Judge Advocates, Then and Now

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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Judge Advocates, Then and Now

Your Navy Operating Forward -Saipan, Ukraine, Japan

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tell us which photo best shows YOUR Navy Operating Forward !


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Your Navy Operating Forward -Saipan, Ukraine, Japan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PEARL HARBOR (July 8, 2014) A Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldier, left, New Zealand army soldier and a U.S. Navy Sailor aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA5) render honors while passing the USS Arizona Memorial while departing Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to participate in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014. Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel participated in RIMPAC exercise from June 26 to Aug. 1, in and around the Hawaiian Islands. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2014 was the 24th exercise in the series that began in 1971. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Amanda Chavez/Released)
PEARL HARBOR (July 8, 2014) A Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldier, left, New Zealand army soldier and a U.S. Navy Sailor aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA5) render honors while passing the USS Arizona Memorial while departing Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to participate in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014. Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel participated in RIMPAC exercise from June 26 to Aug. 1, in and around the Hawaiian Islands. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2014 was the 24th exercise in the series that began in 1971. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Amanda Chavez/Released)


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

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

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



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tell us which photo best shows YOUR Navy Operating Forward !


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

Feeding the Fleet on Thanksgiving by the Numbers

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

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

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

This year, we’re serving approximately:

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

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

Let our Sailors know you’re thinking about them.

Leave a message of thanks in the comments below.


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

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Feeding the Fleet on Thanksgiving by the Numbers

All Hands Need to Practice Cyber Safety

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By George D. Bieber
Naval Information Forces Public Affairs

Cyberthreats come from a variety of sources including nation states, profit-motivated criminals, ideologically motivated hackers, extremists and terrorists. When you log on to a Navy network or system, you’re in the cyber battlespace.

If there are weaknesses in the Navy’s defenses, its networks and computers can be compromised by attackers with relatively limited resources. Cyber attackers only have to be successful once to do significant damage; we cannot afford to make any mistakes.

Follow the below best practices to keep Navy networks and systems secure:

Don’t Take the Bait
Always verify source of emails and the links in emails. If you’re directed to a site for an online deal that looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Phishing (“fishing”) is a form of email spoofing. By clicking on a link in what appears to be a legitimate email (“taking the bait”), you may be directed to a fraudulent website that installs bad software on your computer or captures data you enter on the website. Opening an infected email attachment can also install bad software on your computer.

Spear-phishing is a form of phishing that targets a specific organization. Spear-phishing emails appear to be from an individual or business you know. Spear-phishing attempts are not typically initiated by “random hackers,” but are more likely to be conducted by those seeking financial gain, trade secrets or military information. Signs that an email may be a spear-phishing attempt include:

  • Sender’s name, organization and/or company do not match the email address or digital signature
  • The use of words such as official, mandatory, urgent, etc.
  • The link text may not match associated URL
  • Contains unsolicited requests for personal information
  • The use of overly poor grammar and contains multiple misspellings.

When in Doubt, Throw it Out
Don’t open suspicious links in emails, tweets, posts, messages or attachments, even if you know the source.

Don’t Connect Unauthorized Devices to Navy Networks
Don’t connect unauthorized devices, such as thumb drives and cell phones, to your computer. Unauthorized devices may contain software that can allow an attacker inside the Navy’s network.

Remove Your CAC
Remove your CAC or lock your computer when you’re not using it. Don’t make it easy for an inside attacker to access data on your computer by leaving it unlocked when you’re away.

Use a Better Password
Don’t use easily guessed or weak passwords, and safeguard them so they can’t be stolen. Password best practices include:

  • Use different passwords for every account
  • Make passwords a minimum of eight characters long and include at least one number, one capital letter, one lower case letter and one special character
  • Select the first letter of each word in an easily remembered phrase for the letters in your password. For example, “stand Navy down the field, sails set to the sky” becomes “sNdtfsstts”
  • Don’t use names or words that can be found in any dictionary (including foreign languages).
  • Don’t use keyboard patterns
  • Routinely change passwords on all accounts
  • Do not change passwords in a serial fashion (e. g., password2015 replaced with password2016)
  • If you save your passwords to a file, password protect and/or encrypt the file
  • Don’t write down your passwords or keep them in your wallet/purse
  • Don’t allow your browser to store your passwords.

