Your Navy Operating Forward – North Sea, Philippine Sea, Arabian Sea

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U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS: An MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the Vipers of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 48 attached to the guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109), delivers a pallet of supplies to the expeditionary mobile base platform ship USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3) during a vertical replenishment-at-sea with the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Clay/Released)



Right now your Navy is 100 percent on watch around the globe helping to preserve the American way of life. Whether it be operating and training off the coast of Spain or forward deployed to the Arabian Gulf, the flexibility and presence provided by our U.S. naval forces provides national leaders with great options for protecting and maintaining our national security and interests around the world. The imagery below highlights the Navy’s ability to provide those options by operating forward.


NORTH SEA: An F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the Knighthawks of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 136 launches from the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Maxwell Higgins/Released)

ARABIAN SEA: An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter, assigned to the Blackjacks of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21 prepares to receive cargo from the aircraft elevator aboard the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) while participating in a vertical replenishment during a scheduled deployment of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). (U.S Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Molly DiServio/Released)

PHILIPPINE SEA: Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Teshaun Troyquash signals to a SA-330 Puma helicopter assigned to the Military Sealift Command (MSC) cargo and ammunition ship USNS Wally Schirra (T-AKE 8) as it drops off supplies on the flight deck of the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) during a vertical replenishment (VERTREP). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Mortensen/Released)

PORT OF SUVA, Fiji: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Shoup (DDG 86) pulls into the Port of Suva, Fiji, during a port visit, Oct. 14, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Intelligence Specialist 1st Class Derrek Koch/Released)

WATERS OFF THE KOREAN PENINSULA: Sailors assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold (DDG 65) render honors during a pass in review as part of the Republic of Korea navy to help enhance mutual trust and confidence with navies from around the world. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Elesia Patten/Released)

PHILIPPINE SEA: Landing Craft, Utility (LCU) 1633 approaches the well deck of the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) as part of a training exercise for KAMANDAG 2. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Mortensen/Released)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) transits the Mediterranean Sea, Oct. 7, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin Yarborough/Released)

STRAIT OF HORMUZ: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) transits the Strait of Hormuz in formation with the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) during a scheduled deployment of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jenna Dobson/Released)

PHILIPPINE SEA: Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) 3rd Class Shelby Hochmuth signals for the launch of an E-2D Hawkeye assigned to Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 125 on the flight deck of the Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during Valiant Shield 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kenneth Abbate/Released)

U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS: An MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the Vipers of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 48 attached to the guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109), delivers a pallet of supplies to the expeditionary mobile base platform ship USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3) during a vertical replenishment-at-sea with the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Clay/Released)

PHILIPPINE SEA: The Navy’s foward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) approaches the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler Tippecanoe (T-AO 199) during a replenishment-at-sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Jason Funk/Released)

GULF OF ADEN: Sailors assigned to the Whidbey Island-class amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47) are lowered in a rigid-hull inflatable boat to participate in small boat operations during a scheduled deployment of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Reymundo A. Villegas III/Released)

PHILIPPINE SEA: The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopter destroyer JS Izumo (DDH 183) are underway alongside each other during a cooperative deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kaila V. Peters)

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Your Navy Operating Forward – North Sea, Philippine Sea, Arabian Sea

What’s New With Your TRICARE Coverage in 2019

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By Katie Lange, Department of Defense

We recently filled you in on the health care plans you have to choose from during the upcoming TRICARE open season and how you go about enrolling (if you missed these blogs, check the links at the bottom of this one).

There are also some parts of TRICARE that have expanded this year, and we thought you should know about them.

TRICARE Open Season

TRICARE is establishing an open enrollment season. Watch this video to learn more about what this means for your TRICARE benefit.

Posted by TRICARE on Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Mental and behavioral health care is expanding.

“We’re making sure that we’re covering the kind of care that our patients need for substance use disorders, and making sure they have the right kind of therapy – inpatient or outpatient,” said Navy Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, director of the Defense Health Agency.

TRICARE is also starting to cover dual diagnoses.

“What that means is if you have a substance use disorder diagnosis, as well as a behavioral health disorder, then we’re able now to cover that,” Bono said. “Those are conditions that we want to make sure that our patients get the most modern and relevant treatment possible.”

Flu shots are more widely available.

