New Mark VI Patrol Boat Command Opportunities: Q&A

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From Navy Expeditionary Combat Command Public Affairs

Last year, U.S. Navy Surface Warfare Officers (SWOs) learned of two new and exciting opportunities in the Coastal Riverine Force. Junior SWOs on track to successfully complete their second division officer tours were notified of the opportunity to screen for command-at-sea billets serving in one of the Navy’s newest platforms, the Mark VI Patrol Boat. Following in the footsteps of the PT boats of World War II and the Riverines in Vietnam, SWOs now have a cutting edge platform and new opportunities for small unit leadership. Additionally, department heads requesting to screen for command early were notified of an opportunity to be slated to serve as a Mark VI company commander, commanding three of the boats. Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) Public Affairs Officer Cmdr. Cate Cook recently sat down with Capt. Stan Chien, commander, Coastal Riverine Group 1, and Lt. Cmdr. Tim Yuhas, the second tour department head and early command SWO detailer at Navy Personnel Command, to learn more about this opportunity in the Coastal Riverine Force.

Q1. Tell us more about this new opportunity and how it came to be.
A1. (Yuhas) In August of last year, Commander Naval Surface Forces announced the first opportunity for post-division officers and post-department heads to screen for command-at-sea billets as Mark VI Patrol Boat commanding officers and company commanders. These billets add to our early command inventory of Patrol Coastal Ships (PCs) and Mine Countermeasure Ships (MCMs) located around the World. The surface warfare community values command at sea – it’s the pinnacle of leadership – and for a talented group of board-screened junior officers they get to command as early as year five of commissioned service. Mark VI Companies are located in Little Creek, Virginia, and San Diego and deploy forward to the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet Areas of Responsibility. The Mark VI Patrol Boat commanding officer (lieutenant command) will have a crew of 11 people and be responsible for operating the 84-foot craft. The company commander (lieutenant commander command) will deploy with their three craft and provide operational command and control of the Mark VI as well as provide administrative and materiel support. They can expect to get underway with their company for one to three day patrols as the boats expand the operational reach of the Mark VI.

(Chien) The command position was created because operation of the Mark VI requires dedicated, resourceful leadership to safely maintain and fight these advanced patrol craft. The Mark VI is transforming the Coastal Riverine Force through extended reach and increased combat power. Currently junior officers that are part of the Mark VI crews are very capable of operating the platform, but the command position was created to attract the top performers of the surface community needed to seize the initiative and lead the Mark VI program through the maturation process required to fully integrate into the Chief of Naval Operations’ (CNO) Maritime Design.


IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. (February 2, 2018) Capt. Stan Chien, commander of Coastal Riverine Group (CRG) 1, speaks during a change of command ceremony held onboard Naval Outlying Landing Field Imperial Beach Feb. 8. The Coastal Riverine Force provides a core capability to defend designated high value assets throughout the green and blue-water environment and provides deployable adaptive force packages worldwide in integrated, joint and combined theaters of operations (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Boatswain’s Mate Nelson Doromal/Released)

Q2. Who is eligible?
A2. (Yuhas) This is a tremendous and rewarding opportunity that is open to the best and most fully qualified officers. The screening for lieutenant commander command (Mark VI company commander, PCs, and MCMs) remains unchanged – in fact, the screening board does not define who is screened to which assignment; slating is a function of the officer’s timing, preferences and needs of the Navy.
Division officers who wish to apply for Mark VI Patrol Boat commanding officers must meet the following requirements:
a) Attain formal designation letter as a SWO
b) Serve at least 36 months in a ship
c) Complete at least one deployment
d) Complete Basic Division Officer Course
e) Complete Advanced Division Officer Course (nuclear-qualified officers exempt)
f) Earn their Engineering Officer of the Watch qualification
g) Demonstrate sustained skills in shiphandling and seamanship while assigned to their ship
h) Screen for department head
i) Complete the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command screening

Q3. Some SWOs are unfamiliar with the Mark VI. What can you tell us about this platform?
A3. (Chien) Mark VI patrol boats are the newest platform in Navy Expeditionary Combat Command’s inventory. Eighty-four ft. in length, the Mark VI is a highly capable platform whose primary mission is to provide capability to persistently patrol littoral areas beyond sheltered harbors and bays for the purpose of force protection for friendly and coalition forces and critical infrastructure. Missions include security force assistance, high value unit shipping escort, visit board search and seizure support operations, and theater security cooperation. Crew sizes are small at maximum of 12 personnel, affording an opportunity at small unit leadership not found elsewhere in the Surface Warfare community, coupled with a strong sense of camaraderie. The crew consists of two full watch teams, each with a patrol officer, boat captain, coxswain, engineer/gunner, navigator and communicator/gunner.

Q4. When looking at what might be called the “traditional” career track of a SWO, the opportunity to command a Mark VI comes after a SWO’s second division officer tour at sea – a time when many SWOs are assigned a shore tour. What would you say to an officer who is hesitant to follow their second division officer tour with another tour at sea?
A4. (Chien) This new opportunity is not going to be for everyone – but if you are someone who thrives at sea and in leadership positions, we would consider it a privilege to have you join our team in the Coastal Riverine Force. The platform provides a unique opportunity to experience a small, tight knit community that integrates with other Navy units such as Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD). Your experience in the “blue water” fleet will contribute significantly to the design of future mission sets realizing the full capability of these outstanding boats.

(Yuhas) Every situation is different – as such, Division Officers approaching the end of their 2nd DIVO tour need to assess their personal and professional goals. From the professional standpoint – you are correct – one can expect to leave their 2nd DIVO tour – spend approximately six months in their training pipeline before reporting to their craft. They will go through workups and should expect to have two deployments over the two year window they will be in Command. Our community has always valued “WUK” – water under the keel – there’s only one way to get WUK and that is at sea! I had a great friend and phenomenal SWO once say to me “Experience comes only after you need it” and it is the truth! You must build your experience base to become – more experienced! Why wouldn’t you want to start that as early as possible? By putting your name in the hat and being screened for early command – whether that is lieutenant or lieutenant commander command – you’ve signaled your intent and so has the Navy by trusting in you to lead our future. As that leader you will ensure our combat readiness and the solemn stewardship of our nation’s most prized possession – its sons and daughters. Who wouldn’t be humbled and honored by such an opportunity?

