Naval Aviation On Its Way to Achieve Readiness Goal

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By Adm. Robert Burke
Vice Chief of Naval Operations

It has been less than a year since the Navy set out to restore strike fighter readiness rates to 80 percent, and the one-year deadline of Oct. 1 is approaching. For the aviation community, the endeavor to increase the mission-capable rate of F/A-18E/F Super Hornets posed a challenge that Naval Aviation leadership attacked with fervor.


PACIFIC OCEAN (March 12, 2019) F/A-18E Super Hornets from Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 136 “Knighthawks” fly in formation during a photo exercise over the California coast. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Shannon Renfroe)

It is with good reason that the Naval Aviation community has risen to this challenge. For over 100 years, carrier aviation has led the way in power projection and bringing the fight to our adversaries. In WWII, the aircraft carrier replaced the battleship as the most powerful offensive naval weapons system as the battles between fleets were increasingly fought outside of the ships’ gun ranges. The Battle of Coral Sea was the first air-sea battle in history, and the lessons learned by the Naval Aviators during that battle helped form new tactics and techniques that led to a decisive victory and the turning point of the War in the Pacific during the Battle of Midway.

Today, U.S. Navy carriers routinely deploy worldwide, in harm’s way, providing our national leadership credible options ranging from deterrence to major combat operations, without the need to consult another host nation.

I recently completed an informative trip to Commander, Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic at NAS Oceana in Virginia Beach to get a first-hand look at the changes to aviation maintenance practices and to gain insight on the challenges and priorities of aviators and maintainers.


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Aug. 7, 2019) Cmdr. Brandon M. Scott, commanding officer of the “Gladiators” of Strike Fighter Wing (VFA) 106, right, discusses hangar condition with Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO) Adm. Robert P. Burke during a hangar tour on board Naval Air Station Oceana. Burke visited VFA-106 to meet with command leadership and discuss aviation readiness. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Mark Thomas Mahmod/Released)

Under the leadership of Commander, Naval Air Forces Atlantic and CSFWL, the east coast Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 106 was the most recent squadron to initiate reforms under the Naval Sustainment System (NSS), starting in April of this year. VFA-106 has the largest inventory of Super Hornets on the flight line, as they are responsible for training newly-winged aviators for the fleet.


PACIFIC OCEAN (July 12, 2019) Sailors direct an F/A-18E Super Hornet, assigned to the “Tomcatters” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 31, on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Pyoung K. Yi/Released)

In short, this squadron is the largest contributor to the strike fighter readiness recovery. Since VFA-106 maintenance performance impacts overall Super Hornet readiness status more than any other squadron, the recent implementation of NSS procedures had a significant impact on the overall goal. Like the pioneering naval aviators in WWII rapidly incorporated lessons learned between Coral Sea and Midway, VFA-106 learned from the FRS squadron at NAS Lemoore who completed early iterations of NSS changes. This rapid learning and improvement drove VFA-106 to reduce maintenance turnover timeframes, raise the average mission capable (MC) aircraft numbers, and return several long-term down aircraft to a flying status.

I spoke with two plane crew chiefs – both junior Sailors – to ask what they thought of the new processes. With pride, they both spoke of ownership, of learning the whole aircraft, well outside of their rating expertise, and of true teamwork. This is a great example of U.S. Navy Sailors being given tremendous responsibility – and running with it!

This effort is a testament to the adaptability and determination of the aviators and maintainers in the VFA community and VFA-106. The squadron is reaching the point where lack of MC aircraft is no longer a limiting factor to pilot production, even when supporting operations in multiple locations or underway on the aircraft carrier. These are powerful results that will ensure we have enough instructors and pilots in the future.


LEMOORE, Calif. (Feb. 12, 2019) Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class Joshua Norris, center, a Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit (CNATTU) Lemoore instructor, observes student Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class Jamie Kenney as she troubleshoots simulated issues on the F/A-18 aircraft ALR-67 system. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Aviation Machinist’s Mate Alvin Zuilan)

Success at VFA-106 is one example of how the Naval Aviation Enterprise is working together to achieve our 80 percent readiness goal. Because NSS addresses all elements of aviation maintenance – people, parts and processes – to make permanent changes that increase aviation readiness and lethality, we are seeing improvements that are sustainable for the future. Through collaboration and a whole-of-aviation approach, the Naval Aviation Enterprise is on its way to achieve and sustain its readiness goal.