Preventative care is also important, including when it comes to flu season. Flu shots are now covered under TRICARE from any participating pharmacy or TRICARE provider.

There are a few changes to TRICARE Pharmacy.

The Defense Health Agency knows that getting needed medications at the lowest possible cost is extremely important.

“In order to offset the cost of medications that we get from the pharmacies, which tend to be a little bit more expensive, we’ve raised the copay,” Bono explained. “But we’re also trying to make it as easy as possible for our patients to get their medications from either a military treatment facility or from the mail-order pharmacy.”

Prescription copays increased on Feb. 1, but don’t worry – they only went up by a few dollars. Find out what your plan costs here.

MHS GENESIS Patient Portal

The Military Health System is also rolling out a new electronic record management system called MHS GENESIS. Its patient portal is a secure website where you can access all of your health information, manage appointments and communicate securely with your care team.

“It’s extremely easy to navigate,” Bono said. “I think people will really like how they can interface with their doctors.”

The system is one that other large health care organizations use.

“It’s something widely used in the industry, and it has an excellent track record,” Bono said. “It’s a nice interactive site for them to get in and see what the doctors have ordered, or even the notes from previous appointments.”

She said it’s great for providers, too.

“All of the doctors and nurses and techs and pharmacists – they’ll be using the system,” Bono said. “We’ll also be able to import the information of your episodes of care for whenever you see a civilian provider.”

The website is being rolled out across the country with the deployment of MHS GENESIS. A few hospitals in the Pacific Northwest are the first few to get it so far. Officials are hoping they’ll be able to use the system for other things in the future, such as referrals.

“We’re actually field testing a referral management system with our new MHS GENESIS,” Bono said. “We would like to make that more streamlined so the patient isn’t the one going back and forth.”

READ MORE:
Part 1: What to Know Before TRICARE Open Season This Fall
Part 2: TRICARE Open Season: Picking a Plan for 2019

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Disclaimer: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense of this website or the information, products or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities such as military exchanges and Morale, Welfare and Recreation sites, the Department of Defense does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this DOD website.

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What’s New With Your TRICARE Coverage in 2019

50 Years in the Making: Vietnam Vet to Get Medal of Honor

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By Katie Lange, Department of Defense

This blog is part of a weekly series called “Medal of Honor Monday,” in which we’ll highlight one of the more than 3,500 Medal of Honor recipients who have earned the U.S. military’s highest medal for valor.

It’s been 50 years since John L. Canley, then a Marine Corps gunnery sergeant, led his company in a brutal weeklong fight against North Vietnamese troops, saving hundreds of people from harm during the infamous Battle of Hue City.

Many thought he should have earned the Medal of Honor for his actions. He didn’t, but that’s changing.

A portrait of retired Sgt. Maj. John L. Canley, taken July 9, 2018. President Donald J. Trump will be awarding the Medal of Honor to Canley during a White House ceremony, October 17, 2018, for his heroic actions during the Battle of Hue City while serving in Vietnam. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Erik Estrada

On Oct. 17, a now-80-year-old Canley, who retired at the rank of sergeant major, will have his Navy Cross upgraded during a ceremony at the White House. He will be the 300th Marine to have earned the nation’s highest military honor.

For those who don’t know, the Battle of Hue City was one of the bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War. It was part of the surprise attack by North Vietnamese troops that’s famously known as the Tet Offensive.

Canley was a gunnery sergeant for Company A during a weeklong portion of the battle to retake the city.

Canley talks with a Marine during a Vietnam Veteran Pinning Ceremony, Sept. 7, 2018, in Charlotte, North Carolina, as part of Marine Week Charlotte. The ceremony not only honored Marines of the past but gave those currently serving an opportunity to meet the men who paved the way for them. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Daniel Jean-Paul

On Jan. 31, 1968, the company came across intense enemy fire. Canley ran through it, risking his life to carry several injured Marines back to safety. His company commander was wounded during the shootout, so Canley assumed command, despite his own injuries. He reorganized the scattered men and personally moved through their ranks to advise and encourage them.

For the next three days, Canley and his company were able to fight their way back into the city. Eventually, he led his men into an enemy-occupied building in Hue. Canley managed to get himself into a position right above the enemy’s strongpoint, where he was able to drop an explosive attached to a satchel, taking out several insurgents and forcing those who survived to run away.

