USS Gerald R. Ford Ushers in New Age of Technology and Innovation

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

On July 22, the U.S. Navy will commission the nation’s newest nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). For the first time in more than 40 years, in a ceremony certain to be memorable, the Navy will commission the lead ship of a new class of aircraft carriers.

NEWPORT NEWS (April 8, 2017) The future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) underway on its own power for the first time. The first-of-class ship – the first new U.S. aircraft carrier design in 40 years – will spend several days conducting builder's sea trials, a comprehensive test of many of the ship's key systems and technologies. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ridge Leoni/Released)
NEWPORT NEWS (April 8, 2017) The future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) underway on its own power for the first time. The first-of-class ship – the first new U.S. aircraft carrier design in 40 years – will spend several days conducting builder’s sea trials, a comprehensive test of many of the ship’s key systems and technologies. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ridge Leoni/Released)

How will the fleet’s incorporation of the Gerald R. Ford class add to the already impressive combat power supplied by the nation’s 10 Nimitz-class aircraft carriers?

Gerald R. Ford will leverage design changes from bow to stern and from keel to mast, enabling ships of the class to fly today’s carrier aircraft with improved efficiency and ready to accommodate future manned aircraft and unmanned aerial systems.

With the Gerald R. Ford’s island scaled down and set farther aft, the flight deck has more usable area than a Nimitz class aircraft carrier, with this improved flight deck geometry, she can provide more efficiently prepare, launch and recover aircraft of today and of the future.

The Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) has replaced the traditional steam-powered catapults of the Nimitz-class. Using stored kinetic energy and solid-state electrical power conversion, EMALS provides greater control and precision when launching aircraft, expanding the ship’s operational capability to launch more types of planes, from heavy strike fighter jets to light unmanned aircraft.

The Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) system will recover aircraft in a wider range of environmental and operational conditions than is currently possible. Like EMALS, AAG will enable the Gerald R. Ford class to operate new air vehicle systems that require capabilities beyond that of today’s Nimitiz class aircraft carriers.

Other design changes provide for the comfort and well-being of the Sailors in the crew, air wing and embarked staffs in Gerald R. Ford. Crew members will find more privacy in redesigned sleeping areas with fewer racks per room and easier access to restroom and shower facilities. Separate spaces hold crew recreation and television viewing areas, providing consistent quiet for sleeping crew members. Wider passageways make travel through the ship more efficient in both peace and combat. Well-equipped gyms enable a variety of exercise routines. Increased air conditioning capacity adds to crew comfort and reduces maintenance caused by high heat and humidity. Even the lighting is better; 44,000 high-efficiency fluorescent T-8 light bulbs produces more light and last nearly twice as long as lighting on a Nimitz-class carrier.

In all, 23 new or modified systems distinguish Gerald R. Ford from aircraft carriers of the Nimitz-class, bringing increased safety, effectiveness and efficiency to the ship’s crew members, flight deck, propulsion system, electric plant, machinery control and integrated warfare systems.

NORFOLK (April 14, 2017) The aircraft carrier Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) pulls into Naval Station Norfolk for the first time. The first-of-class ship - the first new U.S. aircraft carrier design in 40 years - spent several days conducting builder's sea trails, a comprehensive test of many of the ship's key systems and technologies. (U.S. Navy photo by Matt Hildreth courtesy of Huntington Ingalls Industries/Released)
NORFOLK (April 14, 2017) The aircraft carrier Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) pulls into Naval Station Norfolk for the first time. The first-of-class ship – the first new U.S. aircraft carrier design in 40 years – spent several days conducting builder’s sea trails, a comprehensive test of many of the ship’s key systems and technologies. (U.S. Navy photo by Matt Hildreth courtesy of Huntington Ingalls Industries/Released)

Following the commissioning of Gerald R. Ford, the Navy will complete the ship’s outfitting and testing and will prepare this lead ship for its first operational deployment – sending the next generation of aircraft carrier capabilities forward in service to the nation. The second ship of the Gerald R. Ford class, future USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 79), is well along in construction, and the shipbuilder has begun work on the third ship, future USS Enterprise (CVN 80). These aircraft carriers, the most technologically advanced in the world, will serve alongside and complement the 10 ships of the Nimitz class, keeping America’s Navy on the forefront of today’s rapidly-evolving operational environment.

Commissioning of Gerald R. Ford will celebrate the contributions of tens of thousands of active duty Sailors, government civilians, and private sector patriots who envisioned, designed and built the lead ship of a new class of aircraft carriers, unmatched by anything else in the world.

The age of the Ford-class carrier has arrived and I am confident that these ships will continue to push the envelope for technological advancements and enable the United States to not only maintain , but to increase our maritime superiority throughout the world for the next 50 years plus.

Editor’s note: The commissioning ceremony will be webcast starting at 10 a.m. (EDT).


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USS Gerald R. Ford Ushers in New Age of Technology and Innovation

Your Navy Operating Forward – Sulu Sea, Bohol Sea, South Pacific

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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.


