Marking the 109th Anniversary of Naval Aviation Excellence

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By Rear Adm. John Meier, Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic

U.S. Naval Aviation marks its early beginnings on May 8, 1911, with a purchase request made by Capt. Washington Irving Chambers for the Navy’s first aircraft. In the years leading up to World War I, pioneer aviators pushed the development of hydroaeroplanes and flying boats, turning them into effective tools for warfare and working to integrate Naval Aviation into the Navy’s mission to protect and control the seas.

The colorful history of Naval Aviation is filled with hundreds of unlikely milestones, linked through the years by imagination, innovation, and good fortune—all building on the hard-fought lessons and determination of daring pioneers.

Catapult launch of a C-2 flying boat from the USS North Carolina in Pensacola Bay. Courtesy of Naval History and Heritage Command.

These lessons have
sharpened for me in the last week amid a whirlwind of change, as I find myself stepping
into the shoes of leaders who many of us have studied and tried to emulate
through the years.

Just one week ago
today, I assumed command of AIRLANT, when I relieved Rear Adm. Roy “Trigger”
Kelley as Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic in a small, but memorable ceremony
at AIRLANT headquarters on May 1. Talk about big shoes to fill: Trigger
superbly commanded AIRLANT for more than two years and is retiring after 36
years of Naval service.

So today, it’s most
fitting to step back and to commemorate a truly great day in our Naval Aviation
history: Our 109th birthday!

For starters, everyone
who knows Naval Aviation knows of the courage and exploits of Eugene Burton Ely,
who performed the first aircraft takeoff from the cruiser USS Birmingham anchored in the Chesapeake Bay
on November 14, 1910. The story goes he flew about three miles in less than
five minutes and set his plane down on a nearby beach. That pivotal takeoff
would lead to accomplishing the first carrier arrested landing on the cruiser
USS Pennsylvania (ACR-4) in San Francisco Bay just two months later on January 18, 1911.

But few may know the name of the officer who proved to be the driving force in formally establishing Naval Aviation: Capt. Washington Irving Chambers—the first to have oversight of the Navy’s Aviation program. In fact, it was Chambers who arranged for that first takeoff and arrested landing by aviation pioneer Ely! Talk about aviation innovation at its best!

At the time, Secretary of the Navy George von Lengerke Meyer selected Chambers to determine the feasibility of Naval Aviation for military uses by the U.S. Navy bestowed upon him the responsibility for developing aviation in the Bureau of Navigation. Chambers prepared and submitted the first requisition for a Triad A-1 aircraft, and that airplane was purchased on May 8, 1911, thus officially marking the birth of Naval Aviation.

A hand-picked group of
aviators assisted Chambers in creating this defining program and came to be known
as the Navy’s first designated aviators, a cadre from which all Naval aviators
have followed in their stead.

Some of these follow-on pioneers included the likes of Cmdr. Theodore Ellyson, who was the first of these Navy-designated aviators. Initially serving as a submariner, Ellyson was ordered to North Island, Calif., for instruction in aviation under Glenn Curtiss, the founder of the U.S. aircraft industry. While stationed in North Island, Ellyson earned his wings and served as an experimental test pilot for the budding Naval Aviation program.

Lieutenants T. Ellyson (left) and J.H. Towers (right) in the A-2, Navy Triad. Photo courtesy of Naval History and Heritage Command.

Other pioneers who paved the way included Adm. John Towers, who fostered many organizational elements of Naval Aviation. Tower trained under the tutelage of Curtiss and Ellyson, and ultimately became the first aviator to reach the rank of admiral. During his distinguished career, Towers created the first official Naval Air Station and flying aviation unit at Greenbury Point, Maryland.

Still others, such as Lt.
Cmdr. Henry Mustin, distinguished themselves as pioneers. Mustin completed the
first catapult launch from the stern of the armored cruiser USS North Carolina (ACR-12) off the
coast of Pensacola, Florida. He was an outspoken proponent on the potential of
Naval Aviation and assisted in the design of seaplanes with his fellow naval
aviator, Kenneth Whiting. Every aviator who launches from a carrier today
follows in their hallowed footsteps and all of us recognize these pioneers
through the Air Stations that bear their names.

These aviators are just a handful of many who would define a century of innovation and triumph. The U.S. Navy has led a wild ride through the years, transitioning from sea planes launched from the back of warships to Super Hornets, propelled by twin turbofan engines, and finally to the cutting-edge stealth technology of our F-35. From the successes of our early aviators, we have defined an organization of Naval Aviation that has evolved as the Navy has matured in its mission of forward power projection.

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Dec. 10, 2017) An F-35C Lightning II assigned to the “Rough Raiders” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125 approaches the flight deck for landing during flight operations aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Juan Cubano)

As Naval Aviation expanded, so did the role of the squadron. That expansion paved the way for squadron designations that identify the functions of aviation within the fleet. On July 17, 1920, the Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels prescribed a standard nomenclature for the types and classes of naval vessels and aircraft. It is from this that the letter “V” was first used to designate heavier-than-air aircraft. It is a designation still used in assigning carrier hull numbers.

On July 1, 1938, the term Air Group became official with the creation of Air Group Commander billets. Numerical designations of these Air Groups followed in 1942, with the first being Carrier Air Group Nine (CVG-9). These Carrier Air Groups became Carrier Air Wings in 1963. The unique culture of Naval Aviation has also matured alongside technology and organization. Our aviators continue to ride on that cutting edge of innovation and our nation continues to depend upon and to benefit from that evolution. 

