - U.S. Apollo (Apollo 18) and Soviet Soyuz (Soyuz 19) space craft dock in space, making the first manned space flight conducted jointly by the 2 nations. The Apollo craft remains for 9 days, 1 hour, and approximately 28 minutes. USS New Orleans (LPH 11) later recovers the Apollo craft.

NNS140718-01. Commander, Fleet Forces Presents USS Gettysburg with 'Best in Fleet' Trophy

By Lt. j.g. Kiley Provenzano, USS Gettysburg Public Affairs

MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command presented the 2013 Battenberg Cup to the crew of guided missile cruiser USS Gettysburg (CG 64), July 16, during a ceremony held on the ship's flight deck.

Adm. Bill Gortney presented the cup, awarded annually to the Atlantic Fleet Battle Efficiency Award winner, ship or submarine, with the greatest accumulation of crew achievements.

Since the award's inception in 1905, Gettysburg is only the fifth cruiser to win the Battenberg Cup.
During the award presentation to the Gettysburg crew, Gortney recognized the crew's accomplishment.

"Continue to set the standards you have set," challenged Gortney during the presentation. "I can feel that you are a good ship. I see it in the way you carry yourselves."

Gortney was joined by Commander, Surface Forces Atlantic, Rear Adm. Pete Gumataotao, in presenting the award.

"You cannot just talk about standards. You have to live them," said Gumataotao. "I'm very proud of you. You had to work it. Don't ever forget that."

"Having the fleet commander come to visit the ship and present this award truly speaks to how important it is," said Hull Maintenance Technician 2nd Class Fallon Hiort. "It is amazing and much appreciated to see our hardworking crew rewarded."

Gettysburg's success started with a focus on personal excellence. With a steady focus on positive Sailor development as a command priority, the cruiser was awarded the Golden Anchor award for personnel program excellence. The ship had the Atlantic Fleet's lowest attrition rate and nearly doubled the Navy-wide advancement rate in the fall 2013 Navy advancement exam. Gettysburg continued its excellence by qualifying 99 percent of its petty officers as enlisted surface warfare specialists and a finalist in both the Surface Force Atlantic Sailor of the Year and Shiphandler of the Year competitions. Three Sailors received the prestigious Navy and Marine Association Leadership Award, the most in Surface Forces Atlantic. A Gettysburg Sailor received the 2013 Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association Copernicus Award for Information Warfare Excellence.

Gettysburg also received the 2013 Battle "Efficiency" award and all five command excellence awards, excelling in every possible warfare area to win the Harry S. Truman Strike Group recognition.

Additionally, with a long-term commitment to junior officer training and development, Gettysburg returned from deployment with every surface warfare officer qualified as an underway officer of the deck. Furthermore, every qualified surface warfare officer furthered their development with a focus on engineering and returned with the engineering officer of the watch qualification. A member of the wardroom was selected for early command and began the training pipeline to take command of a patrol craft in Japan. Last week, 10 junior officers received their surface warfare officer qualifications.

Gettysburg returned in April from a nine-month deployment with the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group to the 6th and 5th Fleet areas of responsibility. During that deployment, Gettysburg actively participated in sustained operations with foreign navies, provided humanitarian aide for multiple stranded mariners, wrote several standard operating procedures in use today and checked in more than 17,000 aircraft as air and missile defense commander in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Gettysburg is preparing to enter a prolonged maintenance period over the next 11 months following a fleet exercise and is homeported in Mayport, Florida.

For more news from USS Gettysburg (CG 64), visit

NNS140718-20. Chief of Naval Personnel Talks Uniforms, Manning During Visit to Rota

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Grant Wamack and Morgan Over, Naval Station Rota, Spain, Public Affairs

NAVAL STATION ROTA, Spain (NNS) -- The admiral and fleet master chief responsible for manpower in the Navy spoke with Naval Station Rota, Spain, Sailors about advancement, manning and changes in Navy uniforms during multiple all hands calls, July 17 and 18.

Chief of Naval Personnel (CNP) Vice Adm. Bill Moran and Fleet Master Chief April Beldo visited Sailors aboard USS Ross (DDG 71), dined with service members, visited the installation and addressed rumors and concerns from all ranks during the question and answer sessions and radio interviews.

"We're trying to stabilize advancement across the rates," said Moran. "As you know better than I do, there are some rates in the Navy where you have one-hundred percent opportunity to advance. The next advancement cycle could drop down to single digits. That kind of wild swing in advancement is not healthy for us as a Navy. We're trying to flatten those curves and become a little bit more predictable for each rate."

In addition to advancement, Moran dispelled rumors circulating throughout the Navy, specifically the retirement program and benefits.

"There are a lot of rumors and innuendo out there about your benefits," said Moran. "We are not getting rid of your retirement program. There is absolutely no intent or plan to change your retirement plan if you stay in for 20 years. Nothing's changing. Tricare, medical benefits, none of that is changing for active duty members at all. When you read about it and it sounds like they're cutting this or cutting that, we're not cutting anything for active duty members."

Beldo also answered questions and dispelled rumors about CPO 365 being a "fad" for the Navy.

"CPO 365 is not going anywhere. We will always look to make things better and build upon a great product that we started with," said Beldo. "As far as somebody thinking, is just a fad, is this going to go away? Absolutely not. We all agree that CPO 365 is setting up our leaders for success for the future and we'll move to make it better, but it's not going away."