BOHOL SEA: The littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) transits the Bohol Sea during an exercise with the Philippine navy during the Maritime Training Activity Sama Sama 2017. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Deven Leigh Ellis/Released)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: Sailors transport ordnance on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Mario Coto/Released)

JEBEL ALI, United Arab Emirates: The amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) prepares to depart Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean Furey/Released)

ARABIAN GULF: Sailors assigned to Coastal Riverine Squadron (CRS) 3, Task Group (TG) 56.7, pilot 34-foot patrol boats in the Arabian Gulf. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean Furey/Released)

GULF OF MEXICO: Huntington Ingalls Industries’ shipbuilding division announced the amphibious transport dock ship USS Portland (LPD 27) has completed its first set of sea trials. (U.S. Navy photo by Lance Davis)

SOUTH PACIFIC: Lt. Miranda Krasselt and Lt. Chris Williams signal for the launch of an aircraft on the flight deck of the Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kenneth Abbate/Released)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) operates in the Mediterranean Sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. j.g. Xavier Jimenez/Released)

ARABIAN GULF: The guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) conducts a replenishment-at-sea with the French navy Durance-class replenishment tanker FS Var (A608) during Exercise Spartan Kopis 17. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joshua Bryce Bruns/Released)

SYDNEY, Australia: The amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) transits the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Sydney, Australia. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. T. T. Parish/Released)

SULU SEA: Sailors assigned to the “Wildcards” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23 prepare to hoist a dummy on a litter into an MH-60S Seahawk during a medical drill aboard the littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Deven Leigh Ellis/Released)

PACIFIC OCEAN: The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) fires its Mark 45 5-inch gun during a live-fire exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kelsey J. Hockenberger/Released)

Tell us which photo best shows YOUR Navy Operating Forward !


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Your Navy Operating Forward – Sulu Sea, Bohol Sea, South Pacific

Making a Navy Sailor

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Rear Adm. Stephen C. Evans
Commander, Naval Service Training Command

Navy Sailors have a long history of being tough and that is no different today. They are physically fit, strategically smart and more resilient than ever.

GREAT LAKES, Ill. (March 13, 2017) A recruit division commander motivates and instructs his recruits on marching safety in inclement weather at Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Ill. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Seth Schaeffer/Released)
GREAT LAKES, Ill. (March 13, 2017) A recruit division commander motivates and instructs his recruits on marching safety in inclement weather at Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Ill. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Seth Schaeffer/Released)

How do they do it? It starts with basic military training, where our most experienced Sailors instruct our newest Sailors. To continue our legacy of toughness, experienced Fleet Sailors need to join our training team.

We have more than 320,000 Active Duty Sailors around the world. Nearly 265,000 of those Sailors are in the enlisted ranks, all of them performing vital functions.

GREAT LAKES, Ill. (Feb. 6, 2017) A recruit division commander motivates recruits during warm-up exercises at Freedom Hall fitness center onboard Recruit Training Command (RTC). (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Seth Schaeffer/Released)
GREAT LAKES, Ill. (Feb. 6, 2017) A recruit division commander motivates recruits during warm-up exercises at Freedom Hall fitness center onboard Recruit Training Command (RTC). (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Seth Schaeffer/Released)

Whether they serve on an aircraft carrier, an amphibious assault ship, a cruiser, a Littoral Combat Ship, a destroyer, a submarine, in an aircraft squadron or in an ashore unit, our Sailors are highly capable operators who help protect the world’s sea lanes and keep America safe.

How do we train Sailors to be effective Navy professionals, no matter the type of ship, aircraft or unit in which they serve?

Recruit Training Command at Naval Station Great Lakes is the Navy’s only boot camp where all of our enlisted Sailors start their professional naval service.

From the moment each recruit steps off the bus, all of them with a different background, hometown and upbringing, they are challenged to uphold the Navy Core Values of Honor, Courage and Commitment.

GREAT LAKES, Ill. (Oct. 30, 2012) Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Sonseeahray Walker, Recruit Division Commander of the Year, performs a recruit uniform inspection at Recruit Training Command. (U.S. Navy Photo by Lt. Liza Swart/Released)
GREAT LAKES, Ill. (Oct. 30, 2012) Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Sonseeahray Walker, Recruit Division Commander of the Year, performs a recruit uniform inspection at Recruit Training Command. (U.S. Navy Photo by Lt. Liza Swart/Released)

Over the course of eight weeks, recruits are trained by the Navy’s best Sailors known as recruit division commanders and navigate the crucible of high stress training evolutions designed to push them beyond their mental, physical and emotional limits, preparing them for the operational demands of our warfighting fleet.

By the time they graduate Boot Camp, Sailors will understand the basics of Navy customs and courtesies; grasp the tenants of seamanship and watchstanding; receive weapons training; and be skilled in shipboard firefighting and damage control all while maintaining a physical fitness regimen, in which every Sailor must be able to pass the Navy’s Physical Fitness Assessment before graduating and proceeding to in-rate training.

Furthermore, before graduating boot camp, every enlisted Sailor since 2007 has been battle tested aboard USS Trayer during Battle Stations (BST) 21. Trayer is a 210-foot replica of an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, stocked with state-of-the-art special effects. Recruit toughness is put to the test in this overnight crucible that includes fighting real fires and flooding, simulated missile attacks, mass casualties and ship survivability scenarios.