It is a remarkable time for Naval Aviation, and I’m proud to have seen the determination, passion and professionalism during my visit. Keep up the hard work, and I’ll see you in the fleet!


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Naval Aviation On Its Way to Achieve Readiness Goal

Basics of Base Access, Part 2: REAL ID Act, FAQs Answered

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By Katie Lange
Defense Media Activity

If you’ve ever been on a Defense Department installation, you know the drill – you need to have a Common Access Card, a sponsor, or some other form of federally approved ID to get on base.

The Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Main Gate Access Control Complex. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Damany Coleman

The Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Main Gate Access Control Complex. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Damany Coleman

If you don’t have that access, though, it can be a little confusing and stressful. We wrote a blog about this subject before, and people are still checking it out frequently, asking questions. Since it’s been a few years, I thought it was time to update that post. I won’t reiterate its content here – you can read that by clicking above – but we do hope it answers more of your questions!

Know the Details of the REAL ID Act

The REAL ID Act was passed in 2005 as a product of changes made after Sept. 11, causing Congress to tighten up the issuance process and documentation needed to access federally secured locations or transportation. Cards that are REAL ID-compliant have specific security features that prevent tampering, counterfeiting or duplication.

A lot of states and U.S. territories meet the REAL ID Act’s standards. Others have received extensions, some are under review, and several have been deemed noncompliant, which means those driver’s licenses and ID cards won’t get you access to DoD installations or other federal facilities.

An array of CAC and military identification cards. Photo by Nell King

An array of CAC and military identification cards. Photo by Nell King

A few states have been noncompliant for a while, while others have been deemed newly noncompliant – which means their IDs won’t be usable at DoD facility after Jan. 30, 2017. If you’re from one of those noncompliant states, you may have to use a passport instead.

Confused? I’m not surprised, so I’ll make it easy for you – click here to find out where your state stands.

If you’re from Minnesota or Washington state, you might be able to use an “enhanced” ID, if you have one. To find out if your license is “enhanced,” check the front of your ID. REAL ID-compliant cards will say “enhanced driver’s license” or “enhanced identification card.” They will also bear a small image of the American flag.

If you’ve got additional questions about the REAL ID Act, read some FAQs here.

If You Need to Get an ID Card

If you think you have a right to gain regular access to a DoD installation, you’ll likely need some sort of DoD identification card. If you’re not sure what kind you need or how to get it, check out this page to figure out which forms you need and what sort of proof of identity it’ll require.

Not sure where to get that ID once you have the forms? You can go to any RAPIDS site near you.

Sgt. Noci Foronda uses an installation access control system PDA to scan an identification card in order to determine eligibility for base access during guard force training on Rhine Ordnance Barracks. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Warren W. Wright Jr.

Sgt. Noci Foronda uses an installation access control system PDA to scan an identification card in order to determine eligibility for base access during guard force training on Rhine Ordnance Barracks. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Warren W. Wright Jr.

Questions We’ve Gotten

What is the policy for military veterans’ access to military installations?

If you’re a vet, you should be able to get an ID card by presenting DD Form 214 (your certificate of release or discharge from active duty), your retired pay orders, a notice of eligibility or your retirement orders.

I am the surviving spouse of a military retiree. My spouse ID was lost right after my spouse passed away. How do I get a new one so I can access base?

If you’re the spouse of a military retiree, you can go to any RAPIDS site and present your birth certificate and your marriage certificate.

Can someone with a military ID issued through the Army get onto an Air Force base with that same ID?

As long as you have a valid military ID or CAC card, you should be able to use it at various installations.

When someone works for the DoD, are they able to live in on-base housing?

Maybe.
Priority to occupy homes is given to service members assigned to the installation. However, if there is not enough demand for housing from military personnel and occupancy rates drop below a certain level, the developer can rent to other personnel using the “tenant waterfall” to choose priority.
For example, the waterfall could be: (1) other military members not assigned to the installation or unaccompanied service members; (2) federal civil service employees; (3) retired military; (4) guard and reserve military; (5) retired federal civil service employees; (6) DoD contractors/permanent employees, and then (6) the general public.