Moran spoke about new Navy uniforms, such as a new service dress blue uniform for females, a new service dress blue uniform for males, and the approval of commanding officers to allow their Sailors to wear command ball caps with Navy working uniforms (NWU), officially due to take effect Sept. 1. Additionally, he addressed Sailors' concerns about new uniforms while wearing a new lightweight NWU uniform being tested across the fleet.

"It's basically the type III greens that we have dyed blue. That's the make-up of this uniform. We know the Sailors like the Type IIIs, that comfort level and wear," said Moran. "Now we're doing this with a version of the NWU Is to see if that will hold up to the stresses of the cleaning systems both ashore and at sea. It is lighter. It is more breathable and the feedback we're getting from the three-hundred-fifty Sailors testing this is that they like it."

During his visit, Moran reiterated how vital Rota is concerning the overall success of the Navy and that the naval station is a primary focus right now due to the Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF) and NATO Ballistic Missile Defense program.

"Two ships in Rota now, two more coming next year, so that will be the total footprint of four ships with the crews and their families forward deployed over here," said Moran. "That's a big deal for the United States Navy and it's an even bigger deal for the United States and Spain. We have to be good neighbors and take care of each other. And from everything I've seen so far, you're doing a great job. Keep that up."

The CNP is responsible to the chief of naval operations for the Navy's manpower readiness. Dual-titled, CNP also serves as deputy chief of naval operations (manpower, personnel, training education/N1) and oversees the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Navy Personnel Command, and the Navy Manpower Analysis Center.

CNP's conglomerate serves as the single resource for all strategy and resource policies concerning manpower and training program matters.

For more news from Naval Station Rota, Spain, visit

NNS140718-16. MCPON Hosts All Hands Call Aboard Carl Vinson

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman James P. Bleyle, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs

CORONADO, Calif. (NNS) -- Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Mike Stevens visited the crew of aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) July 17 for an all-hands call prior to the ship's upcoming deployment.

"First and foremost, I want to thank these Sailors for all the hard work and preparation they have invested in this deployment already," said Stevens. "I wish them and their families all the best and want them to know Theresa and I are thinking about them."

Carl Vinson completed pre-deployment training as part of Carrier Strike Group 1 (CSG 1) with elements of Destroyer Squadron 1 (DESRON 1) and Carrier Air Wing 17 (CVW 17) in June. Carl Vinson is scheduled to deploy for 10 months to the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean areas.

"I believe I can speak for the Navy when I say that the performance of the Carl Vinson and its crew, along with the support that their families provide, has been unwavering and has allowed the United States the ability to ensure the Navy's forward presence is always where it matters, when it matters, as the Chief of Naval Operations often reminds us," said Stevens.

Because of the extended time Carl Vinson and the rest of CSG-1 will deploy, ships deploying afterwards will fall into timetables for the Navy's new Optimized Fleet Response Plan (O-FRP), said Stevens.

O-FRP is designed to provide Sailors and their families with more stability and predictability for when they will be at sea by standardizing the length of deployments to eight months. The changes are intended to help even out Sailors' home life and return a sense of normalcy to their schedules.

O-FRP comes with other benefits as well. MCPON outlined the Navy's plan for a "high deployment allowance" to Sailors, which will award Sailors an additional $17 a day, up to $500 a month, after 220 days deployed. The high deployment allowance is in the pipeline for approval by the Secretary of the Navy.

"The Navy recognizes the sacrifices that you and your families are making," Stevens said. "This initiative shows our Sailors and their families how much we value their commitment and sacrifice, and in some small way this helps compensate them for their time away."

MCPON also briefed the crew on his E-Sailor initiative to put tablets into the hands of Sailors, giving them ease of access to necessary training and command information while also providing them with a personal device with which to connect with family and friends.

"Smart devices are a part of our everyday culture. It's not a thing that we can avoid," Stevens said. "I believe it's something we have to embrace. Reliance on smart devices is increasing, and I want to make sure the Navy is ready to adapt."

MCPON envisions equipping every Sailor in the fleet with a smart device capable of cloud connectivity to act as a "personal companion" that would store medical records, orders, and other important information, as well as giving Sailors real-time updates on command activities and planning.

"Learning about the E-Sailor initiative made me excited for my future in the Navy. I also feel better about the deployment knowing we are helping to set the pace for the entire fleet," said Personnel Specialist Ernest Frame from Carl Vinson's Administration Department. "MCPON Stevens was very personable, and I really believe he cares about every Sailor in the fleet."

During the all hands call, Stevens also educated Sailors on a new change coming to the fleet Sept. 1. Each commanding officer will have the authority to authorize their unit to wear a command ball cap with the Navy Working Uniform (NWU) Type I, II and III.

"Sailors love their ball caps. Since we implemented the current NWU in 2009 when I was a Force Master Chief, and every time I would come out and do fleet engagements as the MCPON, Sailors would ask me about bringing back ball caps," Stevens said. After hearing the same message for five years, MCPON and CNO are making the change.

Stevens made it clear he is still listening to the fleet when he invited Carl Vinson Sailors on stage with him for questions.