Just as recruits receive basic military training and mentorship from their recruit division commanders, their transformation continues in the fleet under the supervision of their division leading petty officers and chief petty officers.

GREAT LAKES, Ill. (May 30, 2017) Steelworker 1st Class Zachary Joyce, Recruit Division Commander and leading petty officer of the USS Pearl Harbor barracks at Recruit Training Command (RTC), instructs new recruits on the proper way to fold their blanket when making their racks. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Susan Krawczyk/Released)
GREAT LAKES, Ill. (May 30, 2017) Steelworker 1st Class Zachary Joyce, Recruit Division Commander and leading petty officer of the USS Pearl Harbor barracks at Recruit Training Command (RTC), instructs new recruits on the proper way to fold their blanket when making their racks. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Susan Krawczyk/Released)

We are all accountable to maintain our force readiness through advanced training in the Fleet. To achieve our mission and constantly prepare for the next generations of Sailors, we must continue to invest our most talented Fleet personnel as trainers for our future.

I challenge our fleet Sailors to take up the mantle of responsibility, make a difference for the future of our Navy, and serve a tour of duty as a recruit division commander at Recruit Training Command.


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Making a Navy Sailor

Your Navy Operating Forward -Sri Lanka, Japan, Suez Canal

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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.


EAST CHINA SEA: Airman Francis Mateodiaz, from Coamo, Puerto Rico, signals a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter assigned to the “Dragons” of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 (Reinforced) for landing aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Gavin Shields/Released)

SUEZ CANAL: The aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) prepares to sail under the International Peace Bridge as it transits the Suez Canal. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Christopher Gaines/Released)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: An F/A-18F Super Hornet attached to the “Blacklions” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 213 is fully loaded with 10 GBU-32 1,000 pound bombs aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matt Matlage/Released)

PACIFIC OCEAN: An F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the “Golden Dragons” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 192 conducts a high-speed flyby during an air-power demonstration in the western Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matthew Granito/Released)

OKINAWA, Japan: Sailors prepare to launch Landing Craft Utility (LCU) 1651, assigned to Naval Beach Unit (NBU) 7, from the well deck of the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Clay/Released)

SOUTH CHINA SEA: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG 104) conducts a replenishment-at-sea with the dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Richard E. Byrd (T-AKE 4). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Byron C. Linder/Released)

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka: The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) arrives in Colombo, Sri Lanka to support humanitarian assistance operations in the wake of severe flooding and landslides that devastated many regions of the country. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Fulton/Released)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: An EA-18G Growler assigned to the “Lancers” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 131 prepares to launch from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matt Matlage/Released)

PHILIPPINE SEA: The fleet replenishment oiler USNS John Ericsson (T-AO 194) transits alongside the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during a replenishment-at-sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kenneth Abbate/Released)

YOKOSUKA, Japan: Seaman Daniel Keaton, assigned to the U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), paints the hull of the ship. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Patrick Semales/Released)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: A rigid-hull inflatable boat approaches the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) during small boat operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brent Pyfrom/Released)

PACIFIC OCEAN: F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 fly over the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), front, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108), right, USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112), left, and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) in the western Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean M. Castellano/Released)

Tell us which photo best shows YOUR Navy Operating Forward !


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Your Navy Operating Forward -Sri Lanka, Japan, Suez Canal

Naval Audit Readiness and You

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By Karen Fenstermacher
Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Financial Operations)

Every day, hundreds of thousands of dedicated Navy personnel work together to achieve critical goals on shore and at sea. We deploy to conflict zones. We engage in humanitarian operations. We push our limits. And behind these efforts are the ships, submarines, aircraft, facilities and infrastructure, technology, and other resources that allow us, the people of the U.S. Navy, to do what we do.

But behind those resources, there’s something even more fundamental. So fundamental, you probably don’t think about it on a day-to-day basis. It’s our finances.

MEDITERRANEAN SEA (July 9, 2015) USS Ross (DDG 71) receives supplies from the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Bighorn (T-AO 198) during an underway replenishment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Robert S. Price/Released)
MEDITERRANEAN SEA (July 9, 2015) USS Ross (DDG 71) receives supplies from the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Bighorn (T-AO 198) during an underway replenishment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Robert S. Price/Released)

Every year, Congress appropriates taxpayer money to support Navy operations, and we use that money to buy supplies, outfit our ships, procure new equipment and pay our people. It’s that money that sustains our readiness to meet any mission. And it’s more important than ever that we demonstrate to Congress and the American people that we’re holding ourselves accountable and managing that money wisely.

Ensign Jarrett Seibel, disbursing officer aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Hue City (CG 66) credits money to Yeoman 2nd Class Jorge Esparza's Navy Cash Card. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Darien G. Kenney/Released)
U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY (Sept. 13, 2012) Ensign Jarrett Seibel, disbursing officer aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Hue City (CG 66) credits money to Yeoman 2nd Class Jorge Esparza’s Navy Cash Card. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Darien G. Kenney/Released)

As a part of that effort, we are about to undergo our first full financial statement audit. In September, a public accounting firm will assess the Navy’s financial statements, transactions, internal controls and IT systems to determine whether we have accurately accounted for the funding we receive and spend.

