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)

Taken from:  

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.

Visit site: 

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)

View the original here: 

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.

Visit site:

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.”

Read the article: 

U.S. 6th Fleet’s 70th Anniversary

Department of the Navy FY 2021 President’s Budget

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The Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) President’s Budget submission (PB21) of $207.1B is an increase of $1.9B (0.9%) from the FY20 enacted budget (base+OCO), less $4.8B added by Congress in Natural Disaster funding we received in FY20. This budget supports irreversible implementation of the National Defense Strategy (NDS) and balances priorities in order to maximize naval power now and in the future.

This budget achieves several major goals. First, PB21 recapitalizes the COLUMBIA strategic ballistic missile submarine, our nation’s ultimate insurance policy and the Navy’s highest priority.  Next, this budget sustains our readiness recovery to deliver credible forces to win today’s fight. Third, PB21 aggressively pursues increased lethality and targets those areas of modernization with the greatest potential to deliver non-linear warfighting advantages.

This budget also prioritizes the development and delivery of Naval Expeditionary forces capable of imposing cost with distributed, lethal power that is sustainable. Finally, this budget delivers capable capacity within the constraints of our budget topline.

These investments will maximize our Naval power and deliver a larger overall Navy as our battle force grows from 293 today to 306 by the end of FY21. PB21 delivers a better and more innovative force through investments that improve our legacy platforms and provide for a more robust and lethal mix of next-generation opportunities while supporting dynamic force employment, keeping the Navy and Marine Corps more agile, lethal, and adaptable.

Military Construction funds 32 projects: 8 new platform/mission, 2 European Deterrence Initiative, 2 Reserve, 10 Guam, 1 Naval shipyard, and 9 replacement of aging infrastructure. Family Housing funds O&M, recapitalization, leasing, and privatization oversight.

Research & Development increases 5% over FY20, providing innovative capabilities in shipbuilding (Columbia class), aviation (F-35), weapons (Maritime Strike Tomahawk), hypersonics (Conventional Prompt Strike), unmanned, family of lasers, digital warfare, applied AI, and USMC expeditionary equipment. These technologies are crucial to maintaining DON’s competitive advantage.

The budget provides for a deployable battle force of 306 ships in FY21.  This supports 11 aircraft carriers and 33 amphibious ships that serve as the foundation for our carrier and amphibious ready groups. 

In FY21, 15 battle force ships will be delivered:  4 Destroyers, 3 Nuclear Attack Submarines (SSN), 5 Littoral Combat Ships, 1 Amphibious Transport Dock (LPD 17), 1 Fleet Replenishment Oiler (T-AO), and 1 Towing, Salvage, and Rescue Ship (T-ATS). Additionally, 6 battle force ships will be retired:  4 LCS, 1 LSD-41, and 1 T-ATF.    

Ship procurement funds 8 new-construction battle force ships in FY21 (1 SSBN, 1SSN, 2 DDG, 1 FFG(X), 1 LPD 17 Flight II, 2 T-ATS), as well as 2 Large Unmanned Surface Vessels (USVs); and funds 44 battle force ships/17 unmanned vessels across the Future Years Defense Plan (FYDP).

Aircraft procurement funds 121 airframes (fixed-wing, rotary-wing, unmanned) in FY21 (10 F-35B, 21 F-35C, 4 E-2D, 24 F/A-18E/F, 5 KC-130J, 7 CH-53K, 6 CMV-22, 3 MV-22B, 36 TH-73A, and 5 VH-92A; and funds 537 airframes across the FYDP.

Key readiness programs are funded: Ship Depot Maintenance (resourced to executable capacity); Ship Operations (58 days/quarter deployed & 24 days/quarter non-deployed); Air Depot Maintenance (funded to maximum throughput); Flying Hours (aligned with increasing mission capable rates); Marine Corps expeditionary equipment (80% serviceability); and facilities sustainment to 81% of the sustainment model (both Navy & USMC).

Overseas Contingency Operations funding increases by 13.8%.

Our integrated Business Operations Plan aligns to the NDS and allows us
to create departmental processes that directly support reform. Savings of -$1.4B
in FY21/-$12.3B FYDP have been reinvested due to divestments (less capable
platforms), business process improvements (e.g. execution reviews/SSC delays),
business systems improvements (e.g. aviation cross functional teams), weapons
systems acquisition (e.g. MYPs), and policy reforms (e.g. Performance-to-Plan/USMC
Military End Strength reductions).