Q5. What are the professional and personal benefits of requesting to screen for Mark VI Patrol Boat Command? Will this tour make SWOs more competitive than their peers when it comes to future screening and promotion boards?
A5. (Chien) As any SWO knows, look for opportunities to lead early and often if you want to break out from the pack. The Mark VI Patrol Boat commanding officer tours are going to be extremely challenging but rewarding – there is no better place to hone your leadership and shiphandling skills while leading a dedicated team of Sailors than in the Coastal Riverine Force on one of the Navy’s newest platforms. The Surface community has generally rewarded those officers who command early with additional opportunities at the O-5 and O-6 level… and we expect to see the same thing for our Mark VI early command officers.

(Yuhas) When it comes to future promotion and screening boards, PERS-41 is working to ensure precepts are updated to clearly articulate to a board the value of Mark VI Command. We believe that an officer who has been screened by community leadership and successfully completes Command will be very competitive at any screening board. Further it’s worth noting that in a case where an officer screens but is not slated, that officer’s records will be updated with an early command screening code. That officer should also make sure that the words “SCREENED FOR LT COMMAND” are at the top of every FITREP that follows until they are screened for the next higher milestone. There are two reasons why an officer might be screened but not slated: their career timing and billet availability. If this happens it is not considered a negative reflection of that officer’s record, nor is there any indication of non-selection in the officer’s official record. By applying for Early Command, your record will get a hard look by some of our community’s strongest leaders. These are the same people who sit on commander command boards, etc. – it’s a free look to see how you are doing!


GUAM (April 6, 2017) A MK VI patrol boat, assigned to Coastal Riverine Group (CRG) 1 Detachment Guam, maneuvers off the coast of Guam April 6, 2017. CRG 1 Detachment Guam is assigned to Commander, Task Force 75, which is the primary expeditionary task force responsible for the planning and execution of coastal riverine operations, explosive ordnance disposal, mobile diving and salvage, engineering and construction, and underwater construction in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations. (U.S. Navy Combat Camera photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alfred A. Coffield)

Q6. Aside from individual benefits, how will the Surface Warfare Community benefit overall from this initiative?
A6. (Chien) The surface warfare community will see real dividends from this early command opportunity. The junior officers selected to command Mark VI Patrol Boats will have a tremendous opportunity to mature their leadership, tactical and shiphandling skills throughout their tour with the Coastal Riverine Force. As these men and women grow in their Navy careers and advance to positions at sea with more responsibility, the skills they honed in the Mark VI will enhance the operational effectiveness of any ship in which they serve.

Q7. What kind of officer is the Coastal Riverine Force looking for to command its Mark VI patrol boats and companies?
A7. (Chien) For both the company and patrol boat command positions, we’re looking for bold, innovative and tactically-astute officers who are comfortable in positions of great authority and responsibility. The crews are small, so we need officers who can build a cohesive bond with and among the crew. Most importantly, and in keeping with the CNO’s focus upon toughness, we need officers who can fight and win with this incredible new patrol boat. The Coastal Riverine Force is professional group of Sailors with a unique mission spanning a variety of missions not found in any other communities. Coastal Riverine sailors will deploy to various locations throughout the world, in unit sizes ranging from five sailors to over 200, fulfilling the missions of embarked security teams, aircraft security teams, port and maritime infrastructure security, landside security, high value unit escorts and overt unmanned aerial systems surveillance missions.

Q8. What is a typical tour like?
A8. (Chien) Mark VI Patrol Boat tours will be 24 months in lengths and located in Little Creek and San Diego. Mark VI crew members should expect to deploy for seven out of every 18 months to the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operations. Deployments to 5th fleet will be to Bahrain where Mark VI’s conduct exercises and operations with the Explosive Ordnance Disposal community and Joint units, provide High Value Unit escorts, maritime Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions, littoral patrols, and support to maritime interdiction operations. Deployments to 7th fleet vary significantly from 5th fleet due to the geography of the Pacific. Mark VI deployments initiate from Guam and the main effort will be to expand the range and capabilities of the Patrol Boat to participate in Theater Security Cooperation efforts.

Q9. What does the training pipeline look like for the new Mark VI Patrol Boat Commanding Officer position?
A9.  (Yuhas) Slated Mark VI commanding officers can expect to go to the Surface Warfare Officers School for a portion of the Surface Commanders Course (SCC) – take a revised command assessment, attend Command Leadership School at The Naval Leadership and Ethics Center, also in Newport, and then proceed to NECC for follow-on training in order to give them the foundation they need to be successful. For those slated to lieutenant commander command, the pipeline will look much the same as it currently is: senior officer legal, command leadership, SCC, Shipride, TYCOM Indoctrination, command assessment (as needed) and NECC training (as appropriate). The pipeline for Mark VI commanding officers will generally take six months. Company commander training may take a little longer based on course availability.

Q10. If you could go back in time to the days when you were a Lieutenant, would you have pursued the opportunity to command a Mark VI patrol boat? If so, why?
A10. (Chien) Without hesitation. Trailblazers who compete for these positions have the opportunity to join an exclusive club comprised of some the Navy’s most respected leaders who also cut their teeth leading small, fast boats at sea. Just look at President John F. Kennedy and Adm. John D. Bulkeley…no one can deny the legacy they created in their leadership of small boat crews as Navy lieutenants during World War II. This is an incredible opportunity for a young officer and I would have considered it an honor and a privilege to have been given the chance to lead a small boat crew at sea.

(Yuhas) I wish it was available when I was leaving my DIVO tours! Command of a PC was challenging and yet the most rewarding tour I have had in the Navy so far. How awesome would it be to drive and lead a crew of Sailors in today’s version of a PT boat!

Q11. What should a DIVO and SWO do if they’re interested?
A11. (Yuhas) The first step is meeting all the prerequisites we discussed earlier – once you meet them please reach out to me so I can send you some templates for the Command Board that you will need to complete as well as the letters you need to get which will clear your way for the Early Command Board. The board is held semi-annually in June and November. I’m standing by to help get you into command – please send me an email (timothy.yuhas@navy.mil) or give me a call and we can talk (901.874.3485)!