Sailor or civilian, admiral or ensign, seaman or chief petty officer, the audit affects every one of us. Our money drives our resources, our resources drive our people, and our people drive our mission. Further, reliable financial information can serve as a valuable tool to help commands, program managers and senior executives make informed decisions and strengthen mission readiness. And just as we work together to support each other, it’s important that we work together to support the audit!

Office of Financial Operations is launching a new series of audit readiness training videos that will outline your role in the audit across nine key business areas. They’ll explain the audit concepts you need to know, show you how to prepare and tell you what to expect when the audit begins.

Visit the the audit readiness website to watch the videos that apply to you, find reference materials for further review, and earn up to two CET credits. And don’t forget to play the immersive knowledge check – I challenge you to beat my high score as we all prepare for the audit that will help sustain our readiness in the fleet and beyond.

Sailors move stores during a working party in the hangar bay of the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). The ship is pierside following a deployment to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Zach Sleeper/Released)
NORFOLK (Feb. 2, 2017) Sailors move stores during a working party in the hangar bay of the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Zach Sleeper/Released)

We’re all accountable for the Navy’s resources. When we work together toward sound financial stewardship, audit preparation becomes a part of the way we do business every day. And that makes us a stronger team, a stronger Navy and a more powerful force around the globe.


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Naval Audit Readiness and You

Your Navy Operating Forward – Japan, Philippines, Bahrain

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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.


YOKOSUKA, Japan: The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) departs Fleet Activities Yokosuka for its 2017 patrol. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Peter Burghart/Released)

ARABIAN GULF: An MH-60S Sea Hawk attached to the “Tridents” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 9 prepares to carry supplies during a replenishment-at-sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Mario Coto/Released)

KADENA, Japan: Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Alfonzo Bridgett, assigned to the “Tridents” of Patrol Squadron (VP) 26, places a torpedo under a P-8A Poseidon aircraft at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean R. Morton/Released)

ARABIAN GULF: An MH-60S Sea Hawk attached to the “Tridents” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 9 carries supplies to the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) (GHWB). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Mario Coto/Released)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: Fire Controlman 2nd Class Brandon Godina, from San Antonio, Texas, returns to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) from the French Navy Cassard-class anti-air frigate FS Jean Bart (D615). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Robert S. Price/Released)

ARABIAN GULF: An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to the “Blacklions” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 213 launches from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Mario Coto/Released)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: Sailors chock and chain an MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 46 during flight quarters aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Robert S. Price/Released)

KADENA, Japan: Aviation Ordnanceman Christian Harman, assigned to the “Tridents” of Patrol Squadron (VP) 26, drives a MHU 38 loader at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean R. Morton/Released)

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Your Navy Operating Forward – Japan, Philippines, Bahrain

Spokane Hosts Navy Week 2017

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Chief Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Technician Ian Brody, attached to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 1, talks to students from Freeman High School about EOD robots during Spokane Navy Week static display. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jason Noble/Released)



Sailors interacted with residents of Spokane, Washington, in a series of community outreach events during Spokane Navy Week, May 15-21.  Sailors performed public concerts, visited a children’s hospital, and participated in school events and community projects. Additionally, members of the Navy’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group One trained with the Spokane Police Bomb Squad.  The Navy Week program serves as the Navy’s principal outreach effort into areas of the country without a significant Navy presence.  The program is designed to help Americans understand that their Navy is deployed around the world, around the clock, and ready to defend America at all times.


U.S. Navy Band Northwest performs for the public during “Navy Night” at the INB Performong Arts Center in Spokane, Wash., during the 2017 Spokane Navy Week. (U.S. Navy Photo by Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class Erin Bullock/Released)

Rear Adm. Kevin Kovacich, director of Plans and Policy at U.S. Cyber Command, meets with Kjerstin Bell on the “Good Day Spokane” morning show to discuss his job and the activities that will take place during Spokane Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jason Noble/Released)

Equipment Operator 1st Class Raymond Pope, left, and Equipment Operator 3rd Class Dustin Best, both assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 18, prepare a board for bracing while volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Christopher S. Carson/Released)

Aviation Maintenance Administrationman Airman Chad Callahan, front, and Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Robert Montgomery, both assigned to USS Constitution, pack produce at Second Harvest Food Bank at a community service project during Spokane Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jason Noble/Released)

U.S. Navy Band Northwest’s Brass Quintet performs at Woodridge Elementary School during Spokane Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joshua R. Nistas/Released)

Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Technician 3rd Class Shane Grubbs, assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 3, talks about the rocket propelled grenade during a static display at Freeman High School during Spokane Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jason Noble/Released)

Rear Adm. Kevin Kovacich, director of plans and policy at U.S. Cyber Command, meets some of the patients of the VA Medical Center during a Spokane Navy Week tour and meet-and-greet. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jason Noble/Released)

Chief Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Technician Ian Brody, attached to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 1, talks to students from Freeman High School about EOD robots during Spokane Navy Week static display. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jason Noble/Released)

Chief Personnel Specialist Laura McDonald, senior enlisted leader of Naval Operations Support Center (NOSC) Spokane, helps assemble a wall while volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Christopher S. Carson/Released)

Sailors assigned to U.S. Navy Band Northwest performs at North Valley High School during Navy Week Spokane, (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Christopher S. Carson/Released)


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By Rear Adm. Brian “Lex” Luther Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Budget Today …

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Spokane Hosts Navy Week 2017

Surface Warfare Week: Vital Education Tool for Our Nation’s Future Officers

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By Vice Adm. Tom Rowden
Commander, Naval Surface Forces

There are many constants in the life of surface warfare officers: getting underway on a ship, making sure our Sailors and ships are ready to deploy, and every summer, hosting midshipmen from our nation’s universities.