I might get work on a military base, but I’m on probation with the law. Is that a problem?

Any sort of derogatory information discovered through a background check means you will likely be denied access to the base. However, you may apply for a waiver. Your organization/government sponsor can elect to sponsor you through this process. If the waiver is granted, you will be eligible to access the installation.

Can I take my mom on Tinker Air Force Base with her using her Vermont driver’s license?

As long as you have a CAC card or any other kind of sponsoring ID card, you’re allowed to escort her onto the base in your vehicle. Since Vermont is Real ID-compliant, her Vermont driver’s license is acceptable.

Former reservist with no ID. Can I get access to the base?

It depends on which base you’re trying to access. I suggest contacting your installation’s DEERS office to see if you’re eligible for an ID. If not, they’ll be able to tell you how to proceed to get a day pass or find a sponsor.

I am recently married and we need to get me on base to fill out paperwork; however, a couple months ago I lost my photo ID and have yet to get a new one because of my last name changing. How will I be able to get on base with my husband, who is active duty in the Army?

If you’re the spouse of an active-duty service member, you can go to any RAPIDS site to get an ID. You’ll have to present your birth certificate and marriage certificate.

Hopefully this page answers any questions you might, or at least points you in the right direction. Good luck!

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Basics of Base Access, Part 2: REAL ID Act, FAQs Answered

Grand Junction Celebrates Its First Navy Week

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Naval Aircrewman 2nd Class Charles Hardmon, from Egg Harbor Township, N.J., assigned to USS Constitution, gives a presentation to campers of East Camp at the Lincoln Park Recreation Center as part of Grand Junction Navy Week. T(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey Scoular/Released)



Grand Junction, Colorado might be a land-locked state and hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean, but that didn’t stop the Navy from sailing into town July 22 – 28 to celebrate the town’s first ever Navy Week. Navy Week is an outreach program that travels to cities without a significant Navy presence, giving people who might never otherwise interact with the Navy, an opportunity to learn what the U.S. Navy does.  The weeklong engagement also plays a vital role in connecting the American public with Sailors, assets and Navy equipment introducing local communities with an understanding of why having a strong Navy is so invaluable to our country. Both residents and Sailors interacted in outreach events providing the opportunity for visible awareness of the mission, capabilities and importance of the U.S. Navy.


Future Sailors from Navy Recruiting Division (NRD) Metropolitan took the oath of enlistment from Rear Adm. Bret Batchelder, senior executive host of Western Slope Navy Week, at the Colorado National Monument, July 24. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Holly L. Herline)

Naval Aircrewman 2nd Class Charles Hardmon, from Egg Harbor Township, N.J., assigned to USS Constitution, gives a presentation to campers of East Camp at the Lincoln Park Recreation Center as part of Grand Junction Navy Week. T(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey Scoular/Released)

The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, diamond pilots perform the “Diamond 360” maneuver in a demonstration at the Grand Junction Air Show in Grand Junction, Colo. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Christopher Gordon/Released)

Capt. Fred Goldhammer, commanding officer of the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19), gives a flag flown aboard Mesa Verde to the family of Mesa County Sherriff’s Deputy Derek Greer at a memorial service for Greer during Navy Week Grand Junction. Greer, a Navy veteran, was killed after responding to 911 reports of a masked man with a gun. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey Scoular/Released)

Lt. j.g. Antonio Alamazan, assigned to the amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19), speaks with local radio station about the Navy and ship during the Western Slope Navy Week and Mesa Verde Namesake visit. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brent Pyfrom/Released)

Lt. Cmdr. David Gardner, the public affairs officer assigned to the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, interacts with fans at America’s Navy’s Virtual Reality Experience during the Grand Junction Air Show at Grand Junction, Colo. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Christopher Gordon/Released)

Naval Aircrewman 2nd Class Charles Hardmon, from Egg Harbor Township, N.J., assigned to USS Constitution, takes a selfie with West Camp summer campers at West Middle School during Grand Junction Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey Scoular/Released)