Safeguard Your Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
Attackers can use information they’ve obtained about you to appear legitimate so they can trick you into surrendering data they need to breach our networks and systems.

To protect your PII, be savvy about providing information online and use good security practices when using social media sites. Choose security questions that have answers not discoverable on the internet (e.g., do not choose the street you grew up on, your mother’s maiden name, etc.) and don’t conduct work-related business on your personal account. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media platforms can introduce security hazards. Personal profile information on these sites may be used by hackers for social engineering or phishing purposes. Also, be extra vigilant about friending bogus social media accounts, which can allow hackers to harvest sensitive user photos, phones numbers and email addresses for social engineering attacks.

Don’t Use P2P Programs
Don’t use peer-to-peer file sharing programs. These programs can spread bad software inside the Navy’s network defenses.

Stay on Known Good Websites
Use websites that are business related or known good websites.

Don’t Use Systems in Unauthorized Ways
The Navy has established policies to protect itself from compromise. Don’t put others at risk by using systems in ways that aren’t authorized.

An information graphic depicting the dangers of cyber attacks. (U.S. Navy graphic/Released)
An information graphic depicting the dangers of cyber attacks. (U.S. Navy graphic/Released)


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All Hands Need to Practice Cyber Safety

Best Wishes from Optimistic Outgoing CNAL Commander

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By Rear Adm. Bruce Lindsey
Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic

NORFOLK, Va. (Oct. 19, 2017) Rear Adm. Bruce Lindsey gives remarks during a change of command ceremony for Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic in USS Gerald R. Ford's (CVN 78) hangar bay. Rear Adm. Roy Kelley relieved Lindsey of command. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Gitte Schirrmacher)
NORFOLK, Va. (Oct. 19, 2017) Rear Adm. Bruce Lindsey gives remarks during a change of command ceremony for Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic in USS Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN 78) hangar bay. Rear Adm. Roy Kelley relieved Lindsey of command. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Gitte Schirrmacher)

It is with a tremendous sense of pride that I bid the hard working, professional women and men leading Naval Aviation on the East Coast, farewell. My time serving as commander of Naval Air Force Atlantic is now over. This position has been one of the most rewarding of my career because of the people I have had the honor to serve with – bright, dedicated, patriotic Americans who are proudly serving our Navy and our nation. Throughout my time in this position, your willingness and ability to get the job correctly done never ceased to amaze me.

Seeing everything this team has accomplished during my tenure has me convinced that Naval Aviation is better and stronger than ever. The highlights below are just that, highlights pulled from a long and extensive list of the achievements and accomplishments of our Sailors.

  • December 2016, we celebrated the homecoming of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (CSG) from a seven-month deployment. This was the first successful deployment of a CSG under the Optimized Fleet Response Plan (OFRP) and the lessons learned from this deployment strengthened our confidence in the new standard throughout the entire Navy.
  • The George H. W. Bush CSG returned from their seven-month deployment in August 2017. Conducting “prompt and sustained combat power from and at sea,” the strike group delivered a devastating blow to the capabilities of ISIS, allowing our partners on the battlefield to retake large swaths of land in northern Iraq and Syria and regain the strategic initiative.
  • In July 2017, we commissioned the newest addition to the Navy’s carrier fleet, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). Within days of the ship’s commissioning, Ford was at sea proving her advanced technology worked, launching and recovering F/A-18 Super Hornets.
  • We also welcome back USS Abraham Lincoln from a four year midlife refueling and USS Harry S. Truman, which wrapped up its planned incremental availability from Norfolk Naval Shipyard two days ahead of schedule.
ATLANTIC OCEAN (July 28, 2017) An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 flies over the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). The aircraft carrier was underway conducting test and evaluation operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Erik Hildebrandt/Released)
ATLANTIC OCEAN (July 28, 2017) An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 flies over the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). The aircraft carrier was underway conducting test and evaluation operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Erik Hildebrandt/Released)

The accomplishments of our aviators, air crews and maintainers are also too many to list in their entirety, but impressive nonetheless.