Two days after that, on Feb. 6, his unit tried to capture a government building. They suffering heavy casualties during the mission, but Canley continued to encourage his men forward until they drove the enemy out.

Canley shakes the hand of  a child after a physical training session during Marine Week in Charlotte, North Carolina, Sept. 7 2018. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Careaf Henson

Canley was wounded yet again, but he refused to let his injuries stop him. Twice during the fight, he was seen scaling a concrete wall in full view of the enemy to pick up fallen Marines and carry them to safety.

“He wasn’t one of these gruff, screaming guys. You did stuff for him because you didn’t want to disappoint him,” former Marine Corps Pfc. John Ligato, who served alongside Canley, recently told Military.com. “You followed him because he was a true leader – something you need in life-and-death situations. … He was totally fearless. He loved his Marines, and we loved him back.”

That selfless dedication to his men during such a volatile time earned Canley the Navy Cross in 1970. But for more than a decade, many who served under him have been working to get that award upgraded to the Medal of Honor. After years of bureaucratic delays, that’s finally happening.

Congratulations, Sergeant Major Canley. The honor is well-deserved!

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Disclaimer: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense of this website or the information, products or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities such as military exchanges and Morale, Welfare and Recreation sites, the Department of Defense does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this DOD website.

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50 Years in the Making: Vietnam Vet to Get Medal of Honor

TRICARE Open Season: Picking a Plan for 2019

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As with private-sector health care, there will now be a yearly open enrollment “season” for TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select planholders. It’s a good idea to start comparing plans now so if you decide to switch plans, you’re ready to do so when open season begins.

TRICARE Open Season

TRICARE is establishing an open enrollment season. Watch this video to learn more about what this means for your TRICARE benefit.

Posted by TRICARE on Tuesday, September 18, 2018

TRICARE open season runs from Nov. 12 to Dec. 10. The changes you make will take effect Jan. 1, 2019.

During open season, beneficiaries can:

  • Enroll in a plan. Beneficiaries eligible for TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select can enroll in either plan for 2019 coverage.
  • Change plans. Beneficiaries already enrolled in TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select can switch plans for 2019 coverage. In other words, if you are in TRICARE Prime and want to switch to TRICARE Select, open season is the time to make this change. Beneficiaries may also change their type of enrollment from individual to family coverage.
  • Do nothing. Beneficiaries will keep the same coverage through 2019 or as long as they remain eligible.

For more on TRICARE open season, visit www.tricare.mil/openseason.

Outside of TRICARE open season, you can only make enrollment changes when you or your family experience a Qualifying Life Event. QLEs are certain life events like getting married, having a baby or retiring from active duty. When a QLE happens to you or family, you have 90 days from the QLE to make any enrollment changes. Your coverage is effective on the day of that life event.

How do I enroll during open season?

Enrollment is the same process as previous enrollment actions. The easiest way to do so is online at the Beneficiary Web Enrollment website (stateside only). But you can also call your regional contractor or snail mail them your enrollment form.

I’m a new active-duty service member. How does this work for me?

If you joined the military this year, you were automatically enrolled in TRICARE Prime. If you live in remote areas of the U.S., you’ve been enrolled in TRICARE Prime Remote.

When it comes to your eligible family members:

  • If they live stateside, they’ll automatically be enrolled in TRICARE Prime if they live in a Prime Service Area. If they live outside of a PSA, they’ll be enrolled in TRICARE Select. Family members have up to 90 days to change their plans if they want to.
  • If your family is in the TRICARE Overseas Program, they’ll be enrolled in TRICARE Select. They also have 90 days to change their plans, if they’re command-sponsored.

If you have one of the other premium-based plans:

TRICARE open season doesn’t apply to you. Tricare Retired Reserve, Reserve Select, Young Adult and the Continued Health Care Benefit Program offer continuous open enrollment all year long. Tricare For Life doesn’t require enrollment.

Enrollment fees are based on whether you choose TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select, and whether you fall into Group A or Group B. Group A refers to active-duty members and their families who have been in before Jan. 1, 2018. Group B includes those who joined the military (and their families) after Jan. 1, 2018.

When it comes to TRICARE Select, there are also slightly different copays for Group A and B.