Sailors from Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 117 meet with Army veteran Ann Reynolds, who recently turned 100 years old, during a Meals on Wheels Mesa County meal delivery, July 23, 2019. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Holly L. Herline/Released)

Rear Adm. Brett C. Batchelder, director of Maritime Operations (N04), U.S. Fleet Forces Command, speaks at a memorial service for Mesa County Sherriff’s Deputy Derek Greer during Navy Week Grand Junction. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey Scoular/Released)

Naval Aircrewman 2nd Class Charles Hardmon, from Egg Harbor Township, N.J., assigned to USS Constitution, gives a presentation to West Camp summer campers at West Middle School during Grand Junction Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey Scoular/Released)

Check to see if a Navy Week is coming to your community.  Scheduled cities remaining in 2019 are:

– Boise, Idaho, Aug. 19-25

– St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 2-8

– Wichita, Kan., Sept. 9-15

– Charleston, W.V., Oct. 14-20


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Grand Junction Celebrates Its First Navy Week

Becoming One Navy Team

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On the 71st anniversary of President Harry S. Truman’s signing of the Executive Orders 9980 and 9981, mandating equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services and federal government regardless of race, color, religion, or national origin, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson addresses the essential role diversity plays in helping the U.S. Navy remain the world’s most decisive and lethal naval force:

Team, today marks a historic day for our Navy and our military.

71 years ago, on this day in 1948, President Truman signed Executive Orders 9980 and 9981, stating for the first time that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services and federal government regardless of race, color, religion, or national origin.


John Henry Turpin

71 years ago, we took a crucial step in building the strength of our Navy team. We honored, recognized, and codified the contributions of our people of color who fought for our Independence, who fought to keep our union together, who went ashore on D-Day, who fought across the Pacific with us.

Famous units like the Buffalo Soldiers, the Navajo Code Talkers, the Army’s 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Tuskegee Airmen. Famous people like African American Chief Gunner’s Mate John Henry Turpin who enlisted in 1896, survived the explosion of USS Maine, and served with honor throughout World War I; Hispanic American David Farragut, hero of the Civil War and the Navy’s first admiral; Native American Medal of Honor recipient, Commander Ernest Evans and the millions of others who served.


David Glasgow Farragut

71 years ago, we decided that what bound us together were our values as Americans. What mattered was a person’s honor, courage, and commitment to serve our nation — not the color of our skins.

Today, the Navy works hard every day to become that service. That place where you belong, if you believe what America stands for and want to defend it by living a life of integrity, accountability, initiative, and toughness. By serving something bigger than ourselves.


Ernest E. Evans

Today, we are stronger because we respect each other’s different ways to contribute to the mission, and never forget what connects and unites us.

Today, we continue to recognize the dignity and contribution of all in our Navy Team. We are ready to put our lives in each other’s’ hands.

By getting the best of us all — together — the U.S. Navy will remain the world’s most decisive and lethal naval force.

Let’s get to it.


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Admiral Richardson, Vice Admiral Carter, Vice Admiral Buck (doesn’t that sound good, Sean? ’83 what …

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Becoming One Navy Team

Quad Cities Celebrate Navy Week

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The eighth Navy Week of 2019 took America’s Navy to Quad Cities, Iowa, June 24-30.  Navy Weeks play a vital role in connecting the American public with Sailors, assets and Navy equipment. The weeklong engagement introduced the local communities, who do not have frequent visibility of the Navy, with an understanding of why having a strong Navy is so invaluable to our country. Both residents and Sailors interacted in outreach events providing the opportunity to meet Sailors firsthand with a visible awareness of the mission, capabilities and importance of the U.S. Navy.