  • The squadrons of Carrier Air Wings (CVW) Three and Eight, while deployed with Eisenhower and Bush CSGs returned home with record breaking numbers. Combined, these two carriers flew 13,247 sorties, delivered 3,110,000 pounds (1,555 tons) of ordnance and logged a total of 64,268 flight hours and 20,868 successful traps.
  • In the wake of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, numerous helicopter squadrons from the East and West Coasts were manned and ready, providing lifesaving relief efforts and aid. These squadrons are shining examples of the Navy’s capability and readiness to help our fellow Americans in a time of crisis.
DOMINICA (Sept. 24, 2017) Naval Aircrewman (Helicopter) 2nd Class Logan Parkinson prepares victims inside an MH-60S Sea Hawk from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 22 (HSC-22) attached to the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) for evacuation from the island of Dominica following the landfall of Hurricane Maria. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Taylor King/Released)
DOMINICA (Sept. 24, 2017) Naval Aircrewman (Helicopter) 2nd Class Logan Parkinson prepares victims inside an MH-60S Sea Hawk from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 22 (HSC-22) attached to the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) for evacuation from the island of Dominica following the landfall of Hurricane Maria.
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Taylor King/Released)

While I congratulate our Sailors for their many milestones during my tenure, I must also thank the hundreds of civilians and contractors who serve by their side doing their part to ensure the force stays mission ready. I have every confidence in the people across Naval Aviation’s many commands and believe without reservation that your successes will continue and you will continue to meet every new challenge head on and succeed.

So it is with a great sense of pride and accomplishment that I leave you all. Thank you and good luck to each and every one of you. The honor and privilege has been all mine.

With warm regards and sincere appreciation,
“Birdie”

ARABIAN GULF (May 21, 2017) Rear Adm. Bruce Lindsey, commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic (CNAL), speaks to Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 2nd Class Daniel Logan aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) (GHWB). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher Gaines/Released)
ARABIAN GULF (May 21, 2017) Rear Adm. Bruce Lindsey, commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic (CNAL), speaks to Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 2nd Class Daniel Logan aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) (GHWB). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher Gaines/Released)


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Best Wishes from Optimistic Outgoing CNAL Commander

Special Report: Hurricane Maria

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Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, Sept. 20, as a Category 4 storm with deadly flooding expected. The Defense Department had personnel and equipment already assisting authorities in the region that has seen two other powerful hurricanes, Irma and Jose, in recent weeks.

Coverage

Sept. 17

Sept. 19

Sept. 21

Northcom Providing Disaster Relief Following Hurricane Maria

U.S. Northern Command is fully engaged with federal, state and local mission partners as the command provides support to the response efforts for Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria.

Read more on Navy.mil.

Sept. 22

GUAYNABO, Puerto Rico (Sept. 22, 2017) Rear Adm. Jeff Hughes (top left), Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 2, embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), discusses joint operations in Puerto Rico with Army Brig. Gen. Dustin Shultz (top right), Commander, 1st Mission Support Command. Kearsarge is assisting with relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The Department of Defense is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead federal agency, in helping those affected by Hurricane Maria to minimize suffering and is one component of the overall whole-of-government response effort. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jacob Goff/Released)
GUAYNABO, Puerto Rico (Sept. 22, 2017) Rear Adm. Jeff Hughes (top left), Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 2, embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), discusses joint operations in Puerto Rico with Army Brig. Gen. Dustin Shultz (top right), Commander, 1st Mission Support Command. Kearsarge is assisting with relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The Department of Defense is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead federal agency, in helping those affected by Hurricane Maria to minimize suffering and is one component of the overall whole-of-government response effort. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jacob Goff/Released)