“Instead of paying cost-shares, we’re now going to [fixed] copays,” said Navy Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, director of the Defense Health Agency. However, those copays only apply to network providers. Non-network providers in TRICARE Select will still have cost-shares.

With TRICARE Select Group A, the fixed copay will be based on the type of care you need and where you live. “For the Group B people, those copays actually came directly from Congress,” Bono said.

Currently, active-duty military, their family members, and retirees and their families in TRICARE Select Group A do not have to pay enrollment fees, but that’s expected to change in a few years.

You can read more about the costs of your specific plan here. You can also use the cost comparison tool to get a side-by-side view of the plans you’re considering.

We’re sure you have more questions. The best way to get answers is to click on the links above or visit TRICARE.mil. We’ll also be putting out more blogs to help you through the change, so keep checking back with DODLive for those!

READ MORE: Part 1: What to Know Before TRICARE Open Season This Fall

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Disclaimer: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense of this website or the information, products or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities such as military exchanges and Morale, Welfare and Recreation sites, the Department of Defense does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this DOD website.

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TRICARE Open Season: Picking a Plan for 2019

Marine Absorbs Grenade Blast In Afghanistan, Earns MoH

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By Katie Lange, Department of Defense

This blog is part of a weekly series called “Medal of Honor Monday,” in which we’ll highlight one of the more than 3,500 Medal of Honor recipients who have earned the U.S. military’s highest medal for valor.

After last week’s ceremony honoring Army Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer II with the Medal of Honor for his actions during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, I thought it would be fitting to highlight another recipient who earned his medal during that same mission. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. William Kyle Carpenter survived to tell his story, unlike several other men who sacrificed their lives to save their comrades.

President Barack Obama places the Medal of Honor around retired U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. William Kyle Carpenter’s neck inside the East Wing of the White House, June 19, 2014. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Michael C. Guinto

Carpenter grew up in Flowood, Mississippi, in the 1990s and joined the Marine Corps in 2009 in South Carolina, less than a year after graduating from high school.

Within a year of finishing basic training, he was deployed to Afghanistan’s Helmand Province in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to serve as a squad automatic rifleman with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.

Carpenter was part of a platoon-sized coalition force that included the Afghan National Army. Together, they had set up Patrol Base Dakota in a small village on Nov. 19, 2010, to disrupt insurgent activity and provide security for local Afghans.

Carpenter, center, poses for a photo with Marines following his Medal of Honor award ceremony at the White House. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Michael C. Guinto

Two days later, on Nov. 21, 2010, Carpenter and Lance Cpl. Nicholas Eufrazio were manning a rooftop security position on the base’s perimeter when Taliban insurgents attacked with grenades, one of which landed in the sandbagged area the two men were in.

Without thinking twice, Carpenter rushed toward the grenade to try to shield Eufranzio from the blast. When it went off, his body absorbed most of it.

Carpenter addresses Marines at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., June 23, 2014. During the visit, Carpenter also visited Wounded Warrior Battalion West. Photo by Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Ricardo Hurtado

Eufranzio was spared, but Carpenter was severely injured. He survived, but not without spending two and a half years recuperating at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. He was medically retired as a Marine corporal on July 30, 2013.

For his selflessness and devotion to duty, Carpenter was awarded the Medal of Honor on June 19, 2014, in a ceremony at the White House.

Carpenter takes a photo with President Barack Obama’s dogs, Sunny and Bo, at the White House, June 19, 2014. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Michael C. Guinto

“You notice Kyle doesn’t hide his scars. He’s proud of them and the service they represent,” then-President Barack Obama said before putting the medal around the Marine’s neck. “You displayed heroism in a blink of an eye that will inspire for generations – valor worthy of our nation’s highest military decoration.”

Carpenter became the third Marine and the 15th overall recipient of the medal for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. He went on to attend college at the University of South Carolina and occasionally speaks to groups about his experiences.

Thank you, Corporal Carpenter, for your sacrifice and honor!

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Disclaimer: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense of this website or the information, products or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities such as military exchanges and Morale, Welfare and Recreation sites, the Department of Defense does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this DOD website.

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Marine Absorbs Grenade Blast In Afghanistan, Earns MoH

U.S. Marine Pilot Becomes a Part of Aviation History

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By Air Force Staff Sgt. Megan Friedl, Defense Media Activity

For the first time in eight years, fighter jets flew from the decks of a British aircraft carrier.