"I'm here to hear from you, more than anything else, because I'm going to go back to Washington and they're going to ask me to make decisions that are going to impact you and your family, and I want to make sure that those decisions are made on your behalf," said Stevens.

Questions about potential Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) changes and the need for expanded capacity of child development centers were two concerns Sailors presented to MCPON during the open session.
One Carl Vinson Sailor received the MCPON's personal coin after asking for career advice.

"Number one, no matter what your job is, work hard every single day," said Stevens. "Whatever your job is, give it your best effort every day, and do it with a smile on your face and the energy and the passion that it deserves, because it is what the American people expect and demand of us.

"Number two, stay out of trouble. That means doing the right thing on and off duty. If you don't do the right thing, all of that hard work that you've been putting into your job can just go away.

"Number three is what I consider to be the most important thing: be a good and decent person to yourself, your shipmates, your family and your friends. We have many programs and training in place to deal with a lot of things that trouble our Navy, but if we were all good and decent people, we wouldn't need those programs - good and decent people do the right thing," said Stevens.

MCPON ended the all hands call by saying that when he looked out into the gathered crowd of Carl Vinson Sailors, he saw family.

"And I'm not embarrassed to say that I love my family," Stevens said. "Theresa and I love and care for all of you."

While on board, Stevens also met with CSG-1 Commander Rear Adm. Christopher Grady and Carl Vinson's Commanding Officer Capt. Kent Whalen.

For more news from USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), visit

NNS140718-13. SPS 14 Completes Subject Matter Expert Exchanges in Belize, Continues in Guatemala

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Andrew Schneider, Southern Partnership Station Public Affairs Ashore

PUNTA GORDA, Belize (NNS) -- Southern Partnership Station 2014 (SPS-JHSV 14) ended six weeks of subject matter expert exchanges (SMEE) and partnership building July 19, in the first of three countries it is scheduled to visit.

SPS-JHSV 14 is a 4th Fleet initiative designed to strengthen civil and maritime capabilities with regional partner nations in the Caribbean, Central and South America.

While in Belize, the SPS-JHSV 14 Adaptive Force Packages (AFPs) participated in SMEEs with U.S. Belize Defense Force (BDF) personnel, government officials, and the Ministry of Health to improve their relationships and joint interoperability.

The AFPs are comprised of Coastal Riverine Squadron 2, Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit (CBMU) 202, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 3, Mobile Diving Salvage Unit 2, Naval Criminal Investigation Service agents, Engineering engagement teams, medical and dental teams and various Marine components

"We had a great welcome and it was a good opportunity to be able to work alongside our Belizean counterparts," said U.S. Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey V. Morganthaler, commanding officer of SPS-JHSV 14 ashore. "They bring a different set of experiences to the table, which enables the exchange of ideas to occur and better the forces involved."

The AFPs worked closely with their host-nation counterparts in the areas of explosive ordnance disposal, diving, land navigation, live-fire exercises, river operations and arrest procedures.

"Seeing the progress from the exchanges of the U.S. military and BDF service members was really impressive," said BDF Lt. Col. James Reque馻, 1st Infantry Battalion commanding officer. "These exchanges helped us with gaining security, stability, prosperity and peace within Belize."

When service members were not conducting SMEEs, they had the privilege to go and experience the Belizean culture.

"Belize is just an all around beautiful place. If it's not the scenery, it's the people, if it's not the people, it's the ocean," said Builder Constructionman James Carney, attached to CBMU 202, a native of Long Island, New York. "It was just an overall great experience, and I am already looking forward to the next country."

Even though the mission is complete in Belize, the partnerships that were built the last six weeks will have a lasting impact for future engagements.

"On behalf of the commander Belize Defense Force, myself, and the men and women of 1st infantry battalion, we appreciated your stay over in Belize and hope that this friendship and partnership can continue in the future," said Reque馻.

Military Sealift Command joint high-speed vessel USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1) is scheduled to transport service members to Guatemala to continue the SPS-JHSV 14 mission.

"My goals for the next country are similar to the ones I had for this country and that's to show up and have that quality exchange of ideas," said Morganthaler. "Its not about one country leading and the other country following, it's about both of us exchanging information to find ways to better each other professionally as Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, or Marines."

SPS-JHSV 14 is a U.S. Navy deployment focused on subject matter expert exchanges with partner nation militaries and security forces. U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet employ maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations in order to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships that foster regional security in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility.

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

NNS140717-27. MCPON Visits USS Gridley

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Zachary Bell, Naval Surface Force U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Mike Stevens visited the Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Gridley (DDG 101) July 17 during a four-day trip to the Navy Region Southwest.

"It was a great opportunity for my Sailors to hear from the most senior enlisted leader. His billet was created to be the link between the junior Sailors and senior leadership," said USS Gridley Commanding Officer Cmdr. Mark Nieswiadomy. "These generations of Sailors are well connected so this is a great opportunity to ask questions and have their voices heard."

During an all-hands call with Sailors aboard Gridley, Stevens spoke about budget changes, Navy-wide morale, and the return of the Navy ball caps. He also held a question and answer session to receive feedback from the Sailors.

"It is 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 offer my advice and recommendations to those things that are going to better help our Navy, I am doing so with what Sailors and their families have told me."

Stevens asked the Sailors to pull out their wheel books or notepads and write down his three rules to live by.