MILLINGTON, Tenn. (Feb. 14, 2018) Lt. Cmdr. Tim Yuhas poses for an environmental portrait in his office at Navy Personnel Command at Naval Support Activity Mid-South. Yuhas details board-screened Early Command officers to MK VI, Mine Countermeasure and Costal Patrol Ships around the world. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Matthew Riggs/Released)


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New Mark VI Patrol Boat Command Opportunities: Q&A

Presidential Sailors

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On this President’s Day weekend, we’re taking a look at the Sailors who went from shipmates to presidents.

WASHINGTON (Feb. 16, 2018) A graphic illustration depicting the Presidents who have served in the U.S. Navy. (U.S. Navy graphic by Kirsten Sisson/Released)
WASHINGTON (Feb. 16, 2018) A graphic illustration depicting the Presidents who have served in the U.S. Navy. (U.S. Navy graphic by Kirsten Sisson/Released)


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Presidential Sailors

PCU Colorado (SSN 788)

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About the Boat

When and where is the commissioning ceremony?
The commissioning ceremony will be held at Naval Submarine Base New London on March 17, 2018.

How many other submarines does the U.S. Navy currently have?
There are currently three classes of SSNs (attack submarines) in service; the Los Angeles, Sea Wolf and Virginia class (50 in total). The Navy also has guided missile submarines and ballistic missile submarines too.

What makes the Virginia class different?
The Virginia-class submarines are better capable to operate in littoral waters. They additionally can be configured to support special operations forces (SOF) by converting a torpedo room into an area for SOF personnel and their equipment. Additionally, diving operations can occur with greater ease due to a large lock-in/lock-out chamber for divers. Block III submarines feature a redesigned bow, which replaces 12 individual launch tubes with two large-diameter Virginia Payload Tubes each capable of launching six Tomahawk cruise missiles, among other design changes that reduced the submarines’ acquisition cost while maintaining their outstanding warfighting capabilities.

Where was the Colorado constructed?
Virginia-class submarines are built under a joint construction contract between General Dynamics’ Electric Boat Division and Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding. GD Electric Boat and Newport News Shipbuilding are the only two U.S. shipyards capable of building nuclear-powered vessels.

When was the keel laid?
March 7, 2015

When was the ship christened?
December 3, 2016

When did PCU Colorado pass the required inspections by the Navy?
Colorado successfully completed the independent Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) trials, which evaluates the submarine’s seaworthiness and operational capabilities. During INSURV trials, the crew took the submarine to test depth and tested the submarine’s propulsion plant and material readiness. The sub was delivered to the Navy on Sept. 21, 2017.

Who is USS Colorado’s sponsor?
The ship’s sponsor for USS Colorado is Annie Mabus. Annie was born in Jackson, Mississippi. Early in her life, she moved with her family to Saudi Arabia when her father, former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, served as ambassador to the Kingdom. She returned to Mississippi for her schooling and remained there through high school. During that time, she also traveled, studying in France and seeing much of the world. Annie is a swimmer, who has competed throughout her life, winning a state championship as a high school junior.

Annie attended New York University, where she studied art history and studio art. She completed several internships at major art institutions, including The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art. She graduated with honors from NYU in 2014 and has remained in New York. After graduation, she was appointed VIP manager at the Museum of American Art’s summer music series, and currently assists an art and cultural advisor with international projects. Annie plans to attend graduate school and pursue a career in museum curation.

The Navy plays an immensely important role in Annie’ life. With her father’s appointment as secretary, Annie was welcomed into the Navy family and created life-long friendships with many Sailors and Marines. She was named an honorary member of the U. S. Naval Academy’s 23rd Company in recognition of her close connection with the academy and the Brigade of Midshipmen. Her place within the Navy family was cemented when she was named ship sponsor of Colorado, and she looks forward to a lifelong relationship with the submarine and its crew.

When was the ship named?
The Secretary of the Navy announced June 25, 2012, that SSN-788, the 15th Virginia-class submarine, would be named after the state of Colorado.

How big is the PCU Colorado?
377 ft. long; 34 ft. wide; approximately 7,800 tons submerged

How fast can the PCU Colorado go?
25+ knots submerged

What history does the USS Colorado name have in the Navy?
There have been two ships in the U.S. Navy named after the state of Colorado and one named after the Colorado River.

  • The first USS Colorado (Screw Frigate) was a 3500-ton three-masted steam frigate commissioned in 1858 and named after the Colorado River. During the Civil War she participated in the Union Navy’s Gulf Blockading Squadron. She participated in the first naval engagement of the Civil War when she attacked and sank the Confederate private schooner Judah off Pensacola, Florida. She captured several vessels and engaged four Confederate steamers.
  • The second USS Colorado (AC 7) was an armored cruiser of the 13,900 ton-Pennsylvania class and was commissioned in 1905. After initial operation on the east coast she served in the Pacific alternating between the Asiatic Station and the eastern Pacific. She was renamed Pueblo on Nov. 9, 1916, to free up the name for the new battleship Colorado. After a yard period, she returned to Mexico, to blockade interned German ships.
  • The third USS Colorado (BB 45) was the lead ship of the class and was commissioned on Aug. 30, 1923. She displaced 32,600 tons with a length of 624 feet. She served in European waters in 1923 and 1924 before transferring to the Pacific. Prior to WWII she served with the Pacific fleet and helped in the search for missing aviator Amelia Earhart in 1937. She earned seven battle stars for her service in WWII. She supported operations in the Gilberts, Marshalls (Enitwetok and Kwajalein), Marianas (Saipan and Guram), Leyte, Luzon (Mindoro and Lingayen Gulf), Okinawa and Tinian. On July 24, 1944, while bombarding Tinian, she was hit by enemy shore batteries, suffering serious casualties to topside personnel. Colorado’s next combat duty was off Leyte in November 1944, where she was hit by two Kamikaze suicide planes. She was tied up next to USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay for the signing of the surrender of Japan. She was decommissioned in 1947.