Royal Navy Cdr. Nathan Gray, 41, makes the first-ever F-35B Lightning II jet take off from HMS Queen Elizabeth. Photo: Lt. Cdr. Lindsey Waudby, Royal Navy

For 11 weeks, Marine Corps Maj. Michael Lippert, an F-35B test pilot, and three British pilots will test the performance of the F-35B Lightning II on the deck of the HMS Queen Elizabeth, the United Kingdom’s newest and largest aircraft carrier.

Lippert was selected to be a part of this mission based off his position as the Marine Corps’ F-35B ship suitability project officer and his previous shipboard operational experience as a Harrier pilot.

Royal Navy Cmdr. Nathan Gray in his F35B following the first deck landing aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth. Gray and Royal Air Force Sq. Ldr. Andy Edgell, both test pilots at the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, landed the first two jets on the new British aircraft carrier this week. Photo: Petty Officer Aaron Hoare, Royal Navy

Collectively, the pilots are expected to conduct 500 takeoffs and landings onto the ship’s 280-meter deck.

Why the Trials?

The primary purpose of these initial trials is to evaluate the aircraft’s performance on the flight deck, as well as provide flight clearances for operational F-35 squadrons in preparation for future test and evaluation efforts. Eventually, the ship will deploy with an embarked carrier air wing onboard.

Two F-35B Lightning II fighter jets successfully landed onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time this week, laying the foundations for the next 50 years of fixed wing aviation in support of the UK’s Carrier Strike Capability. Photo: Dane Wiedmann, F-35 Integrated Test Force, Patuxent River, Maryland

The trials will also evaluate jet performance on more than 200 test points during various weather and sea conditions.

“The nature of this relationship means there is plenty of room for the exchange of lessons learned and operational practices,” Lippert said. “In short, we learn from each other, and that makes us all better. Lessons and experiences from this test effort will help to ensure interoperability between the services and will be of mutual benefit to the U.K. and U.S. Marine Corps.”

The view from the ‘Flyco’ of an F-35B Lightning II jet vertically landing onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth. Photo: Petty Officer Matt Bonner, Royal Navy

How the F-35B Is Different

The F-35B is flown by the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.K.’s Royal Air Force and Royal Navy. It has the ability to land vertically like a helicopter and take off in a much shorter space, which increases its stealth.

“The improvements in Short Takeoff/ Vertical Landing handling qualities in the F-35B flight control system bring a substantially decreased workload to the pilot compared to legacy STOVL platforms like the Harrier,” Lippert said.

Along with these monumental flights, U.K. Royal Marines will also be conducting training with U.S. Marines as part of this mission. It will involve exercises to prove the ability to operate with other nations’ maritime and aviation assets.

Leading Airman (Aircraft Handler) James Hope recovers the first-ever F-35B Lightning II jet to make a vertical landing onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth. Photo: Lt. Cdr. Lindsey Waudby, Royal Navy

“I’m most looking forward to the opportunity and experience of flying the aircraft from a brand new ship,” Lippert said. “There will be many firsts out here, and it’s a wonderful privilege to be a part of it all.”

These trials will continue to build the defense relationship with our British partners.

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Disclaimer: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense of this website or the information, products or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities such as military exchanges and Morale, Welfare and Recreation sites, the Department of Defense does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this DOD website.

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U.S. Marine Pilot Becomes a Part of Aviation History

Quick Reminders to Keep You, Your DoD Info Cybersecure

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By Katie Lange, Department of Defense

Each morning, thousands of people around the globe wake up with one job to do: steal U.S. secrets and technology. And they’re targeting you – Defense Department personnel – hoping to find weak spots on your computer, phone and social media to gain access to critical defense information.

Did you know that 44 percent of millennials were victims of cybercrimes last year? According to the Department of Homeland Security, 600,000 Facebook accounts are hacked every day, 47 percent of U.S. adults have had their personal information exposed, and one in three homes with computers is infected with malicious software.