Sept. 23

CARIBBEAN SEA (Sept. 23, 2017) 1st Sgt. Rafael Colon, a native of Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico, and the senior enlisted advisor for the 602nd Area Support Medical Company, 261st Medical Battalion, 44th Medical Brigade, Fort Bragg, N.C., gets accountability of his soldiers aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), in the Caribbean Sea. Members of the 602nd ASMC returned to the U.S. Virgin Islands to continue to assist with disaster relief operations in response to hurricanes Irma and Maria. The Department of Defense conducts Defense Support of Civil Authorities operations to assist civilian responders in saving lives, relieving human suffering and mitigating property damage in response to a catastrophic disaster. (U.S. Army photo by Pvt. Alleea Oliver/Released)
CARIBBEAN SEA (Sept. 23, 2017) 1st Sgt. Rafael Colon, a native of Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico, and the senior enlisted advisor for the 602nd Area Support Medical Company, 261st Medical Battalion, 44th Medical Brigade, Fort Bragg, N.C., gets accountability of his soldiers aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), in the Caribbean Sea. Members of the 602nd ASMC returned to the U.S. Virgin Islands to continue to assist with disaster relief operations in response to hurricanes Irma and Maria. The Department of Defense conducts Defense Support of Civil Authorities operations to assist civilian responders in saving lives, relieving human suffering and mitigating property damage in response to a catastrophic disaster. (U.S. Army photo by Pvt. Alleea Oliver/Released)

Sept. 24

CEIBA, Puerto Rico (Sept. 24, 2017) U.S. Marines assigned to Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26th MEU), exit U.S. Navy Landing Craft, Utility 1657 to assist in relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Maria in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, Sept. 24, 2017. The 26th MEU is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead federal agency, and local authorities in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands with the combined goal of protecting the lives and safety of those in affected areas. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Tojyea G. Matally/Released)
CEIBA, Puerto Rico (Sept. 24, 2017) U.S. Marines assigned to Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26th MEU), exit U.S. Navy Landing Craft, Utility 1657 to assist in relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Maria in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, Sept. 24, 2017. The 26th MEU is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead federal agency, and local authorities in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands with the combined goal of protecting the lives and safety of those in affected areas. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Tojyea G. Matally/Released)

Sept. 25

CEIBA, Puerto Rico (Sept. 25, 2017) U.S. Marines assigned to Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26th MEU), conduct route clearing operations with Navy Sailors and local civilians to assist in relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Maria in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, Sept. 25, 2017. The Department of Defense is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead federal agency, in helping those affected by Hurricane Maria to minimize suffering and is one component of the overall whole-of-government response effort. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Tojyea G. Matally/Released)
CEIBA, Puerto Rico (Sept. 25, 2017) U.S. Marines assigned to Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26th MEU), conduct route clearing operations with Navy Sailors and local civilians to assist in relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Maria in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, Sept. 25, 2017. The Department of Defense is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead federal agency, in helping those affected by Hurricane Maria to minimize suffering and is one component of the overall whole-of-government response effort. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Tojyea G. Matally/Released)

CEIBA, Puerto Rico (Sept. 25, 2017) U.S. Marines assigned to Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26th MEU), conduct route clearing with Navy Sailors and local civilians to assist in relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Maria in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, Sept. 25, 2017. The Department of Defense is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead federal agency, in helping those affected by Hurricane Maria to minimize suffering and is one component of the overall whole-of-government response effort. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Tojyea G. Matally/Released)
CEIBA, Puerto Rico (Sept. 25, 2017) U.S. Marines assigned to Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26th MEU), conduct route clearing with Navy Sailors and local civilians to assist in relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Maria in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, Sept. 25, 2017. The Department of Defense is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead federal agency, in helping those affected by Hurricane Maria to minimize suffering and is one component of the overall whole-of-government response effort. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Tojyea G. Matally/Released)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (Sept. 25, 2017) Sailors and Marines attached to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26th MEU), embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), unload military field rations, known as MRE or meals, ready to eat, from an MV-22 Osprey aircraft at Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Kearsarge and the 26th MEU are assisting with relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The Department of Defense is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead federal agency, in helping those affected by Hurricane Maria to minimize suffering and is one component of the overall whole-of-government response effort. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Michael Eduardo Jorge/Released)
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (Sept. 25, 2017) Sailors and Marines attached to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26th MEU), embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), unload military field rations, known as MRE or meals, ready to eat, from an MV-22 Osprey aircraft at Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Kearsarge and the 26th MEU are assisting with relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The Department of Defense is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead federal agency, in helping those affected by Hurricane Maria to minimize suffering and is one component of the overall whole-of-government response effort. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Michael Eduardo Jorge/Released)