PHILIPPINE SEA (May 4, 2020) Sailors brace, as an MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the Wolf Pack of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 75 lands on the flight deck of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Russell (DDG 59). Russell is deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sean Lynch)

Also, this month – on May 24 – the aviation industry will mark Aviation Maintenance Day. In the U.S. Navy, there is a long and proud history between aircraft air crew and ground crew. For instance, on Nov. 16, 1923, the Bureau of Aeronautics directed that all planes attached to vessels of the fleet were to be overhauled once every six months. The long linage of air crew and their ground crew were forever linked.

Navy Seaman Wolfgang Calero, left, and Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Amber Ballantine perform maintenance on the wing of an EA-18G Growler in the hangar bay on the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in the Pacific Ocean, July 11, 2016. Calero, an airman, and Ballantine, an aviation structural mechanic, are assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron 136. Navy photo by Seaman Daniel P. Jackson Norgart

As the first CO of the Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), I am watching with great pride the tremendous progress the ship has made in the last several months. She’s now more than six months into her 18-month Post Delivery Test and Trials (PDT&T) phase of operations, and the ship has attained flight deck certification and conducted more than 2,300 catapult launches and arrested landings using state-of-the-art flight deck technology.

NORFOLK (Feb. 3, 2020) Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Alexis Lanier, from Batesburg-Leesville, South Carolina, assigned to the air department aboard the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), folds the American flag as the ship gets underway. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Zack Guth/Released)

Beyond earth’s orbit,
one of the aviators who embraced innovation and powered aviation to new heights
in the 1960s was Neil Armstrong. Before he walked on the moon as an astronaut,
Armstrong was a Naval Aviator. He is only one of more than a hundred Naval
aviators who have become astronauts—one in a line of great pilots, who continue
to proudly represent the nation as a U.S. Naval aviator.

As our U.S. Navy propelled further, we saw other pioneers advance in Naval Aviation, such as Naval Reservist Lt. Cmdr. Kathryn P. Hire, who was selected for assignment to Patrol Squadron (VP) 62 on May 6, 1983 and became the Navy’s first woman to be eligible to compete for assignments in aircraft engaged in combat missions. Seven years later, on July 12, 1990, Cmdr. Rosemary B. Mariner relieved Cmdr. Charles H. Smith as commanding officer of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ-34), becoming the first woman to command an operational aviation squadron.

Such are the individual triumphs and collective successes that have defined Naval Aviation through the years. These are triumphs we celebrate not only on May 8th, but every day of the year.

ATLANTIC OCEAN (April 22, 2020) An EA-18G Growler assigned to the Rooks of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 137, left, and an F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to the Fighting Checkmates of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 211 launch from the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) in the Atlantic Ocean, April 22, 2020. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Samuel Gruss/Released)

Finally, on this very day we mark the anniversary of Naval Aviation, is understanding the vital importance of our aircraft carriers. Our CVNs represent the most survivable air bases in the world. I expect that we work every opportunity to demonstrate the readiness, the lethality and the primary point that maneuver warfare is inherently naval. I believe that we are close to a point where CVNs will not be able to respond to our nation’s crises if force structure is further reduced or if we cannot increase the operational availability of these national assets. Operating these national assets are our people. For the people who have paved the way of Naval Aviation for the past 109 years, to those who stand the watch today, our people are in fact our greatest resource.  Our collective actions and deeds should reinforce that sentiment each and every day. 

Watch the video above to see how an F/A-18E Super Hornet, attached to “Blacklions” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 213 launches from the flight deck of USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) during flight operations March 24, 2020. (U.S. Navy video by Chief Mass Communication Specialist RJ Stratchko)

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Marking the 109th Anniversary of Naval Aviation Excellence

“SAIL” More Important than Ever

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By Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

Last month, there was a significant decrease in the SAIL referral rate and there is concern that commands are not submitting referrals due to the COVID-19 crisis. Now more than ever, the Navy Suicide Prevention Program is encouraging commands and Suicide Prevention Coordinators (SPCs) to continue submitting SAIL referrals following instances of suicide-related behaviors (SRBs). SAIL services are critical during this crisis and commands must continue to submit referrals. Due to COVID-19 operations, caring contacts have transitioned from in-person contacts to telephonic contacts, but SAIL Case Managers are still standing by to assist Sailors.

Sailors sometimes do not speak up about their feelings of hopelessness or emotional distress prior to an SRB because they fear judgement and other negative perceptions. The Navy created the SAIL Program to provide a support network that assists Sailors in navigating resources. Participation in SAIL initiates a series of caring contacts during the first 90 days after an SRB to ensure the Sailor has ongoing resources and support. SAIL is not therapy and does not replace therapy or the care the Sailor may receive from medical and chaplains. It is risk assessment, safety planning and a link to all the additional resources that Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) offers to support our Sailors.

The SAIL Program
launches into action when a command notifies their SPC when an SRB occurs.
SPC then contacts the Navy Suicide Prevention Program, which forwards the
Sailor’s information to Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC). CNIC
contacts the appropriate FFSC Case Manager, who first reaches out to the
command, and then reaches out to the Sailor to offer SAIL. SAIL case managers
help Sailors understand, choose and engage with resources they need.  Sailors are empowered to strengthen their coping
skills throughout the process.