Sailors assigned to guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) pose for a picture with Kelly Sullivan Loughren, the ship’s sponsor and granddaughter of Albert Sullivan, one of five brothers who are the namesake for the ship, in front of the Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum during a visit to Waterloo, Iowa as part of Quad Cities Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan Jiang/Released)

Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class Taylor Ruggles, assigned to USS Constitution, discusses life aboard the ship with a member of Lindsay Park Yacht Club during Quad Cities Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Nathan Roth/Released)

Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Technicians assigned to EOD Group One suit up a member of the Quad Cities Elite FIRST Robotics Competition Team in a bomb suit at the Arconic Learning Center during Quad Cities Navy Week. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Helen Brown/Released)

Kelly Sullivan Loughren, the sponsor of guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) and granddaughter of Albert Sullivan, one of five brothers who are the namesake for the ship, explains the story behind artifacts in the Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum to Sailors assigned to USS The Sullivans during a visit to Waterloo, Iowa as part of Quad Cities Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan Jiang/Released)

The U.S. Navy flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels, diamond pilots perform the Low Break Cross maneuver during a demonstration at the Quad City Air Show at the Davenport Municipal Airport in Davenport, Iowa. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy Schumaker/Released)

Members of Navy Band Great Lakes play a concert at the Family Museum during Quad Cities Navy Week. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan Jiang/Released)

Sailors assigned to USS Constitution parade the colors before the start of a River Bandits Minor League baseball game during Quad Cities Navy Week. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan Jiang/Released)

Sailors assigned to guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) visit the Sullivan family memorial in Calvary Cemetery in Waterloo, Iowa as part of Quad Cities Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan Jiang/Released)

After being suited up by Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Technicians assigned to EOD Group One, a member of the Quad Cities Elite FIRST Robotics Competition Team greets his peers at the Arconic Learning Center during Quad Cities Navy Week. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Helen Brown/Released)

Hull Technician 3rd Class Pamela Hensley, assigned to USS Constitution, discusses the ship’s hull construction with visitors at Putnam Museum during Quad Cities Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Nathan Roth/Released)

Check to see if a Navy Week is coming to your community.  Scheduled cities in 2019 are:

– Duluth, Minn., July 15-21

– Grand Junction, Colo., July 22-28

– Boise, Idaho, Aug. 19-25

– St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 2-8

– Wichita, Kan., Sept. 9-15

– Charleston, W.V., Oct. 14-20


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Quad Cities Celebrate Navy Week

U.S. Navy Carriers Keep Freedom Safe

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This week, Nimitz-class aircraft carriers USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) have been conducting operations around the globe, demonstrating the inherent capacity of the aircraft carrier and embarked Carrier Air Wing.

U.S. Navy aircraft carriers maintain unmatched responsiveness, flexibility, and mobility as well as the unique ability to operate forward, far away from American shores, unconstrained by the need to refuel. The nuclear-powered ship provides extra capacity for aircraft fuel, armament, and additional warfighting capability — a growth margin for future technology in shipboard warfighting systems and advanced aircraft. This asymmetric advantage grants us access to maritime domains that no other country can influence across the full range of military options. Check more details below:

Article: Abraham Lincoln CSG and Kearsarge ARG Conduct Joint Operations in U.S. 5th Fleet (May 19, 2019)

Video: USS Abraham Lincoln and USS Kearsarge Joint Operations in the Arabian Sea (May 17, 2019)


ARABIAN SEA (May 17, 2019) Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group (ABECSG) and Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (KSGARG) conduct joint operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. The ABECSG and KSGARG, with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, are prepared to respond to contingencies and to defend U.S. forces and interests in the region. (US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Catie Coyle/Released)

Article: USS John C. Stennis Arrives in Norfolk (May 16, 2019)

Blog: John C. Stennis Joins the Norfolk CVN Family (May 15, 2019)

In the fall of 2018, quietly and with a purpose, USS John C. Stennis departed Bremerton, Washington, with little notice and less fanfare… Not an easy task for 100,000 tons of steel. —  Rear Adm. Roy Kelley


NORFOLK (May 16, 2019) The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) arrives at Naval Station Norfolk, May 16, 2019. John C. Stennis arrived in its new homeport at Naval Station Norfolk, following a deployment to the U.S. 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility and having conducted a homeport shift from Bremerton, Washington. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Kody A. Phillips/Released)

Article: USS Theodore Roosevelt Participates in Exercise Northern Edge 2019 (May 14, 2019)

Article: Exercise Northern Edge 2019 kicks off in Alaska (May 13, 2019)


GULF OF ALASKA (May 14, 2019) An F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the “Blue Diamonds” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 146 launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) while participating in Exercise Northern Edge 2019. Northern Edge is one in a series of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command exercises in 2019 that prepares joint forces to respond to crisis in the Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Olympia O. McCoy/Released)

Article: Abraham Lincoln Transits Suez Canal (May 9, 2019)

Video: USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group Completes Southbound Suez Transit (May 9, 2019)

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) and carrier strike group completes a southbound Suez Canal transit.