Sept. 26

CEIBA, Puerto Rico (Sept. 26, 2017) U.S. Marines, Navy corpsmen, and Sailors with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26th MEU), begin assessing medical and operational needs of Hima San Pablo Hospital as part of the humanitarian effort for victims of Hurricane Maria in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, Sept. 26, 2017. The Department of Defense is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead federal agency, in helping those affected by Hurricane Maria to minimize suffering and is one component of the overall whole-of-government response effort. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Tojyea G. Matally/Released)
CEIBA, Puerto Rico (Sept. 26, 2017) U.S. Marines, Navy corpsmen, and Sailors with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26th MEU), begin assessing medical and operational needs of Hima San Pablo Hospital as part of the humanitarian effort for victims of Hurricane Maria in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, Sept. 26, 2017. The Department of Defense is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead federal agency, in helping those affected by Hurricane Maria to minimize suffering and is one component of the overall whole-of-government response effort. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Tojyea G. Matally/Released)

CEIBA, Puerto Rico (Sept. 26, 2017) Construction Mechanic 2nd Class John McConnell, center, assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), talks with a civilian employee after repairing a Hima San Pablo Hospital generator during relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Maria in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, Sept. 26, 2017. The Department of Defense is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead federal agency, in helping those affected by Hurricane Maria to minimize suffering and is one component of the overall whole-of-government response effort. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Tojyea G. Matally/Released)
CEIBA, Puerto Rico (Sept. 26, 2017) Construction Mechanic 2nd Class John McConnell, center, assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), talks with a civilian employee after repairing a Hima San Pablo Hospital generator during relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Maria in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, Sept. 26, 2017. The Department of Defense is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead federal agency, in helping those affected by Hurricane Maria to minimize suffering and is one component of the overall whole-of-government response effort. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Tojyea G. Matally/Released)

CEIBA, Puerto Rico (Sept. 26, 2017) U.S. Navy Lt. Robert R. Bryson, left, a physician assistant with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26th MEU), discusses medical and operational needs of Hima San Pablo Hospital with its staff as part of relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Maria in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, Sept. 26, 2017. The 26th MEU is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead federal agency, and local authorities in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands with the combined goal of protecting the lives and safety of those in affected areas. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Tojyea G. Matally/Released)
CEIBA, Puerto Rico (Sept. 26, 2017) U.S. Navy Lt. Robert R. Bryson, left, a physician assistant with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26th MEU), discusses medical and operational needs of Hima San Pablo Hospital with its staff as part of relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Maria in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, Sept. 26, 2017. The 26th MEU is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead federal agency, and local authorities in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands with the combined goal of protecting the lives and safety of those in affected areas. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Tojyea G. Matally/Released)

Sept. 27

CARIBBEAN SEA (Sept. 27, 2017) A Sailor signals the take off of a U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter from the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) in order to refuel during humanitarian relief efforts following the landfall of Hurricane Maria on the island of Dominica. The Department of Defense is supporting the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the lead federal agency, in helping those affected by Hurricane Maria to minimize suffering and is one component of the overall whole-of-government response effort. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Rawad Madanat/Released)


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U.S. Navy Sailors and assets are supporting federal, state and local authorities’ ongoing relief efforts …

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Special Report: Hurricane Maria

Tripoli: Then and Now

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By Capt. Kevin P. Meyers
Commanding officer, PCU Tripoli

Having just passed the 30-year mark of service to this great Navy, I have seen quite a bit of history and experienced many memorable events. There are moments which give you pause, due to their timelessness and their place in our Navy’s heritage. The christening of a ship, for me, is one of them.

I recently had the honor to attend the christening of the future USS Tripoli (LHA 7) in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Tripoli’s sponsor, Lynne Mabus, wife of our 75th Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, deftly shattered the bottle of sparkling wine across the ship’s bow. Those in attendance or who watched the video of the event know that was a “home run” swing if there ever was one.