"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," said Stevens.

He also took time after the all-hands call to speak with junior enlisted Sailors.

"The visit from the MCPON was a really awesome experience. He was very personable and listened to what we had to say," said Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Todd Protonentis. "Knowing that he started as a Seaman and worked his way to the highest enlisted position really inspires me and gives me faith that I can do the same."

While in San Diego, Stevens not only visited Gridley, he also spent time on the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Green Bay (LPD 20) and he made a trip to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton to visit with Sailors and Marines.

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.

For more news from Naval Surface Forces, visit

NNS140718-08. USS Ross begins First FDNF Patrol

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

ROTA, Spain (NNS) -- The forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) departed Naval Station Rota, Spain, July 18, to conduct naval operations in support of security and stability in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.

Ross is the second of four forward deployed naval ships to arrive in Rota. The ship will deploy in order to reassure and protect European allies, partners, U.S. forces in the region, and the U.S. homeland against current and emerging ballistic missile threats.

Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF) in the European theater are part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach, which develops the capability to augment protection of the U.S. and offers regional allies more effective defenses.

While on patrol in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations, Ross will perform numerous missions including NATO missile defense, maritime security operations and bilateral and multilateral training exercises.

Ross is joining USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) which has been on station since February. USS Porter (DDG 78) and USS Carney (DDG 64) are scheduled to arrive in Rota in 2015.

U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint, and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and 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

NNS140718-02. Blue Ridge Visits Otaru to Strengthen Enduring Partnership

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Michael Hendricks, USS Blue Ridge Public Affairs

OTARU, Japan (NNS) -- U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) arrived in Otaru, July 18, to build upon a strong partnership that continues to provide security, stability, peace and prosperity to the Pacific region.

Blue Ridge's crew along with embarked 7th Fleet staff, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 12 and Marines from Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team Pacific will host guided ship tours for distinguished visitors and take in the sights around Otaru to include the Otaru Aquarium, the Museum of Venetian Art and an air show in the neighboring town of Sapporo.

"This is a great opportunity for our Sailors to get out and see a different part of the country they are forward deployed to," said Lt. Anthony Stallings, Blue Ridge chaplain. "Not many people get to go to all the places we do, and these opportunities are really great for the crew. I always hear them talking about how excited they are whenever we come into a new port."

For many Sailors the highlight of the visit will be the air show in Sapporo, which will showcase aircraft from both the Japanese and U.S. militaries, including a display of HSC 12's MH-60S "Seahawk" helicopters.

"It's been quite a few years since I've gone to an air show," said Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Krishana Mathis. "I love seeing all the different types of jets and helicopters doing complex flight formations and tricks in the air."

Blue Ridge previously visited Otaru in February 2008.

Blue Ridge has been forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan for 34 years. As the flagship for Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, Vice Adm. Robert L. Thomas, Blue Ridge is vital in maintaining partnerships in the 7th Fleet area of operations.

For more news from USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), visit

NNS140718-11. Truman Passes Torch to Theodore Roosevelt with Ammo Off-load

From USS Harry S. Truman and USS Theodore Roosevelt Public Affairs

ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Two U.S. Navy aircraft carriers took significant steps in the next phases of their mission-readiness during a major ammunition movement July 16.

Through a collaborative effort between USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) and the Military Sealift Command dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS William McLean (T-AKE 12), Truman off-loaded more than 1,200 tons of ordnance, during connected and vertical replenishments in preparation of her upcoming scheduled maintenance period. TR received about 100 tons of the ordnance from Truman, with the rest going to McLean.

"With the Truman heading to the yards, they don't have a need for the ordnance anymore," said Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Emmanuel Rodriguez-Martinez from TR's weapons department. "As we get close to our deployment, we are in the mind set of, 'after this onload we are ready to go'."

Lt. Cmdr. James Bell, Truman's ordnance handling officer said off-loading the ordnance was an important step in Truman's preparations to enter the shipyards.

"This off-load was critical to the timetable of not only our upcoming maintenance period, but the schedule for other ships too," Bell said.

Sailors from weapons, deck, air and supply departments on both ships worked together throughout the evolution, which required leadership, efficiency and professionalism from officers and enlisted alike, especially aviation ordnancemen (AO).

"The biggest challenge that we face as AOs is safety. We tend to get amped up when we get the opportunity to do what we signed up to do for the Navy," said Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Claude Markham from TR's weapons department. "So, adrenaline is pumping. It is a huge challenge to bring that down a level so that we can perform our job with motivation, yet be observant for the numerous safety issues that can arise."

Bell said safety is always critical and that this off-load was executed efficiently and safely.

"Safety is paramount when we're executing evolutions like this. We got the job done and we did it safely," said Bell on board Truman. "I ensured every piece of ordnance leaving the ship was in the right location and compatible with the other pieces of ordnance with it."

Though the Sailors worked on separate ships, they were on the same team when it came to transferring all the ammunition.

"Teamwork was the name of the game for us during this evolution," said Senior Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Elison Talabong, Weapons department's G-5 division leading chief petty officer aboard Truman. "With everyone working together, we had a safe and successful ammo off-load. The departments supported one another and displayed professionalism and flexibility. Everybody was focused on accomplishing the mission."

"This onload will finally mean our magazines are mission ready," said TR's Rodriguez-Martinez. "This will top them off, and we will be able to move into actually putting them together."