Although risk factors associated with SRBs do not cause or predict suicide, several relate to social connection:

– Lack of social support and sense of isolation

– Loss of relationship or significant personal loss

– Feeling like a burden to others, helplessness

– Feeling like a burden to others, helplessness

If you hold a leadership position, be sure to actively
listen to your Sailors with the intent to understand, not just respond. After
someone experiences an SRB, one of the most important things they need is
support. Support from leadership
is critical at this time. Remaining transparent with others in discussing
thoughts of suicide or other forms of self-harm openly promotes help-seeking
behavior. Facilitating positive
and ongoing dialogue around stress helps empower proactive self-care.

health is just as critical to readiness as physical health. Feeling
connected to others can help reduce the isolation of suicidal thoughts, which
often stem from a desire to stop intense pain rather than a desire to die. Leaders
at all levels of the Navy contribute to their shipmates’ understanding of resources
and command climate. Whether you’re a deckplate leader, front-line supervisor
or commander, investing
in relationships with your team through mentorship and other forms of
social connection helps create an environment where all Sailors feel heard and valued.
We all play a part in creating a supportive
environment where those who need help have the courage to seek help and
feel heard.  

To learn more about the SAIL Program and access additional
resources for leaders, visit this

If you or someone you know is in need of immediate
assistance, the Military Crisis Line is available 24/7.  Call 1-800-273-8255 (Option 1), text 838255 or
visit for free and confidential support.


“SAIL” More Important than Ever

USNS Mercy, USNS Comfort: 2020 COVID-19 Deployment

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This is the U.S. Navy blog site for the 2020 deployment of Navy hospital ships USNS Mercy (T-AH-19) and USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) to provide medical support to Americans in regions significantly affected by the COVID-19 virus pandemic. Navy medical professionals on both ships will assist local health care providers by offering care to persons who do not have the virus, freeing local hospitals and clinics to treat COVID-19 patients.

Visit here frequently to see the latest video content, imagery, news articles and other information about these ships and their Navy crew members as they serve Americans during this deployment.


The operation is led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, in coordination with U.S. Northern Command, Military Sealift Command and the U.S. Navy. The Navy is committed to providing Defense Support of Civil Authorities by increasing medical capacity and collaboration for medical assistance in two areas of the country that have seen tremendous impact from the coronavirus pandemic.


Webcast/Press Conference:

March 28, 2020: President, Defense Secretary Brief Reporters at USNS Comfort Departure

Supporting Content

Ship Leadership Biographies (PDF)

Video Playlist: U.S. Navy Hospital Ships Mercy and Comfort

DVIDS Resources (Video, Imagery, Additional Reporting)

USNS Mercy Photo Gallery

USNS Comfort Photo Gallery

USNS Comfort Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)

News Releases

March 27, 2020: USNS Mercy Arrives in Los Angeles

March 27, 2020: St Louis Native Supports Nation’s COVID-19 Response Efforts Aboard USNS Mercy

March 26, 2020: Reserve Sailors Deploy Aboard USNS Comfort

March 24, 2020: Navy Reserve Arrives to Support USNS Mercy

March 18, 2020 – Hospital Ships, Other DOD Assets Prepare for Coronavirus Response

Historical Perspective

Answering the Call: Stateside Deployments of U.S. Navy Hospital Ships

More Resources

U.S. Navy COVID-19 Response

Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED)

U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM)

Military Sealift Command

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Health Information Privacy (Dept. of Health and Human Services)

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USNS Mercy, USNS Comfort: 2020 COVID-19 Deployment

Answering the Call: Stateside Deployments of U.S. Navy Hospital Ships

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By André B. Sobocinski, Historian, US Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery

On March 18, President Trump announced Navy
hospital ships USNS Mercy (T-AH-19) and Comfort (T-AH-20) were to be activated
and deployed stateside to serve as referral centers for non-COVID-19 patients. The
longest-serving hospital ships in continuous operation in our history, Mercy
and Comfort have long captured the public’s imagination due to their vast medical
capabilities as floating hospitals. But in the storied history of our hospital
ships, stateside deployments during global pandemics remain unchartered waters.

Hospital ships have played pivotal roles in naval
operations since the early days of our Republic. During the Barbary
Wars, Commodore Edward Preble ordered that USS
Intrepid be used as a hospital ship. The reconfiguration of this former bomb-ketch
in 1803 marks the standard for almost all hospital ships used thereafter. To
date, only USS Relief (AH-1) was built from the keel up to serve as a hospital
ship. All other ships—including USNS Mercy and USNS Comfort—were converted from
other uses whether as super tankers, troop transports or passenger liners.

Hospital ward aboard USS Relief (AH-1) in the 1920s. (BUMED Archives, 09-5066-183)

Floating Ambulance

Whether it is the USS Red Rover transporting patients
up the Mississippi to Mound Island in the Civil War or USS Solace (AH-5) taking
wounded Marines from Iwo Jima to Guam hospital, ships have long served in the
capacity of ambulance ships.

During the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918,
Comfort (AH-3) and Mercy (AH-4) were each briefly stationed in New York where
they took care of overflow patients from the Third Naval District before
returning to the fleet and sailing across the Atlantic. Along with USS Solace
(AH-2), these ships ferried thousands of wounded and sick (including virulent
cases of the flu) back to stateside facilities.

USS Comfort (AH-3) serving as ambulance ship, ca. 1918 (BUMED Archives, 14-0058-003)

Station Hospitals

Throughout 19th and early 20th centuries, a
host of Navy ships was sent around the country to serve as “station hospitals”
for burgeoning naval bases.

From the 1850s until the early 1860s, supply
ships USS Warren and later USS Independence operated in this capacity at Mare
Island, California, until shore facilities were constructed. Decades later, the
Navy employed the former gunboat USS Nipsic at the Puget Sound Navy Yard, where
it served as a predecessor to Naval Hospital Bremerton (Puget Sound). And from
1953 until 1957, the hospital ship USS Haven (AH-12) served as a station
hospital at Long Beach, California, supporting medical activities in the
Eleventh Naval District.