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Biographies

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. (Jan. 12, 2018) Pre-Commissioning Unit Colorado (SSN 788) Commanding Officer Cmdr. Reed Koeep, Executive Officer Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Col and Chief of the Boat, Master Chief Freddie Richter post for a photo. Colorado is the 15th Virginia-class attack submarine and is scheduled to be commissioned March 17, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jeffrey M. Richardson/Released)
PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. (Jan. 12, 2018) Pre-Commissioning Unit Colorado (SSN 788) Commanding Officer Cmdr. Reed Koeep, Executive Officer Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Col and Chief of the Boat, Master Chief Freddie Richter post for a photo. Colorado is the 15th Virginia-class attack submarine and is scheduled to be commissioned March 17, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jeffrey M. Richardson/Released)

Commanding Officer
Cmdr. Gregory R. Koepp II, a native of Picayune, Mississippi, graduated from Louisiana State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics. He received his commission through the Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate program after completing Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida. Upon completion of nuclear power training and the Submarine Officer Basic Course in 2002, Koepp reported onboard USS Tennessee (SSBN 734) in King’s Bay, Georgia, serving as a division officer in engineering and tactics while completing four strategic deterrent patrols. In 2005, he reported ashore to Commander, Navy Recruiting Command as Nuclear Training and Accessions Officer.

Following Submarine Officer Advanced Course in 2007, Koepp relieved as the Navigation and Operations Officer onboard USS Virginia (SSN 774) in Groton, Connecticut. During this tour, the ship deployed to the Europe and Africa areas of responsibility, and was awarded the Battle “E” in 2008 and 2009. In 2010, he reported ashore to Commander Submarine Squadron Four as the Squadron Operations Officer in Groton.

In 2013, upon completion of Submarine Command Course, Koepp relieved as Executive Officer onboard USS Buffalo (SSN 715) in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. During this tour, the ship completed a Pre-Inactivation Restricted Availability and a Theater Anti-Submarine Warfare Surge Deployment. In 2015, he reported ashore to Nuclear Power Training Unit in Charleston, South Carolina as executive officer.

Koepp has completed a Masters in Engineering Management degree at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, and Joint Professional Military Education through the Air University Air Command and Staff College and National Defense University.

Executive Officer
Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Col is a native of Modesto, California. He was selected for the Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate Program and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computational Physics from University of Nevada – Las Vegas and commissioned through Officer Candidate School in 2003.

Following completion of nuclear power training, he reported to USS Alaska (SSBN 732) (GOLD) in 2005 where he served as Electrical Assistant, Main Propulsion Assistant, Damage Control Assistant, and Assistant Engineer. USS Alaska (GOLD) completed two strategic deterrent patrols, one Commander’s Evaluation Test, and a change of homeport to Norfolk Naval Shipyard for an Engineered Refueling Overhaul.

Following Submarine Officer Advanced Course in 2010, Col reported to USS Topeka (SSN 754) as the engineer officer. While onboard, the ship completed deployments to U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility and to the Western Pacific, and conducted an Arctic transit to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard for an Engineered Overhaul.

Col reported to PCU Colorado (SSN 788) in October 2015 as executive officer.

Ashore, his assignments have included earning a Master of Science Degree in Engineering Acoustics from Naval Postgraduate School, and Naval Submarine School.

Chief of the Boat
ETVCM (SS) Freddie Richter was born in Garfield, New Jersey, and entered the Navy in May of 1999. Upon completion of recruit training at Great Lakes, Illinois and Basic Enlisted Submarine School (BESS) in Groton, Connecticut, he attended Electronics Technician “A” School in Groton.

His first operational command was onboard USS Honolulu (SSN 718) in Pearl Harbor, HI. Onboard Honolulu, he completed his submarine warfare qualification, two Western Pacific deployments and one U.S. Central Command deployment before attending Electronics Technician “C” School in Groton. Upon graduation, he transferred to the USS Helena (SSN 725) in April 2004 as the navigation leading petty officer. Following his tour onboard USS Helena, Richter reported to Submarine Learning Facility (SLF) in Norfolk in June 2006. It was on this tour where he was advanced to chief petty officer and qualified as a master training specialist.

Following his tour at SLF, he reported back to Pearl Harbor onboard the USS Hawaii (SSN 776) for duty as the assistant navigator. He completed two highly successful Western Pacific deployments, earned the 2010 and 2012 SUBRON 1 Battle “E”, two consecutive Red and Green Navigation “N”, advanced to the rank of senior chief petty officer and completed qualification as a chief of the boat.

In June 2013, he reported as the assistant navigator on the staff of Naval Submarine School where he trained future submarine assistant navigators while preparing 18 homeported submarines for deployment to the North Atlantic and Middle East area of responsibility and was advanced to master chief petty officer.

In November 2015, he was selected to serve as a chief of the boat, completed the Senior Enlisted Academy course and Command Master Chief/Chief of the Boat Capstone course before reporting to the PCU Colorado (SSN 788) in May 2016 as chief of the boat.

Ship’s Sponsor
Annie Mabus was born in Jackson, Mississippi. Early in her life, she moved with her family to Saudi Arabia when her father, former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, served as ambassador to the Kingdom. She returned to Mississippi for her schooling and remained there through high school. During that time, she also traveled, studying in France and seeing much of the world. Annie is a swimmer, who has competed throughout her life, winning a state championship as a high school junior.

Annie attended New York University, where she studied art history and studio art. She completed several internships at major art institutions, including The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art. She graduated with honors from NYU in 2014 and has remained in New York. After graduation, she was appointed VIP manager at the Museum of American Art’s summer music series, and currently assists an art and cultural advisor with international projects. Annie plans to attend graduate school and pursue a career in museum curation.

The Navy plays an immensely important role in Annie’ life. With her father’s appointment as secretary, Annie was welcomed into the Navy family and created life-long friendships with many Sailors and Marines. She was named an honorary member of the U. S. Naval Academy’s 23rd Company in recognition of her close connection with the academy and the Brigade of Midshipmen. Her place within the Navy family was cemented when she was named ship sponsor of Colorado, and she looks forward to a lifelong relationship with the submarine and its crew.