Video: Flight Operations Aboard USS Abraham Lincoln in the Mediterranean Sea (April 25, 2019)

U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets launch and recover aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group is currently deployed in defense of American forces and interests in the 5th and 6th fleet areas of operation.


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U.S. Navy Carriers Keep Freedom Safe

John C. Stennis Joins the Norfolk CVN Family

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By Rear Adm. Roy Kelley
Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic

In the fall of 2018, quietly and with a purpose, USS John C. Stennis departed Bremerton, Washington, with little notice and less fanfare… Not an easy task for 100,000 tons of steel. This is the latest example of how the Navy is supporting the National Defense Strategy through dynamic, unpredictable operations.


PACIFIC OCEAN (Feb. 22, 2019) Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88) let out the sound powered phone line during a breakaway after a replenishment-at-sea with the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) in the Pacific Ocean, Feb. 22, 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Bryan Niegel/Released)

Make no mistake, the world’s oceans are the forefront of a new great power competition. As our near-peer competitors and adversaries continue to push agendas predicated on global instability, we will do what we do best – operate as the world’s most maneuverable and lethal maritime force. And, we will do it as the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (CSG) has done over the last seven months – anytime, anywhere.

Throughout the Third, Seventh, Fifth, Sixth and Second Fleets, the men and women of this strike group operated impeccably at the forefront, taking the fight to terror groups, securing vital international shipping lanes, and strengthening a global community of allies and partners. The strike group also flexed the Navy’s ability to conduct high-end, complex warfare, participating in the multinational exercise Intrepid Sentinel as well as integrating with the Essex Amphibious Readiness Group, the French Navy flag ship Charles De Gaulle, and the Ronald Reagan and Abraham Lincoln CSGs.


MEDITERRANEAN SEA (April 24, 2019) The aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) steams alongside the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), background, in the Mediterranean Sea, April 24, 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Grant G. Grady/Released)

Proving their ability to operate seamlessly with various platforms across international boundaries, the strike group also continued the Navy’s tradition of aviation dominance. USS John C. Stennis and embarked Carrier Air Wing NINE amassed 23,592 flight hours, including 2282 hours of combat operations that expended more than 250,000 pounds of ordnance. All this while supporting Operations Inherent Resolve and Freedom’s Sentinel.

And as much as I relish highlighting this team’s combat acumen, they also shined as diplomats.  Through five port visits with key allies and a number of multinational engagements, the strike group continued to foster partnerships that will help ensure global security and stability.


RED SEA (April 18, 2019) Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 2nd Class Christopher Settle, from Columbus, Indiana, directs an EA-18G Growler assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 133 toward a steam-powered catapult on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) in the Red Sea, April 18, 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Skyler Okerman)

Across most of the world’s oceans and in ever-changing environments, the Sailors of the John C. Stennis CSG displayed an immense amount of courage and focus. They have truly demonstrated the intrinsic value of the Navy’s most important resource – the men and women in our ranks. This includes our dedicated family members whose strength and support are the catalyst for our success. To family and friends, I sincerely thank you for everything you do.

To the strike group Sailors, Bravo Zulu for your exceptional work. To USS John C. Stennis, welcome to your new home!


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John C. Stennis Joins the Norfolk CVN Family

National Nurses Week

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (April 17, 2018) Lt. Amy Moore, a Navy reserve nurse at Naval Hospital Jacksonville’s Multi-Service Unit, readies an IV for use. (U.S. Navy photo by Jacob Sippel/Released)



In observance of National Nurses Week, a big thank you to the dedicated U.S. Navy nurses around the world for all their hard work providing care, and the important roles they play not only for military service members and their families, but also for all people in need!