USS Nipsic at the Puget Sound Naval Station, Bremerton, Washington, while serving as a station hospital. (U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph, NH 44601)

Humanitarian Measures

Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) operations have long been the clarion call for hospital ships. In March 1933, following the devastating earthquake that hit Long Beach, USS Relief (AH-1) sent teams of physicians and Hospital Corpsmen ashore to assist in treatment of casualties. Some 66 years later, following the Loma Prieta Earthquake of October 1989, USNS Mercy—then moored in Oakland—provided food and shelter for hundreds of victims of the disaster.

Since 2001, USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy have
taken part in some 19 HADR missions, from Continuing Promise to Unified
Assistance, and treated over 550,000 patients. But of these missions, only two
were stateside deployments.

Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Comfort deployed
to the Gulf Coast where she treated 1,258 patients at Pascagoula, Mississippi,
and New Orleans. Years earlier, she was sent to New York City following the attacks
on Sept. 11.

Originally envisioned as a floating trauma
hospital for the victims of the Twin Towers’ collapse, the ship’s mission
changed when it became clear there were not the large numbers of injured
expected. Vice Adm. Michael Cowan, Navy surgeon general in 2001, recalled that
New York’s Emergency Management Office stated the city was being overwhelmed
with the requirements of humanity. “The island didn’t have facilities to support the firemen and
rescuers and police digging
through the rubble and
sleeping on the hood of their engines,” Cowan said. “They were becoming dirty, going without water as they worked in
harsh environments. NYC requested the Comfort to provide humanitarian services; as the
‘Comfort Inn,’ which could be docked close to the site.”

From Sept. 14
to Oct. 1, Comfort provided hot meals, showers, a berth, a change of clean
clothes to about a 1,000 relief workers a day from its temporary home at Pier
92 in Manhattan.


When commissioned on Dec. 28, 1920, Relief (AH-1)
could boast the same amenities as the most modern hospitals at the time—large
corridors and elevators for transporting patients, and fully equipped surgical
operating rooms, wards, galleys, pantries, wash rooms, laboratories,
dispensaries, as well as a sterilizing/disinfecting room—all with “sanitary”
tiled flooring.

USNS Mercy and USNS Comfort are no different
in this regard and are comparable to some of the largest trauma hospitals in
the United States. Each ship contains 12 fully equipped operating rooms, a bed
capacity of 1,000 and can boast of digital radiological services, medical
laboratories, full-serve pharmacies, blood banks, medical equipment repair
shops, prosthetics and physical therapy.

Emblazoned with nine red crosses and
stretching 894 feet in length (the size of three football fields) Mercy and
Comfort remain powerful symbols of medical care and hope during the
darkest times.  


Reports of the Surgeon General of the U.S. Navy for the Fiscal Year 1919. Washington,
DC: Government Printing Office, 1919.

Michael, Oral History conducted with (Session conducted by A.B. Sobocinski and
D.V. Ginn on September 12, 2013). BUMED Oral History Archives.

Ships Fact File. U.S. Navy. Retrieved from:

Lucius. “The Story of Our Hospital Ships.” The Red Cross Courier. July 1937.

Emory A. Hospital Ships of World War II. An Illustrated Reference. Jefferson,
NC: McFarland & CO., Inc, Publishers, 1999.

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Answering the Call: Stateside Deployments of U.S. Navy Hospital Ships

U.S. Navy COVID-19 Updates

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You are at the official site for Navy information and updates on Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19). Visit frequently to learn about the latest policies, leadership messages and guidance on how to protect yourself, your family and your Shipmates.

Below you’ll find video messages and statements from Navy leaders, Navy news articles, links to NAVADMINs and ALNAVs, and other resources.

White House Guidance

The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America (PDF)

The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America (Video)

Latest Release:

March 23, 2020: USNS Mercy Departs San Diego Infographic

March 23, 2020 – U.S. Navy Hospital Ships

Facebook Video:

March 23, 2020 – Press Availability on USNS Mercy Deployment


March 23, 2020: 29/20: State and Local Shelter-in-Place Orders’ Impact on Department of the Navy Operations

Supporting Imagery

USNS Mercy Photo Gallery

USNS Comfort Photo Gallery


March 21, 2020 – 80/20: Navy Mitigation Measures in Response to Coronavirus Outbreak: Update 3

March 19, 2020 – 75/20: Maintaining and Protecting the Navy Accessions Supply Chain

March 19, 2020 – 74/20: Mitigation Measures in Response to Coronvavirus Outbreak (Update 2)

March 18, 2020 – 73/20: Temporary Relaxation of Hair Grooming Standards in Response to Coronavirus Outbreak

March 18, 2020 – 72/20: Navywide Advancement Examinations

March 18, 2020 71/20: Physical Readiness Policy Update

March 17, 2020 69/20: Enlisted Advancement Exams Postponed

March 17, 2020 68/20: Effective use of Remote Work Options

March 14, 2020 – 65/20: Overseas Travel

March 12, 2020 – 64/20: Navy Mitigation Measures in Response to Coronavirus Outbreak


March 20, 2020 – ALNAV 28/20 (SECNAV Vectors Blog: Vector 16: Agility in Time of Crisis (As posted to ALNAV site)

March 14, 2020 – 26/20: Official and Personal Domestic Travel Force Health Protection Guidance for Department of the Navy (CONUS Travel Guidance)

March 13, 2020 – Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly’s Vector 15 message (Re. Force Protection Guidance)

March 12, 2020 – 25/20 Force Protection Guidance for the Department of the Navy


March 20, 2020 – ALNAVRESFOR 09: Navy Reserve Enhanced Telecommuting Procedures

March 17, 2020 – ALNAVRESFOR 08: Reserve Mitigation Measures in Response to Coronavirus