Commander, Submarine Forces/Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic
Commander, Allied Submarine Command
Vice Adm. Joseph Tofalo grew up in upstate New York and graduated with distinction from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. He also holds a Master of Science in Engineering Management from Catholic University of America. His father was a 35-year career naval officer and his mother, a Navy Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVE) – one of the first enlisted women in the Navy.

A career submarine officer, his at-sea assignments include: USS Flasher, USS Michigan and USS Montpelier. His at-sea command assignments were as commanding officer, USS Maine and commander, Submarine Squadron (COMSUBRON) 3.

Staff assignments include: three assignments on Commander, Submarine Forces staff; two assignments on Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces staff; four assignments on the chief of naval operations staff; U.S. Joint Forces Command; and the Joint Staff.

Selected for rear admiral in December 2009, his first flag assignment was as assistant deputy chief of staff for Global Force Management and Joint Operations, U.S. Fleet Forces Command. In August 2011, he relieved as commander, Submarine Group 10, and in December 2013 as director, Undersea Warfare on the chief of naval operations staff in the Pentagon.

Tofalo assumed his current duties in September 2015. As commander, Submarine Forces he is the Undersea Domain lead, and is responsible for the submarine force’s strategic vision. As commander, Submarine Force Atlantic, he commands all Atlantic-based U.S. submarines, their crews and supporting shore activities. These responsibilities also include duties as commander, Task Force (CTF) 144, CTF 84; commander, Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Forces Western Atlantic; and CTF 46. As commander, Allied Submarine Command, he provides advice to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Strategic Commanders on submarine related issues.

Naval Submarine Base New London Commanding Officer
Capt. Paul Whitescarver became the 51st commanding officer of Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton in December 2015.
A native of Roanoke, Virginia, Whitescarver enlisted in the Navy in August 1980, serving 11 years in the enlisted ranks before being selected for the Enlisted Commissioning Program. Graduating from Virginia Tech in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics, he then completed his initial officer nuclear power and submarine training.

At sea, he has served in the submarines USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul (SSN 708), USS Norfolk (SSN 714), and USS Alabama (SSBN 731). Whitescarver commanded USS Scranton (SSN 752) from 2009 to 2012.

Ashore, his assignments have included service on the Joint Staff and the Chief of Naval Operations staffs. On the Joint Staff, he was the executive assistant for the deputy for Force Application and director for Chemical, Radiological, Biological and Nuclear Defense in the Force Structure, Resources, and Assessment Directorate, J-8. On the CNO staff, he was Nuclear Enlisted Program and community manager for the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program for the Chief of Naval Personnel, N-1.

Prior to taking command of Naval Submarine Base New London, he most recently served of the staff of Commander, Submarine Forces Atlantic (CSL) in Norfolk, as the operations officer.

Among various personal and unit awards, Whitescarver was the recipient of the Naval Submarine League Charles Lockwood Award for Submarine Excellence in 2001. He is also a graduate of Naval Post Graduate School with a Master of Arts degree in National Security Affairs.

Boat’s Crest

USS Colorado's Crest

The crest of USS Colorado (SSN 788) is contained within the silhouette of the head of a charging mustang, symbolizing the determined nature of the great state of Colorado. This nature of unbridled determination will carry on in the attitude of the crew of Colorado. The fundamental elements of the background are derived from the state of Colorado. Above the waterline lies the white, snow-covered Rocky Mountains standing tall over the landscape and concealing destructive power within their icy ridges. These mountains represent the mighty and majestic nature of submarines. Upon the reflection in the water rests a submarine, representing USS Colorado, transiting forward, into the unknown. Along the collar of the horse lie seven stars that represent the Battle Stars awarded to the battleship USS Colorado (BB 45) for exemplary service in World War II, and reflect the spirit of excellence present in the crew aboard the new USS Colorado. Finally, the Latin motto, Terra Marique Indomila translates to “untamed by land and sea.” Although only three words and a straightforward translation, the motto actually has three distinct meanings:

  • Terra: Untamed by land throughout history
  • Marique: Untamed by the sea
  • Terra Marique Indomita

Together, the motto recognizes the spirit of USS Colorado, both the ship and her crew, a spirit that remains untamed by the rugged terrain and weather extremes of land, and untamed by the rough waves and dark depths of the sea.

From late 2014 into early 2015, the commissioning committee coordinated a competition to design the official crest of the USS Colorado. In April 2015, after receiving over 100 submissions from all across the world, the committee and the crew of PCU Colorado evaluated the submissions and ultimately selected the design of Michael F. Nielson, to serve as the ship’s official crest. After the selection, the designer was contacted to provide some personal background information and finalize the design. It was at that time the command and the committee learned that the designer was both a naval officer and Colorado native who was completing initial training for the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, and had orders to report to PCU Colorado. After completion of his training in October 2015, Lt. j.g. Nielson reported to PCU Colorado as one of the first two junior officers.

History

Evolution of Subs Infographic

The Traditions of Ship Commissionings

Ship Commissionings Infographic

Colorado I (Screw Frigate)

Colorado II (Armored Cruiser No. 7)

Colorado III (BB-45)


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PCU Colorado (SSN 788)

Your Navy Operating Forward – Antarctica, Thailand, South China Sea

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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.

A Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC), assigned to Naval Beach Unit 7, departs the well deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), Feb. 10, 2018 during Exercise Cobra Gold 2018. Marines assigned to the 3d Marine Division embarked the LCAC in a light armored vehicle (LAV). Cobra Gold is an annual exercise conducted in the Kingdom of Thailand from Feb. 13-23 with seven full participating nations. (U.S. Marine Corps motion imagery by Lance Cpl. Austin Weck)


ARABIAN GULF: An EA-18G Growler, assigned to the Cougars of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 139, prepares to launch from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jimmi Lee Bruner/Released)

IWAKUNI, Japan: U.S. Navy MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25 conducts a cross-country flight from their base at Naval Air Facility Atsugi to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Chris Kimbrough/Released)

FUJAIRAH, United Arab Emirates: U.S. Navy Sailors, assigned to Naval Cargo Handling Battalion 1 and Assault Craft Unit 1, unload a utility boat from USNS Seay (T-AKR 302) during Native Fury 18. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Eric Chan/Released)