PASCAGOULA, Miss. (Sept. 16, 2017) Ship's sponsor Lynne Mabus, smashes a bottle of sparkling wine against the bow of the future amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli (LHA 7) during the ship's christening ceremony. Also pictured, left to right, are Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss.; Capt. Kevin Meyers, Tripoli's prospective commanding officer; acting Under Secretary of the Navy Thomas Dee; Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias; and former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy Huntington Ingalls Industries by Lance Davis/Released)
PASCAGOULA, Miss. (Sept. 16, 2017) Ship’s sponsor Lynne Mabus, smashes a bottle of sparkling wine against the bow of the future amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli (LHA 7) during the ship’s christening ceremony. Also pictured, left to right, are Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss.; Capt. Kevin Meyers, Tripoli’s prospective commanding officer; acting Under Secretary of the Navy Thomas Dee; Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias; and former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy Huntington Ingalls Industries by Lance Davis/Released)
PASCAGOULA, Miss. (May 1, 2017) The future USS Tripoli (LHA 7) is launched at Huntington Ingalls Industries. Tripoli was successfully launched after the dry-dock was flooded to allow it to float off for the first time. Tripoli incorporates an enlarged hangar deck, enhanced maintenance facilities, increased fuel capacity and additional storerooms to provide the fleet with a platform optimized for aviation capabilities. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)
PASCAGOULA, Miss. (May 1, 2017) The future USS Tripoli (LHA 7) is launched at Huntington Ingalls Industries. Tripoli was successfully launched after the dry-dock was flooded to allow it to float off for the first time. Tripoli incorporates an enlarged hangar deck, enhanced maintenance facilities, increased fuel capacity and additional storerooms to provide the fleet with a platform optimized for aviation capabilities. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

The Sailor in me is filled with a range of emotions; I feel all at once humbled, proud and excited. I am humbled by the sheer magnitude of this 45,000-ton mighty warship, proud beyond measure to be her first commanding officer and lead this amazing crew, and excited at our future endeavors.

During time-honored traditions like a ship’s christening, the best way to appreciate what the future holds is to fully appreciate where the past has brought us.

As a student of history, the comments by Vice Adm. Walter E. “Ted” Carter, 62nd superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy, in his remarks at christening were enlightening. He spoke fondly of the Tripoli Monument, which now sits on the grounds of the Naval Academy.

For a bit of context, the ship’s name, Tripoli, harkens back to our nation’s first foreign conflict, the War with the Barbary Pirates. In 1801, President Thomas Jefferson dispatched ships instead of paying tribute and our nation’s flag was raised on foreign soil for the first time. The Marine Corps Hymn celebrates the bravery of our early Marines with the line “To the shores of Tripoli.” LHA-7, the future USS Tripoli, will be the third to bear the name.

The Tripoli Monument, I learned, is actually our nation’s oldest military monument. Carved in Livorno, Italy, in 1806 to honor the heroes of that war, it was brought to the United States aboard USS Constitution. Its first home was the Washington Navy Yard, where it sustained damage there during the War of 1812. It was then moved to the west front terrace of the U.S. Capitol, facing the National Mall in 1831, and stood there until 1860 when it was moved to the Naval Academy.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (Sept. 15, 2017) The Tripoli Monument is pictured at the U.S. Naval Academy (U.S. Navy courtesy photo/Released)
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (Sept. 15, 2017) The Tripoli Monument is pictured at the U.S. Naval Academy (U.S. Navy courtesy photo/Released)

As I reflect on the christening of LHA-7 Tripoli and the Tripoli monument, I find it an interesting juxtaposition. The monument—with its column, sculptures and mass of stone—resting stoically on the Naval Academy campus the last 157 years and the enormous mass of steel – Tripoli. The Tripoli Monument honors the brave men who fought our Nation’s first war centuries ago, I trust the Sailors and Marines who serve aboard Tripoli will continue to honor their forbearers. What a proud day for our Navy and our nation!