MyNavyHR Videos

March 20, 2020: MyNavy HR Video: Board Suspension

March 20, 2020: MyNavy HR Video: Relaxed Grooming Standards

March 19, 2020: MyNavy HR Video: Advancement Exams Postponement Clarification

March 19, 2020: MyNavy HR Video: Restriction of Movement Update

March 19, 2020: MyNavy HR Video: PFA Suspension Update

March 18, 2020 – MyNavyHR Update: Advancement Exams Postponed

March 18, 2020 – MyNavyHR Q&A (Update 7): Details on Upcoming Advancement Exams

March 18, 2020 – MyNavyHR Q&A (Update 6): Orders, Coronavirus Warning Signs

March 17, 2020 – MyNavyHR Q&A (Update 5): Coronavirus Testing

March 17, 2020 – MyNavyHR Q&A (Update 4): Leave and Liberty, Travel Reimbursements

March 16, 2020 – MyNavyHR Q&A (Update 3): Freeze on PCS Moves

March 16, 2020 – MyNavyHR Q&A (Update 2): HHG Reimbursements for Canceled Moves, PCS Orders to Alert-Level 2 Countries

March 16, 2020 MyNavyHR: Travel & PCS (Update 1): Nonessential OCONUS Travel Releases

March 23, 2020 – U.S. Naval War College Turns to Virtual Town Hall, All-Hands Call in Response to COVID-19

March 22, 2020: Navy Exchange Service Command Closes Barber and Beauty Shops in Response to COVID-19

March 22, 2020: Navy Preventive Medicine Teams Embark Ships in 7th Fleet

March 21, 2020: Naval War College Moves Lectures, Seminars Online, Postpones Events to Fight COVID-19

March 20, 2020: Navy Exchange Suspends All In-Store Vendor and Sales Events

March 20, 2020: Navy Increasing Health Protection Measures on Installations to Fight COVID-19

March 20, 2020: Telework Increased for Reserve Sailors; Some Admin Requirements Waived

March 19, 2020: Recruit, Officer Graduation Ceremonies Canceled Till Further Notice

March 19, 2020: Navy Postpones Selection Boards

March 18, 2020 – Navy Authorizes COs to Relax Some Grooming Standards if Necessary

March 18, 2020 – NCIS: Beware of Coronavirus-Themed Scams

March 18, 2020 – Chief of Chaplains Provides COVID19 Mitigation Guidance

March 18, 2020 – Navy Cancels Spring 2020 Fitness Cycle, Delays Advancement Exam

March 18, 2020 – Navy School Closed After Third COVID-19 Case

March 17, 2020 – Updated Training Track Guidance Issued

March 16, 2020 – Navy Museums Temporarily Close

March 15, 2020 – COVID-19: Important Information for U.S. Navy Reservists

March 15, 2020 – Navy Sets Coronavirus Transfer and Travel Rules: What You Need to Know (March 15, 2020)

Supporting Video

March 21, 2020 – Chief of Naval Personnel Virtual Town Hall

March 19, 2020 – CNO’s Message to the Fleet on Coronavirus

March 18, 2020 – Coronavirus Terms to Know

March, 14, 2020 – Message From Chief of Naval Operations ADM Mike Gilday and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith

March 14, 2020 – Stop the Spread of Germs Everyday

Feb. 26, 2020 – Navy Surgeon General’s Message

DoD Statements

March 18, 2020 – Hospital Ships, Other DOD Assets Prepare for Coronavirus Response

March 14, 2020 – Statement by the Department of Defense on COVID-19 Response Measures on the Pentagon Reservation

March 13, 2020 – Department of Defense Statement on Enhanced Protection Measures at Pentagon


March 17, 2020 – Most Defense Personal Property Pick-ups and Pack-outs Paused; Deliveries Continue

More Resources

Military Health System Nurse Advice Line

MyNavy Career Center

Navy Chaplain Care

Psychological Health Resource Center

Navy Marine Corps Public Health Center

Department of Defense Coronavirus Update Site

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 Website

Military OneSource: Coronavirus Information for Our Military Community

Coronavirus Guidance from TRICARE

Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society: Coronavirus Response (video)

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U.S. Navy COVID-19 Updates

A New Era of Enlisted Education

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Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith
Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Troy Black

One of the biggest challenges and
greatest responsibilities for the Department of the Navy today is getting you —
America’s Sailors and Marines — ready for the next fight. The war of the future
will likely happen in this generation and it’s not going to resemble what we’ve
fought in the last 18 years.

It’s imperative for all of you to
be experts in your skill sets and have the mental dexterity to operate in
combat environments, so that under high stress in the middle of the night when
chaos ensues, you’ll be more capable of taking decisive action to save each
other and prevail in combat.

For this reason the Department of the Navy’s 2018 Education for Seapower study could not have come along at a better time, recognizing that tough training combined with the broadened intellectual capability of our Navy and Marine Corps team imbued with a passion for continuous learning will be our foundation. This study fundamentally transformed how we think about and prioritize enlisted education in the naval services by allowing you to focus on your job, while capturing credit for skills learned and performed; confidently helping you achieve your education goals by quantifying the work you’re already doing to cultivate in an accredited associates degree.  

200304-N-PM193-1001 WASHINGTON (March 4, 2020) Graphic created using multiple image sources, photo editing software, and digital design tools to create an infographic highlighting the U.S. Naval Community College. Initial testing of operating capabilities and partnerships are to begin in early 2021. (U.S. Navy Graphic by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alexander C. Kubitza)

To that end, former Secretary
Richard Spencer and Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly’s top priority
was to create a United States Naval Community College for enlisted Sailors and
Marines — an exciting demonstration of our commitment to you. The USNCC
provides enlisted personnel from every background an unprecedented opportunity
to learn and professionally grow throughout the course of their career.