Our DoD IT folks can only do so much to protect us. We have to protect ourselves and our work, too, so the information we have that’s critical to warfighters around the world isn’t breached. Here are a few tips to make sure you’re cybersecure:

IN GENERAL:

1)  When you’re online at your desk or on your smartphone:

  • Always check for the padlock icon in your browser bar – this signifies a secure connection.
  • Avoid free internet access in public. If you have to use an unsecured connection, avoid sensitive activities that require passwords. Your personal hotspot is often a safer alternative to free Wi-Fi.

2) Never transfer files from your work computer to one at home. Also, never move data across domains using a thumbdrive.

3) Passwords: You should consider using the longest password or passphrase permissible, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology. If you have too many passwords, consider using a password manager – they are the most secure way to store all your unique passwords.

4) If you have a common access card (CAC), don’t take photos where the ID is visible. That goes for the building you work in, too — don’t take photos of anything identifiable that could give information to enemies.

5) Beware of phishing and whaling attempts. Phishing is a message sent to a large group of people. Whaling attempts are aimed at senior executives and other high-profile targets. Click here to learn more. 

  • Need an example? During a 2010 joint military exercise, one team’s mission was to target several military personnel. They chose seven user email accounts with one phishing email. It wasn’t digitally signed or encrypted, and it contained a document with malicious code. Two of the seven targeted users clicked the email, allowing the team to establish connections, capture data and remotely execute commands of their choosing. They eventually achieved domain admin privileges over more than 6,800 user accounts, 5,400 computer accounts and all associated password hashes – severely affecting the organization’s mission.

ON MOBILE DEVICES:

All mobile devices have trackers that can pinpoint, display and record your location. These often activate by default. This data by itself may not reveal much; however, when it’s collected and aggregated, it could be possible to pick out military installations or troop movements and patterns in places such as the Middle East or other sensitive locations. So be very caution with your mobile devices:

  • Know what your device is capable of
  • Configure setting to secure your information
  • Opt out of info sharing
  • Don’t share sensitive information online.
  • Beware of insecure default settings, unintentional data sharing and untrusted network connections
  • Follow your local commander’s guidance when possible

These tips count for fitness trackers, smartwatches and any other GPS-enabled device you keep with you. This document has a few more important ones:

Read more “do this, not that” here

Why do these things?

  • It helps ensure our troops’ safety. For example, while drilling at sensitive military bases, location information may be gathered and transmitted over the internet, providing adversaries who find it the ability to map activity and locations.
  • It avoids tracking of and compromising sensitive data.
  • It protects national security.

ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

Most of the above tips apply to social media sites, too, but here are a few more so your risk of becoming a target is low:

  • Don’t share where you work or what you do on them, and don’t talk openly about the services you provide the government.
  • Don’t add people you don’t know.
  • Set up multifactor authentication on all of your mobile device apps.
  • Avoid posting names, phone numbers, addresses, school and work locations, and other sensitive information.
  • Disable geotagging, which allows anyone to see where you are – and where you aren’t – at any given time.

Have more questions? Check with your IT folks, who can help you out with various training exercises to help you be as cyberaware as possible.

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Disclaimer: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense of this website or the information, products or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities such as military exchanges and Morale, Welfare and Recreation sites, the Department of Defense does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this DOD website.

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Quick Reminders to Keep You, Your DoD Info Cybersecure

What to Know Before TRICARE Open Season This Fall

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There have been a lot of changes to TRICARE in the past several months. Soon, you’ll have the chance to make enrollment choices for 2019 during TRICARE open season, which runs from Nov. 12 to Dec. 10. But first, you need to know what’s available to you, right?

There are two TRICARE plans that require enrollment: TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select.

TRICARE open season will apply to any enrollment changes you want to make for these two plans. If you like your current TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select coverage and will still be eligible, there’s nothing you need to do during open season.

How Do Prime and Select Differ?

TRICARE Prime is similar to a managed care or health maintenance organization option, commonly called an HMO. You get most of your care from a primary care manager, who manages and coordinates your care.

With TRICARE Select, you manage your own health care and may get care from any TRICARE-authorized provider you choose without a referral.

The two TRICARE plans have different costs, enrollment fees and referral rules and choices for beneficiary categories. Costs are also determined by your initial enlistment or appointment date in the uniformed services. But we’ll touch on those in upcoming blogs.

TRICARE Open Season

TRICARE is establishing an open enrollment season. Watch this video to learn more about what this means for your TRICARE benefit.