SOUTH CHINA SEA: An EA-18G Growler assigned to the “Gauntlets” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 136 takes off from the flight deck of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jailene Casso/ Released)

Antarctica: The Military Sealift Command chartered ship MV Ocean Giant arrives at the ice-pier at McMurdo Station, Antarctica as part of Operation Deep Freeze 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Sarah Burford/Released)

LAEM CHABANG, Thailand: Military Sealift Command’s (MSC) large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off ship USNS Pililaau (T-AK 304) arrives at the port here to deliver equipment in support of Cobra Gold 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Grady T. Fontana/Released)

GULF OF THAILAND: Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Tiffanie Allenderriley signals to the pilot of a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter assigned to the “Wolfpack” of Heavy Marine Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 466 as it takes off from the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) in preparation for Cobra Gold 2018 (CG18). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Cosmo Walrath/Released)

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Wishing the Men and Women of Naval Aviation Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year

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

I want to wish you and your families a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season. This is a very special time of year and I hope you are able to enjoy the holiday break and recharge from what has been an exciting year for naval aviation.

Seeing all that has been accomplished in 2017 illustrates to the world that our Navy continues to showcase durability and superiority. We wished fair winds and following seas to the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group as they deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) was awarded the Battle “E” in March for her superior performance and completed sea trials in late July, following an exceptionally executed planned incremental availability. The Navy commissioned our newest aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), which continues to surpass expectations each time she gets underway.

ATLANTIC OCEAN (July 28, 2017) An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 flies over USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). The aircraft carrier was underway conducting test and evaluation operations.(U.S. Navy photo by Erik Hildebrandt/Released)
ATLANTIC OCEAN (July 28, 2017) An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 flies over USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). The aircraft carrier was underway conducting test and evaluation operations.(U.S. Navy photo by Erik Hildebrandt/Released)

Our deploying air wings set operational records while bringing the fight to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Carrier Air Wings 3 and 8 flew a combined 13,247 sorties, delivered 3,110,000 pounds of ordnance, logged 64,268 flight hours and successfully completed 20,868 traps. These are truly staggering numbers that highlight the power and flexibility of naval aviation.

This year’s hurricane season tested our nation’s fortitude. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria devastated parts of the United States, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. These storms tested our ability to quickly respond to a humanitarian crisis. Within hours of receiving their orders, the Dusty Dogs of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 7 and the Dragon Whales of HSC-28 were ready to support relief efforts. Deployed to the front line of these disasters, they demonstrated the best of our humanity. In Texas alone, Navy aircrews completed 358 rescues, including 22 dogs and five cats. No matter where the storms hit, naval aviation performed superbly and served as a shining example of the Navy’s readiness and capability.

DOMINICA (Sept. 24, 2017) Naval Aircrewman (Helicopter) 2nd Class Andy Blessing "fist bumps" an evacuee on an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 22 (HSC-22), attached to the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1), during humanitarian aid operations on the island of Dominica following the landfall of Hurricane Maria. The Department of Defense was supporting United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the lead federal agency, in helping those affected by Hurricane Maria to minimize suffering and is one component of the overall whole-of-government response effort. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Michael Molina/Released)
DOMINICA (Sept. 24, 2017) Naval Aircrewman (Helicopter) 2nd Class Andy Blessing “fist bumps” an evacuee on an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 22 (HSC-22), attached to the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1), during humanitarian aid operations on the island of Dominica following the landfall of Hurricane Maria. The Department of Defense was supporting United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the lead federal agency, in helping those affected by Hurricane Maria to minimize suffering and is one component of the overall whole-of-government response effort. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Michael Molina/Released)

The success of our Navy has always stemmed from the valuable contributions of Sailors, civilians and contractors working together as a team. For all you have done to contribute to the successes of 2017, I want to say, “Thank you!” Our Navy family and mission depend on each and every one of you.

As we bring this year to a close, take time to enjoy this holiday season with your family and friends while reflecting on the many achievements you worked so hard to accomplish. Our great nation is safe and free because of your efforts and millions of Americans are grateful for your service and sacrifice. Happy holidays!


INDIAN OCEAN (Nov. 24, 2017) An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the “Indians” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 6 prepares to land aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Spencer Roberts/Released)


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Wishing the Men and Women of Naval Aviation Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year

Judge Advocates, Then and Now

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By Rear Adm. John G. Hannink
Deputy Judge Advocate General of the Navy                                                                

Upon learning that the Navy’s Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps is only 50 years old, most people express surprise.

One could be forgiven for assuming the JAG Corps has been around for far longer. Since its inception Dec. 8, 1967, the JAG Corps has been essential to naval operations. Furthermore, the scope and breadth of advice has grown since our Corps’ foundation, to the point that we’re at today – where our personnel advise clients across the globe on matters that range from the most sensitive national security decisions, to individual legal services, to Sailors in need of our assistance.

Indeed, Navy judge advocates have long captured the public’s imagination. I am still asked regularly about the “JAG” television show and few have forgotten Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise sparring on the big screen in “A Few Good Men.” Their portrayals in popular culture have made judge advocates indelible symbols of naval service.

Some people also are surprised to learn that the first uniformed chief legal officer of the Navy was, in fact, a Marine. Col. William Butler Remey was assigned to the post in 1878 after convincing Congress that, like other branches of the military, the Navy needed a permanent JAG (e.g., the Navy had a “JAG” long before the JAG Corps).


GREAT LAKES, Ill. (February 8, 2016) – Lt. Kimberly Rios works on legal briefs for Naval Station Great Lakes Command Feb. 8. (U. S. Navy photo by Scott A. Thornbloom)

Remey actually argued that naval law was so unique that a line officer must serve as JAG. It wasn’t until 1950, nearly 75 years later, that the law required the JAG to be an attorney. In 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed legislation that formalized the creation of the JAG Corps.

Today, a half-century later, the JAG Corps is a very different organization. It has evolved in countless ways to meet the demands of a growing military and a more interconnected and complex world.

Judge advocates are now ever-present fixtures at most naval commands. And yet, I wonder how many Sailors have a comprehensive understanding of the myriad ways judge advocates support them and the Navy mission.