This also means a transition in mission for both carriers. Truman concluded a nine-month deployment in the 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility as the flagship for Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 10, April 19, and is preparing for a shipyard maintenance availability this fall. Theodore Roosevelt, in the meantime, is training with other CSG 12 assets to prepare for future deployments.

Join the conversation online with Truman at and TR at

NNS140718-03. Navy Medicine Meets Top Leaders in Health Care During Omaha Navy Week

By Valerie A. Kremer, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Public Affairs

OMAHA, Neb. (NNS) -- Navy Medicine leadership met with Omaha's top researchers, public health officials, emergency management personnel and top academic leaders to discuss shared initiatives in research, patient care and Navy Medicine's capabilities as part of Omaha Navy Week July 16-17.

Rear Adm. William Roberts, commandant, Medical Education and Training Campus, San Antonio, and director, education and training, Defense Health Agency was the top medical officer representing Navy Medicine during the week.

"The honor and pride we all derive from taking care of our nation's heroes is clearly evident in the work that is being done in Omaha's community and civilian medical sectors," said Roberts. "Nebraska has a long-standing history of supporting our men and women in the military. Omaha Navy Week is a great opportunity to be able to honor that support and highlight what their Navy does as well as opportunities to those looking to join the Navy."

During a visit to the Boys Town National Research Hospital, Roberts met with leadership and staff, toured their facility and gave his presentation to staff at the two Boys Town hospitals via a video teleconference from their downtown location.

"It has been an honor to have Rear Adm. Roberts come to speak to Boys Town National Research Hospital," said John Arch, Boys Town executive vice president of health care and director, Boys Town National Research Hospital and Clinics. "It has been wonderful to build a relationship with the Navy on noise-induced hearing loss. We look forward to future partnerships."

During his presentation, Roberts highlighted Navy Medicine's capabilities in expeditionary care, humanitarian assistance/ disaster relief, garrison care, wounded warrior care, research and development, and demonstrated how Navy Medicine supports the chief of naval operations' (CNO) tenets in the maritime strategy.

"The military and civilian partnerships are critical to developing significant advancements in research and development," said Roberts. "Learning from each other, learning best practices and aligning where it makes sense will help us all to create further advancements in care and in the area of research and development. The work that is being done at Boys Town National Research Hospital is truly remarkable."

During a meeting with leadership and staff at the Nebraska Medical Center and the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Roberts noted that health care, research and development, and expeditionary care are all cornerstones of Navy Medicine.

"The research that is being done at the University of Nebraska Medical Center is immense," said Roberts. "We are pleased to partner with UNMC for the Department of Defense's tri-service physician assistant program as well as in many areas of research. It was great to see all of the work they are doing to advance patient care and medical education."

As a global force for good, Roberts noted during a meeting with the Douglas County Emergency Management Agency and Alegent Creighton Health Immanuel Medical Center, Navy Medicine's mission of readiness and how Navy Medicine supports the CNO's tenets of, "warfighting first, operate forward and be ready."

"We are glad we learned the similarities between Navy Medicine's health care and emergency management capabilities that are similar to our own," said Phyllis Dutton, community emergency preparedness liaison and the Omaha Medical Response System/hospital preparedness program coordinator." It was wonderful having Rear Adm. Roberts here as part of Omaha Navy Week."

Other visits during Omaha Navy Week included a meeting with the Metro Omaha Medical Society and with local Navy recruiters from Nebraska and Iowa.

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

Omaha Navy Week is one of six Navy weeks across the country this year. Navy Weeks are designed to show Americans the investment they make in their Navy and increase awareness in cities that do not have a significant Navy presence.

For more information about Omaha Navy Week, visit

For more news from Navy Medicine, visit

NNS140718-15. Sailors Highlight Omaha Jazz Event

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Dusty Good, Navy Office of Community Outreach Public Affairs

OMAHA, Neb. (NNS) -- The Navy Band Great Lakes Blue Jackets put on a show for a crowd of more than ten thousand at the Mid-Town Crossing during the summer concert series "Jazz on the Green" in Omaha, July 17.

Omaha residents were excited to see the Sailors up close as they are far from any major bodies of water and have little exposure to their Navy.

Ed Stimple, an Omaha native, shows up for every concert, but said this one was something special.

"I'm from a Navy family and since it's summer time and the Fourth of July just passed, you got to know before you even get here this band is going to be good," said Stimple.

With the crowd fired up, the Navy Blue Jackets took the stage and as soon as the music started the crowd started dancing and tapping their feet.

One of the more memorable moments came when the band performed their rendition of the hit song, "Hey Jude." The crowd held their cell phones up, illumintating the park, an singing the words along with the band.

"This gives us a great opportunity to come to an area where the Navy is not around and it gives the people of Omaha a great chance to understand what the Navy is doing on a daily bases," said Musician 1st Class Jeremy Bustillos, from Irving, Texas.

Kendra Whitlock-Ingram, who organizes the Jazz on the Green events, said, though the turnout is normaly high, this concert had a much larger turnout than the rest.

"We really liked the idea of the community gathering in support of the military around Navy Week," said Whitlock-Ingram. "The bands of course, are excellent and have a reputation of being great, so we knew it was going to be quality."