Posted by TRICARE on Tuesday, September 18, 2018

What if I’m no longer eligible for TRICARE Prime or Select?

If that’s the case, there are premium-based TRICARE plans that you may be eligible to purchase:

TRICARE Reserve Select
TRICARE Retired Reserve
TRICARE Young Adult
Continued Health Care Benefit Program

These plans are available to certain National Guard and Reserve members; certain family members, including young adults who age out of their parents’ TRICARE coverage; and certain individuals who lose TRICARE eligibility.

The Traditional Assistance Management Program provides 180 days of premium, free transitional health care benefits after regular TRICARE benefits end.

TRICARE For Life may be another option. It’s Medicare-wraparound coverage available to TRICARE beneficiaries who are entitled to Medicare Part A and have Medicare Part B, regardless of age or where you live.

Have more questions? We’ll have more answers for you in upcoming blogs, so keep your eyes peeled for them!

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What to Know Before TRICARE Open Season This Fall

Army Medic in Afghanistan to Receive Medal of Honor

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Article originally published on Army.mil by Devon L. Suits

This blog is part of a weekly series called “Medal of Honor Monday,” in which we’ll highlight one of the more than 3,500 Medal of Honor recipients who have earned the U.S. military’s highest medal for valor.

A former Army medic with the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) who heroically fought his way up a mountain to render aid to his Special Forces teammates and their Afghan commando counterparts is receiving the Medal of Honor.

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Former Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer II went above and beyond the call of duty April 6, 2008, while assigned to Special Operations Task Force – 33 in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. He will receive the highest military award for valor at a White House ceremony on Oct. 1.

In April 2008, Shurer was assigned to support Special Forces operators working to take out high-value targets of the Hezeb Islami al Gulbadin in Shok Valley.

As the team navigated through the valley, a firefight quickly erupted, and a series of insurgent sniper fire, rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms and machine gun fire forced the unit into a defensive fighting position.

Around that time, Shurer received word that their forward assault element was also pinned down at another location, and the forward team had suffered multiple casualties.

With disregard for his safety, Shurer moved quickly through a hail of bullets toward the base of the mountain to reach the pinned-down forward element. While on the move, Shurer stopped to treat a wounded teammate’s neck injury caused by shrapnel from an RPG blast.

After providing aid, Shurer spent the next hour fighting across several hundred meters and killing multiple insurgents. Eventually, Shurer arrived to support the pinned down element and immediately rendered aid to four critically wounded U.S. units and 10 injured commandos until teammates arrived.

Soon after their arrival, Shurer and his team sergeant were shot at the same time. The medic ran 15 meters through a barrage of gunfire to help his sergeant. Despite a bullet hitting his helmet and a gunshot wound to his arm, Shurer pulled his teammate to cover and rendered care.

Army Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer II will receive the Medal of Honor for going above and beyond the call of duty on April 6, 2008, while assigned to Special Operations Task Force-33 in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. Photo courtesy of Ronald J. Shurer II

Moments later, Shurer moved back through heavy gunfire to help sustain another teammate who suffered a traumatic amputation to his right leg.

For the next several hours, Shurer helped keep the large insurgent force at bay while simultaneously providing care to his wounded teammates. Shurer’s actions helped save the lives of all wounded casualties under his care.

Shurer also helped evacuate three critically wounded, non-ambulatory teammates down a near-vertical 60-foot cliff, all while avoiding rounds of enemy gunfire and falling debris caused by numerous air strikes.

Further, Shurer found a run of nylon webbing and used it to lower casualties while he physically shielded them from falling debris.

Shurer’s Medal of Honor was upgraded from a Silver Star upon review.

Congratulations, Staff Sgt. Shurer, for this well-deserved honor!

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Disclaimer: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense of this website or the information, products or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities such as military exchanges and Morale, Welfare and Recreation sites, the Department of Defense does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this DOD website.

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Army Medic in Afghanistan to Receive Medal of Honor

6 Reasons Why Marine Maj. Jim Capers Jr. Is a Legend

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By Katie Lange, Department of Defense

“If you have a story and you have a legend, print the legend. Jim Capers is both a story and a legend.”