It’s impossible to capture everything the JAG Corps does in a single blog post. It is perhaps best to highlight our three core practice areas – the three ways in which we touch Sailors and their families every day.


PORT LOUIS, Mauritius (Feb. 3, 2017) Cmdr. Andrew Wilkes, a legal advisor assigned to U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, discusses the implementation of a United Nations security council resolution with Geeandeo Cheetamun, Mauritian chief inspector of police during Exercise Cutlass Express 2017. The exercise is sponsored by U.S. Africa Command and conducted by U.S. Naval Forces Africa to assess and improve combined maritime law enforcement capacity and promote national and regional security in East Africa. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Justin Stumberg/Released)

Our military justice team strives to help ensure good order and discipline, and protects the rights of all parties in judicial proceedings. Trial counsel, defense counsel, judges and victims legal counsel work tirelessly on behalf of Sailors and their families, and to protect the integrity of the military justice system.

Our operational lawyers provide commanders with accurate and responsive legal advice to support military operations and sound naval administration. We have attorneys specializing in maritime law, international law, environmental law and many other disciplines. Our judge advocates are on the cutting edge of many emerging issues, such as cyber warfare and special operations.

Do you need a will, help with your taxes or perhaps home-buying advice? Our legal assistance team supports the fleet by helping Sailors and their families resolve personal legal matters and to remain mission-ready. A judge advocate or civilian subject matter expert is standing by at any time to help Sailors with all their concerns and more.

Today, as it turns 50 years old, our JAG Corps is more versatile and more ingrained in naval operations than Remey, Johnson or any of the JAG Corps’ earliest members could have envisioned. Our judge advocates are making a meaningful impact on the Navy and on the lives of Sailors and their families. The future – the next 50 years – looks bright.


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Judge Advocates, Then and Now

Your Navy Operating Forward -Saipan, Ukraine, Japan

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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.


WATERS SOUTH OF JAPAN: An F/A-18E Super Hornet, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 115, launches from the flight deck aboard the Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during the Carrier Air Wing Five fly-off. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kenneth Abbate/Released)

HYUGA-NADA SEA: Mineman 1st Class Justin Crabtree, from Diamondhead, Mississippi, lowers a mine neutralization vehicle aboard the Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship USS Chief (MCM 14) into the water to track mines and simulate delivering an explosive package. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jordan Crouch/Released)

ARABIAN GULF: Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) 3rd Class Philip Powell readies an E-2C Hawkeye assigned to the Sunkings of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 116 for launch on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Rachael Treon/Released)

INDIAN OCEAN: Sailors work on the propeller of an AC-2A Greyhound, assigned to the Providers of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30, on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Michael Russell/Released)

ARABIAN GULF: The amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) steams in formation while participating in a photo exercise in the Arabian Gulf. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alexander Ventura II/Released)

SAIPAN: U.S. Navy Aviation Machinist Mate 2nd Class Andrew Nye, assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25, signals to the pilots of a MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter after their return to Guam from a training exercise in Saipan. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Benjamin A. Lewis/Released)

YOKOSUKA, Japan: The Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Key West (SSN 722) is moored at Fleet Activities Yokosuka. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian G. Reynolds/Released)

ODESSA, Ukraine: Sailors aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS James E. Williams (DDG 95) man the rails as the ship arrives in Odessa, Ukraine, for a scheduled port visit. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Colbey Livingston/Released)

COMODORO RIVADAVIA, Argentina: Undersea Rescue Command (URC) and Argentine construction workers prepare the motor vessel Sophie Siem for the installation of the Submarine Rescue Diving and Recompression System (SRDRS) which operates the deep diving rescue vehicle, the Pressurized Rescue Module (PRM). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Christopher Lange/Released)

ARABIAN GULF: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper (DDG 70) steams in formation while participating in a photo exercise in the Arabian Gulf. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alexander Ventura II/Released)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) transits the Strait of Messina. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Krystina Coffey/Released)

INDIAN OCEAN: An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the “Indians” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 6 prepares to land aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Spencer Roberts/Released)

SOUTH CHINA SEA: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG 100) conducts a replenishment-at-sea with the dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Carl Brashear (T-AKE 7). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jacob Milham/Released)

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Remembering to Look Forward: Rising to the challenge in Pearl Harbor

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By Rear Adm. Brian Fort
Commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific

Winston Churchill, who was a World War I warfighter and World War II Prime Minister of Britain, famously said, “The longer you can look back, the farther you can look forward.”

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day is an opportunity for the world’s citizens, especially those of us in the United States and Japan, to remember key lessons of the past and reflect on the meaning of the Second World War.

Photograph taken from a Japanese plane during the torpedo attack on ships moored on both sides of Ford Island, Dec. 7, 1941. (U.S. Navy video/Released)
Photograph taken from a Japanese plane during the torpedo attack on ships moored on both sides of Ford Island, Dec. 7, 1941. (U.S. Navy video/Released)

Seventy-six years ago, under Western sanctions for having invaded Manchuria and Southeast Asia, Imperial Japan miscalculated and attacked Oahu. Veterans who were around then said they knew war was inevitable. War was already underway in Europe, as Churchill tried to stave off Hitler and the Nazis. When Japanese planes destroyed our battleships in Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941, we rose to the challenge to fight fascism, both here in the Pacific and in Europe.

On the home-front, families also rose to challenges and confronted new realities. Women joined the workforce in nontraditional occupations. The armed forces became more diversified. Our nation came together in the name of freedom.

SOLOMON ISLANDS (Aug. 9, 2017) The guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52) transits to the site of the wreckage of the World War II Royal Australian Navy heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra (DD 33) near Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. Barry participated in a memorial ceremony held for Canberra, which was sunk on Aug. 9, 1942. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Wesley Timm/Released)
SOLOMON ISLANDS (Aug. 9, 2017) The guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52) transits to the site of the wreckage of the World War II Royal Australian Navy heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra (DD 33) near Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. Barry participated in a memorial ceremony held for Canberra, which was sunk on Aug. 9, 1942. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Wesley Timm/Released)

In the first year after the attack here in the Pacific, despite some initial setbacks, our aviators literally rose up in the Battle of Coral Sea and Battle of Midway. Submarines and surface forces took the fight to the enemy like never before. We continued to turn the tide in the Battle of Guadalcanal 75 years ago.