The USNCC will kick off a pilot program in January 2021 for approximately 500 Sailors, Marines and DON civilians in the information technology and engineering fields.

In partnership with public and
private colleges and universities, USNCC intends to offer a select number
associate of science and associate of art degrees in fields directly related to
the warfighting needs of the Navy and Marine Corps, all at no cost to you — the
service member. The opportunity to pursue and even complete an associate’s
degree at the beginning of your career will also be transferable to any of our
partnered education institutions to further degree programs or certifications.

The USNCC will kick off a pilot
program in January 2021 for approximately 500 Sailors, Marines and DON
civilians in the information technology and engineering fields. By the end of
2022, USNCC will have more than 5,000 students enrolled and by the end of 2025,
every newly accessed Sailor and Marine will automatically be enrolled, which
will guide you throughout your military career and beyond.

The tuition assistance program
will remain so you can continue your path of learning and pursuing personal

College and a lifelong dedication to learning is incredibly important. Continuous learning helps to develop critical thinking skills, which makes us better Sailors and Marines, better leaders, and ultimately better citizens. The path of military service is a difficult one, education should enhance your role in our national security as well as enable your future goals. The United States Naval Community College will no doubt advance our fleet performance, provide warfighting advantages and ensure that the development of enlisted Navy and Marine leaders remains a critical warfighting capability for our national defense.

191016-N-YG104-0004 WASHINGTON (Oct. 16, 2019) Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps (SMMC) Troy E. Black and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Russell Smith pose for a photo. SMMC and MCPON met to discuss naval integration and partnership across the Navy-Marine Corps team. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Sarah Villegas)

Continued here:  

A New Era of Enlisted Education

Election Season Do’s and Don’ts

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A guide for Sailors and Navy civil servants

With presidential and congressional elections approaching, the Navy encourages every one of us to exercise our right to vote.

Just as important is the right to free speech. But we also have the right to be free from political pressure while we’re at work. That means being mindful of laws that prevent us from using our position to advance a political view.

Boatswain’€™s Mate 3rd Class Jason Smith reviews the voting registration guidelines for North Carolina as he registers to vote while underway aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft Carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Torrey W. Lee/Released)

First, how much do you know about what you can and can’t do while on duty, in uniform or in the federal workplace?

Test your knowledge below–and then take a look at some great resources to help you stay on the right side of the law.

Quiz: True or False?

(Scroll down for the answers.)

1. I can wear my uniform at a political rally as long as it’s my Type IIs and my unit patch is removed.

2. It’s OK to volunteer for a campaign on your own time for things like phone banking, posting signs or asking for donations.

3. As long as I’m on my lunch break, I can “like” a political message on Facebook or retweet a candidate while I’m still on the installation.

4. It’s OK to have a poster of Presidents Teddy Roosevelt or John F. Kennedy on my wall since I served on both of the carriers named after them.

5. A campaign bumper sticker on your car or truck is permitted even while parked on a federal property.

6. I can bring to work a shirt with the logo #RESIST or Make America Great Again, as long as I don’t actually wear it.

7. A private conversation about a political issue is OK, even at work.

Who’s Included

Sailors, like other military service members, are bound by DoD Directive 1344.10, “Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces.” This document outlines the specific types of political participation that military service members may take part in.

All federal civilians are bound by the Hatch Act of 1939. The U.S. Office of Special Counsel, which enforces the Hatch Act, offers answers to frequently asked questions about what’s allowed and what’s prohibited.

Some federal employees at certain agencies are subject to additional restrictions. For more information, visit the OSC’s Hatch Act information page. A quick summary is below.

A graphic that explains the difference between restricted and less restricted employees.
U.S. Navy graphic by Austin Rooney/Released

Sharing on Social Media

Graphic of social media icons

Social media can be particularly tricky. The OSC offers this printable PDF chart for what you can and can’t do on social.

All federal employees may not:

– Use a social media account in your official capacity to engage in political activity at any time (but including your official title/position on a social media profile is allowed).

– Tweet, retweet, share, or like a post or content that solicits political contributions at any time

– Like or follow the social media page of a candidate for partisan office or partisan group while on duty or in the workplace

– Engage in political activity via social media while on duty or in the workplace, or using government-owned equipment

In addition, further restricted employees may not:

– Link to or post the material of a partisan group or candidate for partisan office at any time

– Share or retweet the social media pages or posts of a partisan group or candidate for partisan office at any time


1. False. You cannot wear any part of your uniform at a political function.

2. Mostly false. You can volunteer but can’t ask for donations.

3. False. Liking or retweeting while on federal property is not allowed, even from your personal phone while on your lunch break.

4. True. Since neither past president is a current candidate for office, you can display those items as allowed by your command or installation.

5. True. A normal-sized bumper sticker is permitted, even if you park your car on federal property.

6. False. The Office of Special Counsel has said that both slogans are political statements and so neither one is permitted in the federal workplace.

7. It depends. You still can’t advocate for or against a political candidate, but a friendly, private discussion of current events is allowed so long as the other person is a willing participant.

More Information

Read about real-world examples from the U.S. /Office of Special Counsel.
Read OSC advisory opinions on different aspects of the Hatch Act.

Taken from:

Election Season Do’s and Don’ts

Secretary of the Navy International Women’s Day Salute

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March 5, 2020

Welcome to the official blog of the International Women’s Day Forum, hosted by Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly at the Army-Navy Club in Washington, D.C. The event features a panel of women speakers moderated by Courtney Kube of NBC News, as well as a panel discussion from government and military officials, along with remarks from Sec. Modly.