Midshipmen from the United States Naval Academy and Reserve Officer Training Corps units from around the nation participate in yearly summer training. I believe investing fleet time in training our future leaders is extremely important to extending our legacy of maritime dominance for years to come. Perhaps one of most influential events we conduct is “Core Training for Midshipmen” (CORTRAMID) and “Professional Training for Midshipmen” (PROTRAMID).

MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Feb. 13, 2017) The guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) fires a 5-inch lightweight gun during a live fire exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ford Williams/Released)
MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Feb. 13, 2017) The guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) fires a 5-inch lightweight gun during a live fire exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ford Williams/Released)

I still remember my midshipman summer experience 37 years later like it was yesterday. And what I learned then, I still use today. As it happens, during my summer training as a midshipman, I had the opportunity to meet one of our great naval leaders, Vice Adm. “Hank” Mustin, aboard the frigate USS Miller. He spoke to the officers in the ship’s wardroom and he left me with a lasting memory. He emphatically stated, “the United States Navy exists to control the sea.” His words are as applicable today as they were decades ago.

Midshipmen 3rd class Keegan Kush, from Omaha, Neb., participates in a sea and anchor detail aboard the Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56).
Midshipmen 3rd class Keegan Kush, from Omaha, Neb., participates in a sea and anchor detail aboard the Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56).

CORTRAMID is designed to educate ROTC midshipmen going into their sophomore year of college about fleet operations, while PROTRAMID is focused on rising juniors at the Naval Academy. Both month-long training blocks consist of the same curriculum, one week in each of the major communities: surface warfare, submarine force, naval aviation and the Marine Corps. The major distinction setting this training apart from all others is that once it’s completed and the midshipmen return to their schools, they are required to sign the five-year commitment to continue forward in their commissioning programs. No pressure!

On Monday, we’ll kick off the 2017 CORTRAMID/PROTRAMID season and I wholeheartedly believe this training is vital for these future naval officers. The month they spend with the fleet sets the framework for their perception of each community and hopefully sheds some light on the reality of each as well. For the surface warfare community, it’s our duty, and an honor, to help teach them about what it is we do. We accomplish the orientation during Surface Warfare Week, more commonly called Surface Warfare Officer Week. I want it to be known that SWO Week is, if nothing else, an essential education tool that allows midshipmen to get their questions answered, in operational environments, prior to service selection.

The Littoral Combat Ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) sails alongside USS Nimitz (CVN 68) as part of a strait transit demonstration during the aircraft carrier's Sustainment Exercise off the coast of Southern California, April 14. Fort Worth, a semi-planing, mono-hull vessel, is a fast, agile, and mission-focused platform designed to employ modular mission packages that can be configured for three separate purposes: surface warfare, mine countermeasures, or anti-submarine warfare. The ship is designed to operate in hostile near-shore environments, known as "the littorals", and to defeat asymmetric "anti-access" threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft. Fort Worth is the second of the Freedom variant of LCS. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Phil Ladouceur/Released)
The Littoral Combat Ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) sails alongside USS Nimitz (CVN 68) as part of a strait transit demonstration during the aircraft carrier’s Sustainment Exercise off the coast of Southern California. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Phil Ladouceur/Released)

It’s my desire for them to be as informed as possible before making this life altering decision. I cannot – and we shouldn’t – make the choice for them. Everyone has their place in our great Navy and while we pride ourselves on diversity, we need to be mindful that not everyone is meant to be a surface warfare officer and that is absolutely all right. I want each and every midshipman to choose the community that is best for him or her; to do what they love and be the best officer they can be in service to our great Navy. We just need to ensure that the time they spent learning about the SWO community is educational and represents the broad spectrum of what our community has to offer them upon commissioning.

We achieve this goal through a designed program that not only gets midshipmen underway on multiple platforms of ships, but also integrates the training with non-conventional pipelines like riverine squadrons and naval beach group and takes them to the Basic Division Officer Course where they will receive formal training as junior officers once commissioned and formally assigned to the SWO community. We also provide interactions with junior officers and chief petty officers from the waterfront who are currently stationed aboard surface ships. These active duty leaders mentor small groups through the week’s schedule and a SWO Week competition; most importantly, they answer questions about our great community. We wrap-up the week in a more relaxed environment, a barbecue social where other junior officers and chiefs from the waterfront come to support and answer any last queries about surface warfare.