Omaha Navy Week 2014 is one of six Navy Weeks scheduled to be held this year.

For more information about Omaha Navy Week, visit
Join the conversation with #NavyWeekOmaha.

NNS140718-10. ESG-2 Holds Change of Command

By Ensign Jonathan Smith, Expeditionary Strike Group 2 Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- Rear Adm. Cindy M. Thebaud relieved Rear Adm. Rick P. Snyder as Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 2 during a Change of Command ceremony, July 17, at Assault Craft Unit 4.

The ceremony marked the culmination of a highly successful tour for Snyder who served as commander from September 2013 to July 2014.

Adm. Bill Gortney, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces, attended the ceremony as the guest speaker.

"It is a privilege to recognize a job well done - I love to recognize excellence," said Gortney. He [Snyder] created a capable, effective force, evident in the quality of ships he leads. Rick, while recognition was the last thing on your mind while you were out there making a difference, people did notice."

During his tenure, Snyder oversaw and directed more than 12,000 Sailors and Marines stationed aboard 14 ships, three amphibious squadrons, six detachments and the headquarters staff. He also led the staff and 14 nations in the execution of exercise Baltic Operations 2014 during critical world events.

Snyder's next assignment takes him to Washington D.C. where he will serve as director of the 21st Century Sailor Office.

During his farewell remarks, Snyder emphasized the amphibious force's success is built on partnerships. He also acknowledged the impact of a "winning team" which includes ESG-2's Sailors, Marines, partner expeditionary forces and the maintenance community.

"In the business of amphibious warfare, I've learned connections matter. When done right, connections lead to partnerships and resources that support a world-class fleet," said Snyder.

Upon assumption of command as commander of ESG-2, Thebaud began her fourth command tour. She joined the Navy in 1985 after graduating with distinction from the U.S. Naval Academy. Previous commands include USS Decatur (DDG 73), Destroyer Squadron 60 and Logistics Group Western Pacific/Task Force 73/Navy Region Singapore.

"Rear Adm. Thebaud is well suited to take command of a Strike Group; she is an expert at building international partnerships," said Gortney.

"The amphibious force is the center of the blue-green team...the core, the backbone, the workhorse of the fleet," said Thebaud. "I'm thrilled to be back and working with the finest fighting force in the world."

In addition to overseeing and managing the readiness of the amphibious fleet, ESG 2 is a joint, rapid and robust deployable staff. Supporting the entire range of military operations, ESG 2 is involved in theater security cooperation events, major combat operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, ranging from the East Coast of the United States to the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf.

For more news from ESG-2, visit and

NNS140717-26. NMETC Uses Social Media to Help Sailors Advance

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Bruce Cummins, Navy Medicine Education and Training Command Public Affairs

BETHESDA, Md. (NNS) -- Navy Medicine Education and Training Command (NMETC) announced July 17 the development of a globally accessible social media page to help hospital corpsman studying for upcoming advancement exams.

NMETC M7 Skills Manager Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (FMF/SW) Mitchell Murphy spearheaded the group effort, spending numerous off-duty hours building the NMETC Enlisted Advancement Program Facebook page, something he said represents a different method of disseminating study material for members of the largest rating in the United States Navy.

"We post daily advancement tools, resources, study tips and exam preparation questions for hospital corpsman preparing for the upcoming advancement exams," he said. "I hope this can challenge Sailors on a daily basis to develop good study habits through gaining access to accurate advancement materials."

Using social media to provide a different training outlet for the nearly 14,000 hospital corpsmen eligible to take an advancement examination represents a shift in the way NMETC, Navy Medicine and the Navy are communicating. The NMETC Enlisted Advancement Program Facebook page is accessible by typing "Navy Medicine Education and Training Command Enlisted Advancement Program."

Along with being a centralized location for Corpsmen seeking advancement information, Murphy said one of the most important aspects of the page is the daily question he or one of the four other page administrators post.

"Nearly everyone has access to Facebook, whether on their mobile phone, tablet or computer," he said. "When someone 'likes' the NMETC Enlisted Advancement Program page, these posts will automatically show up. The questions, which have been taken from previous exams, are brought to the individual."

NMETC is the sole point of accountability for formal Navy Medicine education and training services, and is part of the Navy Medicine team, a global health care network of Navy medical professionals around the world who provide high-quality health care to more than one million eligible beneficiaries. Navy Medicine personnel deploy with Sailors and Marines worldwide, providing critical mission support aboard ships, in the air, under the sea and on the battlefield.

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

NNS140717-25. TR Sailors Receive Batch of Flame Resistant Coveralls

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Heath Zeigler, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Public Affairs

USS Theodore Roosevelt, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) received their first shipment of Flame Resistant Variant (FRV) coveralls July 12.

The FRV coveralls are 100% cotton fabric treated with a flame retardant chemical bound into the fibers of the fabric. FRVs passed all flame and flash-fire testing requirements. In addition, the flame resistant properties do not degrade with wear and tear or laundering for the serviceable life of the coverall, according to the Navy's Clothing and Textile Research Facility.

"These FRVs will eventually replace current coveralls and [Navy Working Uniforms] while underway," said CMDCM(AW/SW) William Smalts, TR command master chief. "FRVs will still be allowed to be worn while in port, but will primarily be for all Sailors at sea."