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (April 14, 2017) Kim Baughman, a registered nurse at the Naval Hospital Jacksonville maternal infant unit, checks a newborn’s reflexes. Nurses Week is May 6-12, celebrating nurses who lead the charge for health and wellness. (U.S. Navy photo by Jacob Sippel, Naval Hospital Jacksonville/Released)

MAYPORT, Fla. (Nov. 10, 2016) Capt. Mary White, a nurse practitioner at Naval Branch Health Clinic (NBHC) Mayport’s Pediatrics clinic, examines a child experiencing cold symptoms. (U.S. Navy photo by Jacob Sippel/Released)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (April 9, 2019) Ensign Pauline Gachalian hands a newborn boy to his mother, Petty Officer 2nd Class Emily Smith, at Naval Hospital Jacksonville’s Maternal Infant Unit. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jacob Sippel/Released)

SAN FRANCISCO (Oct. 3, 2018) Lt. Allison Christ, left, an intensive care unit registered nurse at Naval Medical Center Balboa in San Diego, and Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Brittanie Haring right,, a native of Massillon, Ohio, place a chest tube in a simulated patient using augmented reality glasses as part of a tele-medical training exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kelsey L. Adams/Released)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Sept. 14, 2018) Ensign Michelle Araya, a registered nurse, checks on Cpl. Nicholas Digregorio and his wife as they hold their newborn twin girls at Naval Hospital Jacksonville. (U.S. Navy photo by Jacob Sippel/Released)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (April 17, 2018) Lt. Amy Moore, a Navy reserve nurse at Naval Hospital Jacksonville’s Multi-Service Unit, readies an IV for use. (U.S. Navy photo by Jacob Sippel/Released)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (March 29, 2018) Lt. j.g. Wesley Limberg, a registered nurse at Naval Hospital Jacksonville’s Labor and Delivery unit, asks Carolina Wilson questions about her pregnancy. (U.S. Navy photo by Jacob Sippel/Released)

PACIFIC OCEAN (April 23, 2018) Nurses assigned to the U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) give reports on incoming patients during a mass casualty drill. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kelsey L. Adams/Released)


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Storied WWII Unit Was Made Up of Nisei. Who Were They?

Image 442nd-1.jpg

By Katie Lange,
Defense Media Activity

Every May, there’s a lot going on. There’s May Day, the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Memorial Day, just to name a few. It also happens to be Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. While that might not be a big deal to you personally, it means a whole lot to the armed forces.

442nd Regimental Combat Team at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, June 1943. Photo courtesy of the U.S. War Department

It just so happens that one of the most decorated military units in American history – the 422nd Regimental Combat Team – was a segregated World War II unit made up entirely of Americans of Japanese ancestry.

This is a big deal for obvious reasons. But in case your brain is struggling today, here’s a bit of the history as to why.

You see, Japanese-Americans were barred from military service at the start of World War II. The Pearl Harbor attacks on Dec. 7, 1941, led to major backlash, including a change in draft status for Japanese-Americans – known as Nisei – from ”draft eligible” to “enemy alien,” meaning they couldn’t enlist in the armed forces. Hundreds of thousands of Nisei were relocated into internment camps out of fear and distrust.

Members of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team play “galloping dominoes” upon the bed of a GI truck at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, June 1943. Photo courtesy of the U.S. War Department

Despite this, many Nisei still wanted to serve America, and they were eventually able to do so through the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion, the Military Intelligence Service, and the storied 442nd RCT – which became the most decorated unit of its size and length of service in U.S. military history.

The 442nd RCT was activated Feb. 1, 1943, and was composed of Nisei men who had volunteered from Hawaii and internment camps on the mainland. They trained at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, before deploying to Italy in June 1944, where they joined in combat with the 100th Infantry Battalion – the first Nisei Army unit to be activated in the war.

In the following two months, the 442nd RCT earned nine Distinguished Service Crosses, while the 100th earned three. By mid-August, the 100th officially became part of the 442nd RCT. “Go for broke” was their motto.

The men of the 442nd RCT fought so well that, in September 1944, they were reassigned to the invasion of southern France under the 7th Army and took part in the drive into the Vosges Mountains. During four weeks that fall, they liberated Bruyeres and Biffontaine and also rescued a battalion that had been cut off from its division.