MEDITERRANEAN SEA (March 23, 2015) Ensign Joseph Lillie, from Lakewood, Ohio, stands officer of the deck watch at the radar console aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Laboon (DDG 58). Laboon is conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Desmond Parks/Released)
MEDITERRANEAN SEA (March 23, 2015) Ensign Joseph Lillie stands officer of the deck watch at the radar console aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Laboon (DDG 58). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Desmond Parks/Released)

For general guidance, I can tell the midshipmen that the surface warfare community remains committed to putting the most advanced ships in the hands of the most capable Sailors. Among all warfare communities, they will be the first to hit the deck plates, leading Sailors almost immediately following commissioning. Furthermore, our junior officers have the rewarding experience of driving the world’s most capable ships and employing our most sophisticated weapons systems. When midshipmen select surface warfare, they will start out on their first ship having more responsibility than their civilian counterparts might ever have.

Our community is on the leading edge of adopting personnel policies that are increasingly rewarding for the most talented officers. Our officers have unique opportunities to pursue graduate level education, intern at some of the most prestigious companies, and train to become an expert tactician in the fleet. The officers that join the surface community will have the satisfaction of leading Sailors in the midst of a rapidly changing maritime security environment.

EVERETT, Wash. (Nov. 1, 2016) Vice Adm. Thomas Rowden, commander, Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet, speaks to Sailors assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Shoup (DDG 86) during his visit to Naval Station Everett.. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Joseph Montemarano/Released)
EVERETT, Wash. (Nov. 1, 2016) Vice Adm. Thomas Rowden, commander, Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet, speaks to Sailors assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Shoup (DDG 86) during his visit to Naval Station Everett. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Joseph Montemarano/Released)

I truly believe it’s the experience and perspective gained throughout this orientation week that allows us to leave an indelible impression upon each midshipman as we send them back to their commissioning sources better informed about the fleet and more knowledgeable in the process. The talent we attract now is tomorrow’s leadership of the surface force. I sincerely thank all of the units and personnel that will help make CORTRAMID/PROTRAMID 2017 our best summer yet for surface warfare education. I look forward to meeting some of the next generation of naval officers, include those who will select surface warfare.


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Surface Warfare Week: Vital Education Tool for Our Nation’s Future Officers

Celebrating Navy Week in Memphis

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Musician 2nd Class Daniel Oren, assigned to the U.S. Fleet Forces Band, Four Star Edition, plays keyboards during a performance at Millington Middle School in Millington, Tenn., during Memphis Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brian T. Glunt/Released)



Coinciding with the Memphis Air Show and Naval Support Activity Mid-South’s Centennial, the fourth Navy Week of 2017 hosted Sailors during Memphis Navy Week May 8-14.  The Navy Week program serves as the Navy’s principal outreach effort into areas of the country without a significant Navy presence.   The program is designed to help Americans understand that their Navy is deployed around the world, around the clock, ready to defend America at all times.

Pilots assigned to the U.S. Navy flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels, walk down the flight lline before their flight demonstration at the Memphis Airshow. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel M. Young/Released)
Pilots assigned to the U.S. Navy flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels, walk down the flight lline before their flight demonstration at the Memphis Airshow. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel M. Young/Released)
Musician 2nd Class Daniel Oren, assigned to the U.S. Fleet Forces Band, Four Star Edition, plays keyboards during a performance at Millington Middle School in Millington, Tenn., during Memphis Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brian T. Glunt/Released)
Musician 2nd Class Daniel Oren, assigned to the U.S. Fleet Forces Band, Four Star Edition, plays keyboards during a performance at Millington Middle School in Millington, Tenn., during Memphis Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brian T. Glunt/Released)
Navy Counselor 1st Class Troy Stocking, assigned to USS Constitution, leads a Memphis Navy Week presentation at Douglass Elementary School on one of Constitution’s most publicized engagements. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joshua Hammond/Released)
Navy Counselor 1st Class Troy Stocking, assigned to USS Constitution, leads a Memphis Navy Week presentation at Douglass Elementary School on one of Constitution’s most publicized engagements. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joshua Hammond/Released)
Rear Adm. Paul Pearigen, right, commander, Navy Medicine West, tours the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), with Dr. Kennard Brown, executive vice chancellor of UTHSC, during Memphis Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Cameron Pinske/Released)
Rear Adm. Paul Pearigen, right, commander, Navy Medicine West, tours the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), with Dr. Kennard Brown, executive vice chancellor of UTHSC, during Memphis Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Cameron Pinske/Released)
Sailors assigned to the U.S. Fleet Forces Band, Four Star Edition, perform during Memphis Navy Week at The Pyramid in Memphis, Tenn. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brian T. Glunt/Released)
Sailors assigned to the U.S. Fleet Forces Band, Four Star Edition, perform during Memphis Navy Week at The Pyramid in Memphis, Tenn. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brian T. Glunt/Released)
The U.S. Navy flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels, Delta pilots complete the Fleur de Lis maneuver in a salute to forward deployed forces at the Memphis Airshow. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel M. Young/Released)
The U.S. Navy flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels, Delta pilots complete the Fleur de Lis maneuver in a salute to forward deployed forces at the Memphis Airshow. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel M. Young/Released)
Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Christopher Johnson, assigned to USS Constitution, shows off a Constitution Cutlass at the Sycamore View Boys & Girls Club as part of Memphis Navy Week presentation.
Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Christopher Johnson, assigned to USS Constitution, shows off a Constitution Cutlass at the Sycamore View Boys & Girls Club as part of Memphis Navy Week presentation.
Musician 3rd Class Julius Coker, from Philadelphia, assigned to the U.S. Fleet Forces Band ensemble, Four Star Edition, calls for students to show their dance moves at Millington Middle School in Millington, Tenn.during Memphis Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brian T. Glunt/Released)
Musician 3rd Class Julius Coker, from Philadelphia, assigned to the U.S. Fleet Forces Band ensemble, Four Star Edition, calls for students to show their dance moves at Millington Middle School in Millington, Tenn.during Memphis Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brian T. Glunt/Released)