Just as our military would descend throughout Europe to fight fascism, our Marines, Soldiers, Sailors and Coast Guardsmen would rise from the South Pacific and move steadily up the island chain toward the Japanese archipelago. Even back then, we were “ready to fight tonight.”

Today, America’s relationship with the people of Japan is a model for good citizenry and good relationships everywhere. Britain, France and Germany, once mortal enemies, in some cases over centuries, are now strong democracies, friends and allies in Europe.

Our Navy trains and operates with the Japan Self-Defense Force and other navies throughout the world, including here in Hawaii during the Rim of the Pacific Exercise. The world, with just a few outliers, values security, prosperity and stability. History shows democracies, in general, work together to foster peace and cooperation.

Churchill encouraged us to look deep into the past to study history and understand how we can look forward. On this Dec. 7, we will once again remember and honor those who were killed 76 years ago and in the war that followed. At the same time, we will commemorate the reconciliation, security, stability and prosperity our veterans and their families achieved, beginning here at Pearl Harbor.

PEARL HARBOR (July 8, 2014) A Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldier, left, New Zealand army soldier and a U.S. Navy Sailor aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA5) render honors while passing the USS Arizona Memorial while departing Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to participate in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014. Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel participated in RIMPAC exercise from June 26 to Aug. 1, in and around the Hawaiian Islands. 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 was the 24th exercise in the series that began in 1971. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Amanda Chavez/Released)
PEARL HARBOR (July 8, 2014) A Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldier, left, New Zealand army soldier and a U.S. Navy Sailor aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA5) render honors while passing the USS Arizona Memorial while departing Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to participate in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014. Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel participated in RIMPAC exercise from June 26 to Aug. 1, in and around the Hawaiian Islands. 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 was the 24th exercise in the series that began in 1971. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Amanda Chavez/Released)


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Remembering to Look Forward: Rising to the challenge in Pearl Harbor

Your Navy Operating Forward – Souda Bay, Caribbean Sea, Philippine Sea

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PHILIPPINE SEA: Lt. Nicholas O’Neill, from Carson City, Nev., signals for the launch of an F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 27 from the flight deck of the Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier and flagship of Carrier Strike Group Five, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), during Annual Exercise 2017. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kenneth Abbate/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.


PHILIPPINE SEA: Lt. Nicholas O’Neill, from Carson City, Nev., signals for the launch of an F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 27 from the flight deck of the Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier and flagship of Carrier Strike Group Five, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), during Annual Exercise 2017. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kenneth Abbate/Released)

CARIBBEAN SEA: The dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Robert E. Peary (T-AKE 5) approaches the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) during a replenishment-at-sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Danny Ray Nuñez Jr./Released)

SOUTH CHINA SEA: An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the Indians of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 6 transports cargo from the dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Amelia Earhart (T-AKE 6) during a replenishment-at-sea with the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Spencer Roberts/Released)

STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA: A CH-47 Chinook helicopter assigned to the Washington Air National Guard, 1st General Support Aviation Battalion, lands on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Joseph L. Miller/Released)

PHILIPPINE SEA: Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Vincent Tate signals an SA 330 Puma helicopter assigned to the dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Wally Schirra (T-AKE-8), during a vertical replenishment (VERTREP) with the forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) during Annual Exercise 2017 (AE17). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jeremy Graham/Released)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: A Sailor handles ammunition for a .50 caliber machine gun during a crew-served weapons shoot aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Theron J. Godbold/Released)

SOUDA BAY: Sailors board a rigid-hull inflatable boat for a passenger and mail transfer from the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) in Souda Bay. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Krystina Coffey/Released)

WESTERN PACIFIC: Sailors operate explosive ordnance disposal robots in the aft mess decks of the Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), during a career fair. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Janweb B. Lagazo/Released)

PHILIPPINE SEA: The Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier and flagship of Carrier Strike Group Five, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), steams the Philippine Sea during Annual Exercise 2017. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kenneth Abbate/Released)

SOUTH CHINA SEA: An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the Indians of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 6 transports cargo to the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Spencer Roberts/Released)

COMODORO RIVADAVIA, Argentina: The first set of equipment from Undersea Rescue Command (URC) arrives in Argentina to support search and rescue operations for the Argentine submarine ARA San Juan (S-42), Nov. 19, 2017. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

U.S.5TH FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS: Seaman Lea Sabino, assigned to the deck department aboard the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6), stands the forward look out watch as the ship prepares to enter Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates for a scheduled port visit. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Vance Hand/Released)

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Feeding the Fleet on Thanksgiving by the Numbers

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If you think it is stressful to prepare the perfect Thanksgiving meal for your family, try cooking for 324,000+ people – our Navy family of our Sailors who are protecting and defending America.

Since we’re a forward Navy, many of our shipmates are away from their families this Thanksgiving, but they’ll still get a taste of home.

“Every Thanksgiving our culinary specialists take on the huge task of feeding our Sailors, and every year they succeed.”
– Cmdr. Scott Wilson, NAVSUP director of Navy Food Service

This year, we’re serving approximately:

GULF OF OMAN (Nov. 24, 2016) Petty Officer 2nd Class Mitchell Reed, right, cuts slices of turkey for Petty Officer 3rd Class Kelby Maynor for a Thanksgiving dinner aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61). (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class William Jenkins/Released)
GULF OF OMAN (Nov. 24, 2016) Petty Officer 2nd Class Mitchell Reed, right, cuts slices of turkey for Petty Officer 3rd Class Kelby Maynor for a Thanksgiving dinner aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61). (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class William Jenkins/Released)

“Being away from family and friends during this time of year isn’t easy, but that motivates our culinary specialists to provide a quality meal to our Sailors. The joy we see on Sailors’ faces makes all of the effort worth it.”
– Cmdr. Scott Wilson, NAVSUP director of Navy Food Service

Let our Sailors know you’re thinking about them.

Leave a message of thanks in the comments below.


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By Rear Adm. Brian Fort Commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific …

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Feeding the Fleet on Thanksgiving by the Numbers