Follow along via the livestream of the event below.

Watch below as Women’s History Month Honors The Sailor’s Creed .

History: Notable Navy Women

Read about women trailblazers in the Navy in these features from Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC):

First African American Female Officers

First Female Flag Officer: Rear Admiral Alene B. Duerk, NC, USN

Making Dreams Come True

Navy Women of Courage and Intelligence

Captain Rosemary Mariner, USN

These and other features on notable Navy women can be found on the NHHC homepage for Women’s History Month.

Event Background

The global observance of International Women’s Day
(March 8) provides an opportunity to reflect on progress made, to advocate for
continued change, and to celebrate acts of courage, determination and
achievement by women who contribute to their communities, countries and
international society.

Official observance of International Women’s Day by the Department of the Navy provides an opportunity during Women’s History Month to acknowledge, celebrate and promote the role of women in defense and national security (to include our Navy-Marine Corps-Civilian team), as well as the U.S. strategy to grow women’s participation in national security.

The Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017, signed into law by President Trump on October 6, 2017, recognizes the critical link between women’s participation and peace, and mandated the creation of a government-wide strategy to increase the participation of women in security processes. Reflecting a growing global movement to advance women’s inclusion in the security sector, observance of International Women’s Day provides an invaluable platform to demonstrate the achievements and importance of women’s contributions in this regard, and give voice and inspiration to generations of men and women on the value of inclusivity and diversity of thought and participation.

Women’s Contributions During World War II

Link to article: 

Secretary of the Navy International Women’s Day Salute

Chaplain Corps Provides Irreplaceable Services

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RADM Brent W. Scott Navy Chief of Chaplains

I recently read an opinion article that suggested it would
be reasonable to consider what amounts to reducing the religious liberty of
service members and their families. The author offered that diminishing the
Chaplain Corps would help the Navy meet its $40 billion requirement. The truth
is, however, that it would only provide less than one-half of one percent in
governmental saving and it would ultimately cost taxpayers more. Stated
differently, chaplains reduce the frequency and severity of a wide range of
costly destructive behaviors.

The Navy Chaplain Corps is an extremely efficient
organization. The Navy’s 840 chaplains care for more than 564,000 active
component service members in the Navy, the Coast Guard, and the Marine Corps.
On average, every chaplain cares for more than 670 service members, not
counting their family members and the civilians who are also authorized to use
their services. The idea that Professional Naval Chaplaincy is a fertile ground
for finding cost savings is completely spurious.

Some of the most valuable and far-reaching contributions of
the Chaplain Corps go largely unknown to the average citizen. Chaplains
contribute to the National Defense at the international level, the Service
level, and the personal level. The Navy Chaplain Corps, representing
fundamental national values, contributes directly to the National Defense and
America’s relationships with other countries. For instance, Navy chaplains
engage with foreign civil and religious leaders in partner nations to build friendship
and represent the power of free people through piety, devotion and practical
support without violence or prejudice.

U.S. Sailors salute a service member’s remains on the pier before bringing them aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) for a burial-at-sea Aug 10, 2019. The John C. Stennis is pierside in its new home port, Norfolk, after completing a seven-month deployment, and is preparing for refueling complex overhaul. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Mitchell Banks)

Chaplains provide value and irreplaceable service to the
Department of the Navy, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Homeland
Security, supporting our most fundamental form of diversity within the Navy,
diversity of thought and perspective. Without Navy chaplains at home and abroad
to facilitate the free exercise of their religion, many devout citizens from
every faith would take their virtues, strengths, knowledge, and abilities to
other services or simply refrain from military service altogether.

Without the confidential communication that Navy chaplains
offer the people they serve, fewer service members in distress would seek and
receive the medical, social, or mental health assistance they need to stay fit
to fight. Multiple studies, like the 2013 study done by the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, show that chaplains are the most trusted helping
professionals for Navy personnel seeking assistance. Chaplains help Marines,
Sailors and the Coast Guard to stay ready, lethal, and fit to fight by ensuring
that everyone at home or at sea gets the care they need from the right
professional at the right time.

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Chaplain Corps Provides Irreplaceable Services

U.S. 6th Fleet’s 70th Anniversary

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The U.S. Navy’s 6th Fleet reached its 70th anniversary Feb. 12, 2020. Its current commanding officer, Vice Adm. Lisa Franchetti, shares her reflections below, accompanied by a selection of images representing 6th Fleet’s ongoing missions in the Europe and Africa areas of operation.

U.S. 6th Fleet Turns 70

By Vice Adm. Lisa Franchetti
Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet
Commander, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO

Greetings from USS Mount Whitney, flagship of the U.S. 6th Fleet, underway in the Mediterranean Sea!

Today marks a great day in our Navy’s history.  Seventy years ago, on Feb. 12, 1950, the Navy formally established 6th Fleet, building on the storied legacy of U.S. Navy ships that have sailed on the Mediterranean Sea since the early 19th Century. From 1801, with the dispatch of USS Constitution and her sister ships to defeat the Barbary pirates, through today, American sea power has operated throughout this strategic region, which in ancient times was viewed as the center of the world. 

For the past 70 years, 6th Fleet has been a stabilizing force across the region through both our persistent presence and our ability to deliver effects across the full spectrum of maritime operations.

While standing on the bridge wing looking out at the busy waters of the Med, I took a moment to reflect on the strategic environment that led the Navy to establish 6th Fleet 70 years ago, especially in context of Great Power competition we see today.