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By Vice Adm. Tom Rowden Commander, Naval Surface Forces There are many constants in the …

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Celebrating Navy Week in Memphis

USS Somerset Shines on Maiden Deployment

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By Capt. Darren Glaser
Commanding Officer, USS Somerset (LPD 25)

SAN DIEGO (Oct. 14, 2016) — Line handlers assigned to Naval Station San Diego release the mooring lines as the amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25), departs for a scheduled deployment. Somerset is a part of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, which will serve in the U.S. 3rd, 5th, and 7th Fleet area of operation, providing maritime security operations, crisis response capability, theater security cooperation and forward naval presence. (U.S. Navy Photo by Seaman Kelsey Hockenberger/Released)
SAN DIEGO (Oct. 14, 2016) — Line handlers assigned to Naval Station San Diego release the mooring lines as the amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25), departs for a scheduled deployment. (U.S. Navy Photo by Seaman Kelsey Hockenberger/Released)

As we departed Naval Base San Diego Oct. 14, 2016, for USS Somerset’s (LPD 25) maiden deployment, along with USS Makin Island (LHD 8) and USS Comstock (LSD 45) for operations in the U.S. 3rd, 5th and 7th fleets, I knew the ship and crew were more than ready. Now, as we prepare to return to San Diego on May 15, I want to share how Somerset shined on our maiden deployment.

We worked very hard transitioning from a pre-commissioning unit to a deployment ready U.S. Navy warship – first through the basic phase of training and then into the intermediate phase as integrated members of the Amphibious Squadron  5/11th Marine Expeditionary Unit team and the ‘Makin Island’ Amphibious Readiness Group. During this training, Somerset Sailors and Marines quickly learned to work together and completed certification in all mission areas we could be assigned to perform throughout a deployment. Since setting sail, the Makin Island Amphibious Readiness Group has collectively been engaged in numerous operations defending U.S. interests and maintaining freedom of the seas.

APRA HARBOR, GUAM (April 20, 2017) The amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25) heads towards Guam for a scheduled liberty port visit. Somerset, with the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (11th MEU), was operating in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region to enhance amphibious capability with regional partners and to serve as a ready-response force for any type of contingency. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jacob I. Allison/Released)
APRA HARBOR, GUAM (April 20, 2017) The amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25) heads towards Guam for a scheduled liberty port visit. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jacob I. Allison/Released)

As a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock (LPD) ship, Somerset offers the kind of innovation and cutting edge technology the surface Navy needs to meet future challenges at sea – both during this initial deployment and for years to come. The ship includes innovations in its external design that reduces the ship’s appearance on radars and a state-of-the-art command and control network. San Antonio-class ships were designed to be stealthy, have significant survivability features and an advanced computer technology to accomplish a broad range of missions. This class is the first amphibious ships in the U.S. Navy to feature these design innovations. High-tech systems, an integrated Ship Wide Area Network, video cameras located throughout the ship, and technology like the Consolidated Visual Information System allow the crew to monitor the vast array of systems onboard, while requiring fewer personnel at watch stations.

WATERS NEAR TRINCOMALEE, SRI LANKA (Nov. 22, 2016) Sailors aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25) lower a rigid-hull inflatable boat with a knuckle-boom crane of the coast of Sri Lanka in preparation for a theater security cooperation exchange with the Sri Lankan military. Somerset and embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit were conducting the exchange with Sri Lankan forces in order to enhance tactical skill sets and disaster relief capabilities while strengthening the overall relationship between the two forces (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Chavez/Released)
WATERS NEAR TRINCOMALEE, SRI LANKA (Nov. 22, 2016) Sailors aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25) lower a rigid-hull inflatable boat with a knuckle-boom crane of the coast of Sri Lanka in preparation for a theater security cooperation exchange with the Sri Lankan military. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Chavez/Released)

These advanced systems facilitate both external and internal flexibility to not only serve as a warfare commander in a strike group, but also gives the crew the ability to monitor vital ship system’s from traditional controlling stations like the bridge, as well as in other places like a joint planning room, the wardroom lounge or even the ship’s library and chapel. With shipboard innovations in technology like the Consolidated Visual Information System, it’s possible to be in the helo control tower and review all the parameters of online equipment in the engine rooms, keep an eye on all surface/air contacts while sitting in the wardroom or even steer the ship all the way back by the flight deck in our These unique capabilities have been in high demand and we have participated in major operational tasking throughout the deployment. A true testament to our resolve, we remained on station and at sea for as long as 76 consecutive days supporting missions.