Members of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team train at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, in 1943. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army Signal Corps

For several more months, the 442nd RCT guarded the French/Italian border. By March 1945, they were again reassigned, this time to the 5th Army and the Po Valley campaign, where they were attached to the 92nd Infantry Division, an all African-American unit. Together, they helped drive the Germans out of northern Italy.

In their two years of service, the 442nd RCT and the 100th IB (before it joined the 442nd) earned:

  • 7 Presidential Unit Citations
  • 2 Meritorious Service Plaques
  • 36 Army Commendation Medals
  • 87 Division Commendations

Individual soldiers were awarded 18,000 decorations, including:

The Color Guard of the 442nd RCT stands at attention while citations are read following the fierce fighting in the Vosges area of France, Nov. 12, 1944. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army Signal Corps

  • 21 Medals of Honor
  • 29 Distinguished Service Crosses
  • 560 Silver Stars
  • 4,000 Bronze Stars
  • 22 Legion of Merit medals
  • 15 Soldier’s Medals
  • Nearly 9,500 Purple Hearts

The units lost 650 men, more than 3,700 were wounded in action, and 67 were declared missing in action.

Because of the 442nd RCT’s success, the draft was reinstated in the internment camps back home, and several other battalions and companies were incorporated into it.

The 442nd RCT was demobilized and inactivated about a year after World War II came to an end, but their lineage and the honors given to them remain a steadfast reminder of the Nisei courage, discipline and devotion to country during a time when their countrymen didn’t always love them back. Many of the men who served in the 442nd went on to have distinguished careers in science, higher education and government.

For their commitment and devotion to the cause, we certainly thank them for their service during this heritage month!

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Storied WWII Unit Was Made Up of Nisei. Who Were They?

Rating Modernization: Advancement Process

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By Rear Adm. John Nowell

Rating Modernization is the future of the growing workforce in the Navy. In August we released NAVADMIN 196/18 which provided an update on those four lines of effort and this is the fourth of a total of five blog posts that will talk about the updates to Rating Modernization. We also have a series of six Rating Modernization podcasts that mirror the blogs we will be sharing with you.

In 2017 we gave commands the ability to reinstate an E3 Sailor to E4 who had been awarded NJP, after a six month waiting period. We also eliminated E4 advancement exams for 20 ratings where Sailors auto-advance, which helps to reduce administrative burden.


BELL GARDENS, Calif. (Feb. 10, 2019) Reserve component Sailors assigned to Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) Los Angeles take advancement exams in the drill hall at NOSC Los Angeles.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Pyoung K. Yi/Released)

Then, late in 2017, Navy senior enlisted leaders completed the first phase of the Advancement Exam Readiness Review (AERR) testing bank improvement plan by drafting advancement exam questions that match current and relevant rating-specific technical requirements with the hands-on, real-world knowledge and experience needed in the fleet.

The establishment of the Professional Military Knowledge Eligibility Exam (PMK-EE) focuses the Navy Wide Advancement Exam (NWAE) on occupational knowledge and will serve as an eligibility requirement for advancement to pay grades E4/5/6/7. PMK-EE is delivered electronically and is available via the MyNavyPortal (MNP) website.


PEARL HARBOR (Jan. 16, 2019) Sailors review promotional materials for the MyNavy Career Development Symposium at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Matthew Riggs/Released)

The online Enlisted Advancement Worksheet (EAW), will automate the manual advancement processes and enable Sailors to review their worksheets before the exam and take charge of their advancement records. An EAW pilot, is available through the Navy Standard Integrated Personnel System (NSIPS), for the Active Duty and Reserve spring 2019 advancement cycles.

The Senior Enlisted Advancement to Vacancy (A2V) pilot was announced in June and will fill senior chief petty officer and master chief petty officer priority billets using a spot advancement incentive, and will lead enlisted advancement modernization for exceptional Sailors in all pay grades with critical NECs in the future.

Don’t forget to check out our podcasts! We have a series of six Rating Modernization podcasts that accompany this blog series.

Editor’s note: Sailor 2025 is the Navy’s program to more effectively recruit, develop, manage, reward and retain the force of tomorrow. It consists of approximately 45 living, breathing initiatives and is built on a framework of three pillars – a modern personnel system, a career learning continuum and career readiness.


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Rating Modernization: Advancement Process