Excerpt from – 

Department of the Navy FY 2021 President’s Budget

USS Doris Miller (CVN 81) Naming Ceremony

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On Jan. 20, 2020 —the holiday marking the birthday of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.— the U.S. Navy officially named its newest aircraft carrier, the future USS Doris Miller (CVN 81).

“Dorie Miller stood for everything that is good about our nation. His story deserves to be remembered and repeated wherever our people continue to stand the watch today.” — Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly, Jan. 20, 2020

Doris “Dorie” Miller saved the lives of his shipmates and then valiantly fought attacking Japanese forces during the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor, bravery for which he was awarded the Navy Cross—the first African American to receive this honor. Almost two years after his valor at Pearl Harbor, Miller gave his life for his country when his ship was sunk during battle.

USS Doris Miller (CVN 81) will be the first aircraft carrier named for an enlisted Sailor and the first named for an African American.

Join the Navy in celebrating the future USS Doris Miller and the life of this Navy hero. Below you will find:

“Naming CVN 81 for Dorie Miller casts long overdue recognition to a true American hero and icon. It also honors the contributions of African Americans and enlisted Sailors for the first time in the history of American aircraft carriers. The Sailors who will put the USS Doris Miller to sea will be the fortunate ones, as heirs to the mightiest of Navy legends who epitomized the kind of fighting Sailor we need today.” — Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith

The Life of Doris “Dorie” Miller

Doris Miller, known as “Dorie” to shipmates and friends, was a U.S. Navy Sailor recognized for his bravery during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He was the first African American recipient of the Navy Cross.

Miller grew up on his family’s farm in Waco, Texas, and played football in high school before enlisting as a ship’s mess attendant in the U.S. Navy in 1939. In 1940, Miller was transferred to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and reported for duty onboard USS West Virginia (BB 48), where he became the ship’s heavyweight boxing champion.

Miller was below decks December 7, 1941, when the first Japanese torpedo struck USS West Virginia (BB 48). His battle station in the magazine damaged, Miller was ordered to the bridge, where he helped carry the ship’s mortally wounded captain to safety. Miller then loaded and fired an anti-aircraft machine gun—a weapon that, as an African American in a segregated military, he had not been trained to operate. Miller stayed behind once the order to abandon ship was passed to help evacuate shipmates and save the lives of Sailors in the burning water.

his extraordinary courage, Miller was the first African American to be awarded
the Navy Cross. Newspapers around the country cited his example as an argument
for civil rights and equality.

“This marks the first time in this conflict that such high tribute has been made in the Pacific Fleet to a member of his race, and I’m sure that the future will see others similarly honored for brave acts.” — Admiral Chester Nimitz

Miller died in 1943 when a torpedo sank USS Liscome Bay (CVE 56) off Butaritari Atoll in the Gilbert Islands. On June 30, 1973, the U.S. Navy commissioned USS Miller (FF 1091) in his honor.

Today, we are proud to continue honoring Miller’s heroic legacy by naming the U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft carrier Doris Miller (CVN 81). Read more about the life of Doris Miller here.

Photo Gallery

An infographic of Miller’s life and CNV 81

Historical Perspective

Learn more about Doris Miller from historian Dr. Virginia Akers of Naval History and Heritage Command, in the following interviews.

Actions During Attack of Dec. 7, 1941:

Social Context, Award of Navy Cross:

Initial Reception by African American Community:

Symbol of Hope, Legacy for All:

News Articles

Navy Names Future Aircraft Carrier Doris Miller During MLK, Jr. Day Ceremony (Jan. 20, 2020)

WASHINGTON (NNS) — Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly named a future aircraft carrier USS Doris Miller (CVN 81) during a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day ceremony honoring African Americans of the Greatest Generation in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Jan. 20. Read More  

Navy Will Name Future Ford Class Aircraft Carrier After WWII Hero Doris Miller (Jan. 19, 2020)

WASHINGTON (NNS) — Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly will name a future Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier in honor of World War II hero Ship’s Cook Third Class Doris Miller during a ceremony in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Jan. 20.  Read More

See original article here: 

USS Doris Miller (CVN 81) Naming Ceremony