MINDELO, Cabo Verde (Aug. 7, 2019) Musician 1st Class Joe Schoonmaker, a trombone player assigned to the U.S. Naval Forces Europe Band’s New Orleans brass band “Topside”, performs at the Novos Amigos school while the expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Carson City (T-EPF 7) is in Mindelo Cabo Verde, Aug. 7, 2019. Carson City is deployed to the Gulf of Guinea to demonstrate progress through partnerships and U.S. commitment to West African countries through small boat maintenance assistance, maritime law enforcement engagement, and medical and community relations outreach. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ford Williams/Released)

The 6th Fleet Command History report from 1950 to 1958 gives us a window into the thought process at the time: “As the war ended and the U.S. sought peace treaties and rapid disarmament, it became increasingly apparent in the Mediterranean, as elsewhere, that Russia, our wartime ally, was to become the main threat to our security and order in the world.”

Although the Navy had hoped to draw down its presence at the end of World War II, our leaders quickly saw the need to keep a maritime force in these waters to protect U.S. interests, support U.S. policies, and serve as a strong southern flank to NATO forces in in Western Europe. Naval Forces Mediterranean was created to deliver this forward operating presence. This new force became Commander 6th Task Fleet, and ultimately, Commander 6th Fleet, and in its NATO hat, Striking and Support Forces SOUTH.

PANTICOSA, Spain (Feb. 4, 2020) Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technicians, from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 8 (EODMU 8), assigned to Navy Expeditionary Combat Force Europe-Africa/Task Force (CTF) 68, conduct in-water safety checks as part of annual bi-lateral altitude and ice dive training in the Pyrenees Mountains with dives from the Spanish Navy Center for Diving (Centro de Buceo de la Armada, CBA) February 4. CTF 68 provides explosive ordnance operations, naval construction, expeditionary security, and theater security efforts in the 6th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Katie Cox/Released)

The stakes were
high. As Adm. Forrest Sherman, Chief of Naval Operations, said in
1950: “The survival of this country depends upon letting the world know we
have the power and the ability to use it if the occasion demands.” 

Given that context, it wasn’t surprising to learn that our mission
today is not all that different from the mission of the Fleet back then, which
was “a twofold mission for peace: first and foremost, to maintain at all times
a high degree of readiness and combat effectiveness; and secondly to spread and
foster good will between the Mediterranean nations and our own.”

The Command History notes that Time magazine referred to 6th Fleet as President Eisenhower’s “steel-grey stabilizer.” Sailors were commonly called “ambassadors in blue.” These descriptions remain accurate today.

Maritime threats know no boundaries, and 6th Fleet’s 360 degree view of the world enhances our ability to operate seamlessly across the maritime domain with our Allies and partners alike.

For the past 70 years, 6th Fleet has been a stabilizing force across the region through both our persistent presence and our ability to deliver effects across the full spectrum of maritime operations. On the short list, we’ve cleared mines from the Suez, conducted Non-combatant Evacuation Operations, supported earthquake and other disaster relief efforts, and worked with and as part of NATO to support the resolution of the crisis in Kosovo, as well as in operation Odyssey Dawn in Libya. More recently, we established Aegis Ashore Romania to contribute to the defense of Europe from Ballistic Missile threats from the south, conducted strikes into Syria in response to the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons on its own people, returned to the arctic with USS Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group operating in Norway’s Vestfjord, and worked with 5th Fleet to conduct a combined exercise in the waters off East Africa and the Indian Ocean. 

MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Aug. 27, 2019) The Ohio-class fleet guided-missile submarine USS Florida (SSGN 728) transits the Mediterranean Sea, Aug. 27, 2019. Florida, the third of four SSGN platforms, is capable of conducting clandestine strike operations, joint special operation forces operations, battle space preparation and information operations, SSGN/SSN consort operations, carrier and expeditionary strike group operations, battle management and experimentation of future submarine payloads. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan Nelson/Released)

Maritime threats know no boundaries, and 6th Fleet’s 360-degree view of the world enhances our ability to operate seamlessly across the maritime domain with our Allies and partners alike.

And although we’ve adapted
our operations and exercises to address the changing security environment of
the past 70 years, one thing has remained constant: the inherent flexibility of
the Navy-Marine Corps team to deliver combat ready forces, when needed and
where needed, providing credible deterrence and response options for our
national leaders.

Like those who came before us, 6th Fleet continues to serve as part of America’s Away Team, using the tools of naval power and presence across the region to deter, defend, and when required, fight and win far from America’s shores. 

As Adm. Mike Gilday, Chief
of Naval Operations, recently said: “Mission one for every Sailor is a ready
Navy…a Navy ready to fight today. That readiness translates into deterrence,
into economic security, and preserves our defensive margin.”

MEDITERRANEAN SEA (May 9, 2018) Algerian National Navy sailors prepare to board the Tunisian navy MNT Khaireddine A700 while participating in visit, board, search and seizure training during exercise Phoenix Express 2018, May 9. Phoenix Express is sponsored by U.S. Africa Command and facilitated by U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, and is designed to improve regional cooperation, increase maritime domain awareness information sharing practices, and operational capabilities to enhance efforts to achieve safety and security in the Mediterranean sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ryan U. Kledzik/Released)

For the past 70 years, 6th Fleet has made readiness our mission.  We’ve translated that readiness and delivered on our motto: “Power for Peace.” Working alongside our capable Joint Force and our Allies and partners, we are ready today, and will be for the next 70 years–and beyond.

To all who have served in 6th Fleet in the past, to all who are serving today, and to our families and friends that make it all possible…from Mount Whitney, Happy Birthday!  I am confident that those standing in our shoes in 2070 will look back with pride on all we have accomplished together. “Power for Peace.”

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U.S. 6th Fleet’s 70th Anniversary