TR's Supply department ordered more than 9,000 FRVs to supply the ship's crew.

"We are currently working hard to supply the entire ship, but due to space and limited numbers, we are outfitting the departments that need them most," said Lt. j.g. Cody Perna, division officer of Supply department's S-8A division. "We are currently outfitting reactor, engineering and deck departments, but we will be providing the rest of the ship with coveralls as we receive more."

Once Sailors receive their coveralls, they can wear them straightaway.

"The FRVs are for immediate use," said Smalts. "The same collar devices that you wear for [Navy Service Uniform] can be worn or you can get the ones for the coveralls you currently own and have those sewn on. Also I ask that the Sailors stencil their names on the inside for laundry purposes."

Smalts worked closely with Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Department (AIMD) to help make the name tags needed for the FRVs.

"AIMD is currently working on making the leather name tags that will be going on the uniform," said Smalts. "Be patient it is going to be a slow process, but we are trying to accommodate every member of the crew."

Sailors in reactor, engineering and deck department will receive four pairs of FRVs while the majority of other departments will receive two. Those authorized organizational clothing, such as air department and certain personnel in supply department, will not receive the FRVs due to certain uniform standards they are required to maintain.

"Once we give out the first batch of FRVs to the Sailors, it will be up to the individual department's supply personnel to order more for worn out coveralls or new Sailors," said Perna. "We ask that Sailors be patient. It has been a slow process with receiving the FRVs, but we will ensure that every Sailor who is required to have a pair has them."

For more news from USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), visit

NNS140717-24. NAVFAC Hawaii Awards First Small Business MACC

By Denise Emsley, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Hawaii Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Hawaii awarded its first Small Business Multiple Award Construction Contract (MACC) to six firms July 17.

"The intent of this new Small Business MACC is to provide small companies the opportunity to bid on construction projects that may require design and construction services ranging from $3 million to $30 million," said NAVFAC Hawaii Executive Officer Capt. George Suther. "The maximum capacity of this MACC is $240 million. The areas of consideration will include, but are not limited to, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and miscellaneous Federal and other facilities in Hawaii."

The six contractors are Insight Pacific, LLC (small business), Anaheim, Calif. 92806; Bethel-Webcor JV-1 (small business), Anchorage, Alaska; Dawson-Hawaiian Builders I (small business), Honolulu, Hawaii; JSR-ECC, LLC (small business), Schertz, Texas; CT JV (small business), Bargerville, Ind.; and Environet, Inc. (small business), Kamuela, Hawaii. They each were awarded an indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity multiple award design-build /design-bid-build construction contract for construction projects located primarily within the NAVFAC Hawaii area of responsibility.

The term of the contract is not to exceed 60 months, with expected completion date of July 2015 (base period). The maximum dollar value including the base period and four option years for all six contracts combined is $240 million. Contract funds in the amount of $60,000 are obligated on this award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website with 22 proposals received. These six contractors may compete for task orders under the terms and conditions of the awarded contracts.

The work to be performed provides for but not limited to labor, supervision, tools, materials and equipment necessary to perform new construction, repair, alteration, and related demolition of existing infrastructure based on design-build or design-bid-build (full plans and specifications) for infrastructure within the State of Hawaii.

"Because small businesses are the engine of job creation and a critical component of and a major contributor to the strength of our local economy, NAVFAC Hawaii is 100 percent committed in helping small businesses succeed," said Suther. "Therefore, the award of this Small Business MACC will help create an environment where these businesses can grow and prosper in the federal marketplace."

Companies interested in future small business efforts or would like more information pertaining to outreach and/or training events should contact NAVFAC Hawaii's Assistant Deputy of Small Business, Ms. Lisa Roth, at 808-474-4554 or email:

For more news from Naval Facilities Engineering Command, visit

NNS140717-29. NRD Houston Conducts a DEP Olympics

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jacob L. Dillon, Navy Recruiting District Houston Public Affairs

HOUSTON (NNS) -- Navy Recruiting District (NRD) Houston's Division 5 conducted Delayed Entry Program (DEP) Olympics for future Sailors July 17 at Bear Creek Park in Houston.

The DEP Olympics provided nearly 100 future Sailors and their recruiters the chance to conduct Navy training and compete in friendly competitions.

The DEP Olympics consisted of a soccer game, general Navy knowledge, a water balloon toss, push-up and sit-up contests, tug-of-war and military facing movements.

"This event was organized to bring all of the future Sailors and Division 5 recruiters together," said Navy Counselor 1st Class Robert Aranda. "This was an opportunity for all of us to relax and build camaraderie and teamwork skills which are necessary to succeed in the Navy."

The spirit of competition and motivation was evident to Chief Navy Counselor Cherokee Broadwater, the leading chief petty officer for Division 5.

"I am so proud of all of you [future Sailors]," said Broadwater as she addressed the group of future Sailors. "You all came out here and competed with each other. I could see the motivation in all of you. It is this motivation that will make you succeed in the Navy and in life."

After the all of the events were completed and the scores were tabulated, Aranda's future Sailors from Navy Recruiting Station (NRS) Katy triumphed in victory and were awarded a travelling trophy which goes to the winning NRS until the next event is held.