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Tripoli: Then and Now

Bull Halsey: Right Navy Leader at Right Time

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

PEARL HARBOR (Sept. 2, 2017) Rear Adm. Brian Fort, commander, Navy Region Hawaii and commander, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific delivers remarks at the Battleship Missouri Memorial. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class Justin R. Pacheco)
PEARL HARBOR (Sept. 2, 2017) Rear Adm. Brian Fort, commander, Navy Region Hawaii and commander, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific delivers remarks at the Battleship Missouri Memorial. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class Justin R. Pacheco)

On Sept. 2, I had the privilege of attending a ceremony on the battleship Missouri to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the end of World War II in the Pacific. The theme was “They Stood Tall, They Held the Line and They Set the Course to Peace,” and the focus was on the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands.

Among the reasons last week’s commemoration was special for me personally, I had the chance to meet and speak with World War II veterans and United States Marines – always an honor; I was invited to speak about the history, heritage and legacy associated with Guadalcanal; and did I mention we were aboard the “Mighty Mo,” Battleship Missouri Museum!

Back in 1945, USS Missouri (BB 63) hosted the signing ceremony for the end of the War in the Pacific. At the time, Missouri was flagship of Adm. William “Bull” Halsey.

Adm. Chester Nimitz and Adm. E. J. King handpicked Halsey to serve as the wartime commander of the South Pacific for a reason. They needed someone with his “very particular set of skills,” to quote Liam Neeson. They needed him Halsey to take command in the South Pacific, where, according to the historical record, other Navy leaders were overly cautious and risk averse.

Halsey took charge in the Solomons, where our Marines were in a bitter fight with Imperial Japanese forces. He gathered all available ships, ordered mechanics to work around the clock to repair ships and make them battle-read, maximized use of patrol torpedo boats (to great effect) and changed the maritime strategy from strictly defense to bold offense – willing to take cruisers and destroyers to engage with more powerful Imperial Japanese Navy battleships.

PEARL HARBOR (Sept. 2, 2017) Service members parade the colors aboard the Battleship Missouri Memorial. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class Justin R. Pacheco)
PEARL HARBOR (Sept. 2, 2017) Service members parade the colors aboard the Battleship Missouri Memorial. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class Justin R. Pacheco)

No wonder the United States Marine Corps loves him to this day. Marines defended Henderson Field and beat back enemy forces throughout late summer and early fall of 1942. Then, on Friday, Nov. 13, under Halsey’s orders, Adm. Daniel Callaghan led a fierce and deadly fight against the enemy in Sealark Channel off Guadalcanal.

In a close and thunderous gunfight, five American cruisers and eight destroyers went up against two enemy battleships, one cruiser and 14 destroyers. The result: brutal wounds, terrible damage and significant losses on both sides. Callaghan lost four ships and was himself killed, but Imperial Japan lost one battleship and two destroyers – their seeming invincibility was smashed.

Halsey was deeply saddened by the losses of his Sailors and ships. Nevertheless, he and Nimitz considered the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in the South Pacific one of the key turning points of the war.

The Battle of Guadalcanal would wage on for several more months, but the clear naval victories in November meant that our Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen would continue rising to the challenge to advance up the “ladder” toward Japan. At Guadalcanal, they stood taller, they held the line and they set the course to peace.

PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 11, 2017) The guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97) transits the Pacific Ocean during a strait transit show of force exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Paul L. Archer/Released)
PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 11, 2017) The guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97) transits the Pacific Ocean during a strait transit show of force exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Paul L. Archer/Released)

Today, we have 10 homeported ships in Pearl Harbor ready to protect freedom, security, stability and prosperity in the Pacific, and one of those ships is namesake to the take-charge admiral who ensured victory at Guadalcanal. The guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey’s motto is a quote from Halsey, “Hit hard, hit fast, hit often.”

Like any of us, Adm. Bull Halsey was far from perfect. But in 1942, he was the right leader at the right place at the right time. If our call comes to “fight tonight” we will need bold leaders like Halsey who can inspire and lead warfighters. Semper Fi. Semper Fortis.

Editor’s note: Rear Adm. Brian Fort assumed command at Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific Aug. 9. He was invited to speak to the community at the End of World War II ceremony aboard the Battleship Missouri Memorial, which makes its home in Pearl Harbor.


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Bull Halsey: Right Navy Leader at Right Time