That’s the start of a trailer for a documentary on the life and legacy of Marine Corps Maj. James Capers Jr. You’ve probably never heard his name before, but you’ll know it soon. The 22-year veteran is recognized as a pioneer in Marine reconnaissance training tactics, which are still used by special operations forces around the world.

Marine Corps Maj. James Capers II

Capers’ actions during combat in Vietnam were the stuff of legend, but they were never publicly known due to their top-secret nature. The files were declassified in the past decade. Now, his valor will be known to a whole new generation.

A DoD-supported documentary on Capers’ life is being shown this weekend at the GI Film Festival in San Diego. “Major Capers: The Legend of Team Broadminded,” includes once-classified mission orders, never-before seen photographs and videos, and personal audio recordings he made to his wife from the battlefield.

Capers during his Marine recon days.

He has so many accomplishments that it’s hard to list them all, so we thought we’d break the most important ones down for you:

Capers broke barriers on and off the battlefield.  

Capers was born in 1937 to a sharecropper in the south during the Jim Crow era. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1956 and worked his way through the ranks before volunteering in the mid-1960s for the 3rd Force Reconnaissance Company, and elite Marine unit where he became a legend. Capers broke training records, was part of 64 long-range reconnaissance patrols and fought in five major campaigns during the Vietnam War. He was the first black man to command a Marine recon company, as well as the first black Marine officer to receive a battlefield commission.

Capers (bottom right) with his Marine Corps 3rd Force Reconnaissance Company in Vietnam.

He was part of 50 covert “black op” missions, and he led a lot of them.

Capers became a father figure to a specialized group of those recon Marines, nicknamed Team Broadminded. Together, they went on some of the most dangerous top-secret missions in Vietnam, including:

  • A prisoner-of-war rescue behind enemy lines
  • Amphibious assaults in the demilitarized zone
  • The recovery of a B-57 rumored to have a nuclear bomb
  • Search-and-destroy patrols in Phu Loc, which was deep in enemy territory

Capers became the face of an iconic recruitment campaign.

The iconic Marine recruitment ad campaign featuring Capers. He was the first black man to be featured in such a campaign.

In 1967, only seven years after the military was desegregated, Capers was named as the face of the “Ask a Marine” recruitment campaign, which became the most popular campaign in the history of the Marine Corps. His profile – the epitome of what a Marine should be – was plastered all over the country for several years.

He was wounded 19 times in combat.

When Capers was named the face of that campaign, he was still recovering from injuries he suffered in Vietnam. He took part in a long photo shoot for it, and it wasn’t easy.

“I could hardly stand up. My right leg was broken. I’d been hit pretty badly. On occasion, sometimes when I would stagger, a Marine would come up and stand behind me and say, ‘It’s going to be OK, sir. You can do this,’” Capers said in one of the trailers for the documentary.

Vietnam only got his career started.

Capers spent 22 years as a Marine. During the height of the Cold War, he continued clandestine operations in Africa and Eastern Europe. Details of these missions still remain classified.

Retired Marine Corps Maj. James Capers II. Photo courtesy of MJC Entertainment, LLC

He’s one of the most decorated Force Recon Marines in history.

Capers was nominated for a Medal of Honor – the first black Marine officer to earn that distinction. He received the Silver Star instead. He also earned three Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars, among several other decorations.

In 2010, Capers was one of only 14 members inducted into the first class of the U.S. Special Operations Command’s Commando Hall of Honor at a ceremony in front of Socom headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.

Capers, center, discusses filming of “Major Capers: The Legend of Team Broadminded” with director Ashley Cusato and another filmmaker. Photo courtesy of MJC Entertainment, LLC

He’s been ready to tell his story.

It was Capers himself who wanted his story told. The now-81-year-old began the effort to make this documentary nearly a decade ago as a way to find “self-healing” after the deaths of his son and wife. He currently lives in North Carolina near Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina, and he continues to be part of the special operations community. In fact, he and the surviving members of Team Broadminded meet every year to celebrate and honor those on the team who have passed.

The documentary’s director, Ashley Cusato, said she was thrilled to tell his story and hopes it serves as an inspiration to others.

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Disclaimer: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense of this website or the information, products or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities such as military exchanges and Morale, Welfare and Recreation sites, the Department of Defense does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this DOD website.

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6 Reasons Why Marine Maj. Jim Capers Jr. Is a Legend