For more news from Naval Recruiting District Houston, visit

NNS140717-28. Annual DEFY Summer Camp Opens at JBAB

By Shawn Miller, Naval District Washington Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Naval Support Activity (NSA) Washington kicked off its fourth Drug Education For Youth (DEFY) camp at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling (JBAB) July 14 for 9-12 year-old children of military and Department of Defense employees and contractors.

The eight-day camp marked the first phase of the program, which is designed to foster positive relationships between the children and role models, and to discourage drug use and gang involvement.

Camp mentors, consisting of volunteer Sailors, continue to meet with the youth one weekend per month throughout the remainder of the year during the second phase to continue progress and further build those relationships.

"They come to the program and we inspire them," said Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Lakeisha Henderson, local program coordinator for DEFY. "Because of this program, they come back every year, and they just learn. They just want to do more."

The first day began with a spirited game of dodgeball with a small group before moving into a nearby classroom for lessons on teamwork and respect. Participants were divided into pairs or groups, where they freshened up on social skills while co-designing flags representing their group interests.

Later in the camp, the youth learned about dog obedience with the Naval District Washington K9 working dog team, watched a demonstration from the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard, learned how to properly fold flags, and took a field trip to the National Zoo.

Henderson said the key to the camp is basing everything around educating the children and always keeping them busy.

"Our job is to mentor them and just to help get involved with them as far as learning things about themselves and keeping them active," she said. The experiences throughout the camp and later phases provide the necessary tools for the youth to grow and learn, she added.

Learning and growing does not just happen for the youth participants, however.

"They help me," Henderson said. "I don't have children, and really don't work with children a lot, but it's fun working with them. It's awesome for me."

Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Andrew Chaplik, from NSA Washington Port Ops, returned this year for another opportunity to be a mentor after having a positive experience last year.

"I just like working with the kids," said Chaplik, who has seen children of that age already using drugs. "As we work with the kids throughout the year, you see how they're doing and see that they're not doing drugs."

Some of the participants even expressed interest in eventually entering the military because of the experience in DEFY and experiences with the mentors, Henderson noted.

We're not necessarily trying to get them to go to the military because we just volunteer, but they actually go back and help in their community as well," she said. "That's how everybody else hears about DEFY."

Following the conclusion of the second phase of the program, DEFY mentors encourage parents to become actively involved in maintaining the gains made during the previous year, and work on outplacement to get their students enrolled in follow-up programs.

DEFY was developed by the Department of the Navy's Drug Demand Reduction Task Force, who hosted the first camp for 13 children in 1993. Since then, DEFY has spread to more than 50 sites worldwide, helping hundreds of children stay away from drugs.

For more information about the program or to receive an application to volunteer, contact Henderson at (646) 505-7041 or (202) 685-1200, or Machinist's Mate 1st Class Mary Moro at (202) 685-1200.

For more news from Naval District Washington, visit

NNS020715-16. This Day in Naval History - July 18

From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

1779 - In the largest prize value of the American Revolution, Commodore Abraham Whipple's squadron consisting of Continental frigates USS Providence, USS Queen of France and sloop USS Ranger, captures 11 British prizes off the Newfoundland Banks sailing from Jamaica. The cargoes are worth more than $1 million.

1813 - During the War of 1812, the frigate, USS President, commanded by John Rodgers, sinks the British brig, HMS Daphne, off the Irish coast. In the next few weeks, she engages three more vessels. USS President captures the ship, HMS Eliza Swan July 24, burns the brig, HMS Alert, on July 29, and captures the bark Lion on Aug. 2.

1918 - During action in the Viller-Cottertes section, south of Soissons, France, Sgt. Matej Kocak's company is stopped by enemy gun fire from a hidden machine gun nest. While only covered by gun fire, he goes forward alone and rushes the enemy position with his bayonet, eventually driving off the enemy. Later on that same day, he organizes French colonial soldiers separated from their company and leads an attack disabling a second machine gun nest. For his "extraordinary heroism" on both of these occasions, he is posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by both the Navy and Army.

1921 - US Army and Navy aircraft sink the ex-German cruiser, Frankfurt, in target practice as part of General Billy Mitchell's aerial bombing demonstration. Three days later, ex-German battleship, Ostfriesland, is also sunk by aerial bombing. Among the notable battles during World War I that both Frankfurt and Ostfriesland participate in is the Battle of Jutland between May 32 and June 1, 1916.

1943 - German submarine (U 134) shoots down (K 47), the first and only U.S. airship lost during WW II, in the Fla. straits. In Aug. 1943, (U 134) is sunk by British aircraft.

1943 - USS Taylor (DD 468) sinks Japanese submarine (RO 107), east of Kolombangara, Solomon Islands.

1966 - Gemini 10 is launched with Lt. Cmdr. John L. Young as command pilot and Michael Collins is the pilot. The mission entails 43 orbits at an altitude of 412.2 nautical miles and lasts two days, 22 hours, and 46 minutes.

1988 - Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci III approves opening the Navy's Underwater Construction Teams, fleet oilers, ammunition ships and combat stores ships to women.

1990 - Cmdr. Rosemary B. Mariner becomes the first woman to command an operational aviation squadron, Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 34 (VAQ 34). She is one of the first women to become qualified as a Naval Aviator in 1974 and one of the first women to fly light attack aircraft. Mariner attained the rank of Captain before retiring in 1997.

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