Through our work, we demonstrated our commitment to readiness. Operations included several firsts for the United States and our partnering nation, Sri Lanka, as the first and largest U.S. Navy warship to conduct both Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) and air ship-to-shore operations on a Sri Lankan Naval Base and first ever theater security cooperation exercise with the Sri Lankan Navy (Marines). This enabled a first major military-to-military exercise, multiple exchanges and training events with the U.S. Marines and Sri Lanka forces. While Somerset already has three of its own rigid-hull inflatable boats, we embarked an additional two rigid-hull inflatable boats crewed by Assault Craft Unit 5 to support the Marine’s Maritime Raid Force operations. Our LCACs from Beach Master Unit 5 moved Marines and their equipment to beaches around the world during this deployment. Our ability to rapidly embark diverse joint forces, integrate them, deploy them close to the mission objective and support them in the execution of their mission sets has been critical to getting the job done this deployment. Additionally, we also took part in exercises and engagements with our valuable strategic partners in Oman and Djibouti.

SALALAH, OMAN (March 4, 2017) Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Brandon Kellum, from Harlem, N.Y., signals a vehicle onto a landing craft, air cushion (LCAC), assigned to Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 5, during exercise Sea Soldier 17. The annual, bilateral exercise is conducted with the Royal Army of Oman and is designed to demonstrate the cooperative skill and will of U.S. and partner nations to work together in maintaining regional stability and security. The amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25), with the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of maritime security operations designed to reassure allies and partners, preserve the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce and enhance regional stability. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Amanda Chavez/Released)
SALALAH, OMAN (March 4, 2017) Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Brandon Kellum, from Harlem, N.Y., signals a vehicle onto a landing craft, air cushion (LCAC), assigned to Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 5, during exercise Sea Soldier 17. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Amanda Chavez/Released)
GULF OF ADEN (Dec. 21, 2016) Lt. Taryn Cazzolii, right, the senior medical officer aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25), and Lt. Cmdr. Timothy Donahue, a Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 5 surgeon, operate on a patient during Somerset’s first ever onboard surgery. FST 5 is embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) in order to enhance surgical, casualty receiving and trauma treatment capabilities across the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). Somerset was deployed with the Makin Island and 11th MEU to support maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Amanda Chavez/Released)
GULF OF ADEN (Dec. 21, 2016) Lt. Taryn Cazzolii, right, the senior medical officer aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25), and Lt. Cmdr. Timothy Donahue, a Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 5 surgeon, operate on a patient during Somerset’s first ever onboard surgery. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Amanda Chavez/Released)

Using this technology, all of the impressive work is accomplished with a ship operating with lower manning levels than traditional ships of its size. Somerset, and the other San Antonio-class ships like it, are unique and forward-thinking surface warfare ships that bring a wide array of naval warfighting and Defense Support of Civil Authorities capabilities together in one package. Her distinctive characteristics make Somerset worldwide deployable for almost any mission – but I am the first to admit, the ship would only be a shell without the devoted Sailors and Marines. Each LPD-17 class can support up to 800 additional personnel, provide medical care (we have both surgical and dental capability) and it encompasses more than 23,000 square feet of vehicle storage space, more than double of the previous LPD-4 class it replaced. Somerset’s crew is both highly trained and prepared to support command and control, to on load and offload people, provisions and/or special equipment ashore.

Dedicated, highly trained and professional, the Somerset team is united to defend our country and to keep the seas safe and free. The ship’s array of accomplishments on this first deployment, from naval firsts with other countries to successfully carrying out traditional mission tasking, are a direct result of the hard work and service of the crew and their embarked 11th MEU counterparts on board. They are the heart of the ship – without them, the ship could not move operate and fight to deliver concentrated, projected combat power ashore or execute the vast number of humanitarian missions we have the flexibility to support.

Having served on several different ship classes in my career, I could not ask to serve on a more powerful surface warship or with a better crew! As one of the Navy’s three 9/11 Memorial ships, the memory of Flight 93’s courage and sacrifice lives on, embodied by Somerset’s Sailors and embarked Marines. Somerset has 22 tons of steel from one of two mining excavators present at the crash site, which stood witness to the crash of Flight 93, and later where an American flag was flown by first responders during the recovery operation. That steel was melted down and incorporated into the bow stem of this ship during its construction. That piece of history and courage through adversity is now a part of the backbone of this ship, it cutting through the water for both this crew as we return from our maiden deployment and future crews who will serve aboard this ship.

SOUTH CHINA SEA (Nov. 10, 2016) Capt. Darren Glaser, commanding officer of the amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25), and Lt. Col. Matthew Lundgren, commanding officer of Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (11th MEU), salute during a ceremony for the 241st birthday of the Marine Corps aboard Somerset.
SOUTH CHINA SEA (Nov. 10, 2016) Capt. Darren Glaser, commanding officer of the amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25), and Lt. Col. Matthew Lundgren, commanding officer of Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (11th MEU), salute during a ceremony for the 241st birthday of the Marine Corps aboard Somerset. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jacob I. Allison/Released)

Editor’s Note: Capt. Glaser’s service aboard Somerset began as this ship’s executive officer in October 2015 before assuming his current role as the ship’s third commanding officer.


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USS Somerset Shines on Maiden Deployment