Grateful for our Airmen

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By Tech. Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr. Air Force Social Media

Unofficially Thanksgiving is the kickoff to the season of gratitude and thankfulness expressed during the holidays. The Air Force social media team would like to say that we are grateful for the opportunity to highlight and share the stories of our most valuable assets in the Air Force’s inventory. That’s our Airmen! We would like to take a moment to express our thankfulness to the Airmen for all your hard work supporting the mission of the Air Force, to fly, fight, and win; in air, space, and cyberspace. You continue to demonstrate with confidence our Air Force core values: Integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all you do.

The First Sergeants Council made 125 Thanksgiving baskets Nov. 20, 2015, inside the Chapel Activity Center on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., for Airmen selected by the first sergeants around base. After making the baskets, the first sergeants delivered them to the Airmen while they worked. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brandon Valle/Released)
The First Sergeants Council made 125 Thanksgiving baskets Nov. 20, 2015, inside the Chapel Activity Center on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., for Airmen selected by the first sergeants around base. After making the baskets, the first sergeants delivered them to the Airmen while they worked. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brandon Valle/Released)
Airman 1st Class Natalie Corona, 99th Force Support Squadron food service apprentice, prepares garlic bread to be served for dinner at the Crosswinds Dining Facility on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Nov. 18.  The Crosswinds DFAC will be serving Thanksgiving meals to Airmen and Department of Defense ID cardholders on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mikaley Kline/Released)
Airman 1st Class Natalie Corona, 99th Force Support Squadron food service apprentice, prepares garlic bread to be served for dinner at the Crosswinds Dining Facility on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Nov. 18. The Crosswinds DFAC will be serving Thanksgiving meals to Airmen and Department of Defense ID cardholders on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mikaley Kline/Released)
Senior noncommissioned officers and officers serve food to Airmen during the 2013 Thanksgiving luncheon at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. (U.S. Air Force photos/Airman 1st Class Sandra Marrero/Released)
Senior noncommissioned officers and officers serve food to Airmen during the 2013 Thanksgiving luncheon at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. (U.S. Air Force photos/Airman 1st Class Sandra Marrero/Released)
Desserts and breads line a table during the annual Thanksgiving meal Nov. 27, 2014, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. The base dining facility staff prepared Thanksgiving meals more than 9,000 servicemembers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kia Atkins/Released)
Desserts and breads line a table during the annual Thanksgiving meal Nov. 27, 2014, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. The base dining facility staff prepared Thanksgiving meals more than 9,000 servicemembers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kia Atkins/Released)

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Grateful for our Airmen

Teen Techie, MLB Pitcher Get to the Root of Cyberbullying

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By Katie Lange
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

Cyberbullying is a serious problem thanks to the Internet, social media and anonymity. Which means you should probably not be naïve enough to think your kid hasn’t been exposed to it in some way.

Educators pay close attention to cyberbullying experts at the Military Child Education Coalition's 17th National Training Seminar. DoD photo by Marvin Lynchard

Educators pay close attention to cyberbullying experts at the Military Child Education Coalition’s 17th National Training Seminar. DoD photo by Marvin Lynchard

That was the message at a recent Military Child Education Coalition seminar that featured three very different people who all took action against cyberbullying – lawyer Ken Linzer, former MLB All-Star pitcher Curt Schilling and 15-year-old Trish Prabhu.

You might assume that a 15-year-old was there to discuss her first-hand experiences with cyberbullying, but that wasn’t Prabhu’s case. After hearing about the suicide of an 11-year-old Florida girl a few years ago, she realized current cyberbullying solutions weren’t cutting it. At 14, she created ReThink – anti-bully software that gets to the root of the problem.

As the panel’s moderator said, it’s kind of like spell check with a conscience.

“It’s able to detect when someone tries to post something offensive on social media and then alert them and go, ‘Hold on. Are you sure you want to post that? It could be offensive,’” Prabhu explained. “Then we just give them a simple choice: Do you still want to post it? Because you can. Or do you want to go back and edit your message?”

Prabhu said in a trial involving 1,500 adolescents, 93 percent of kids changed their minds about posting a potentially offensive message when given an extra five seconds to think about it.

“If you’re able to stop the cyberbullying before the posts even go out, you’re not only helping the victim. You’re helping the cyberbully build valuable skills they’ll use on and off social media,” Prabhu said.

Trisha Prabhu, 15, talks about her experiences with cyberbulling and how she's made a difference during the Military Child Education Coalition's 17th National Training Seminar in Washington, D.C.  DoD photo by Marvin Lynchard

Trisha Prabhu, 15, talks about her experiences with cyberbulling and how she’s made a difference during the Military Child Education Coalition’s 17th National Training Seminar in Washington, D.C. DoD photo by Marvin Lynchard

More of her research showed these stats:

  • 52 percent of U.S. adolescents reported being cyberbullied
  • Many involved in the study said they were too afraid to report it, which made the stat, realistically, more like 70-75 percent
  • 93 percent admitted to having seen some type of cyberbullying on social media
  • Only 4 percent of bystanders who have witnessed cyberbullying have spoken out against it

The other speakers at the event were also able to use their experiences to pass parents some useful knowledge. Linzer spent six months prosecuting a cyberbullying case, and Schilling – a three-time World Series winner – dealt with high-profile cyberbullying attacks on his daughter via social media.

Here are some of the important things they said you need to know:

*Kids should talk to their parents about being bullied, but most won’t.

According to Prabhu’s research, 90 percent of kids don’t tell their parents, mainly because it’s embarrassing and likely about something they might have done that mom and dad don’t know about.

*Parents need to be up on what their kids are doing online.

“That’s the new street corner. That’s the park. That’s where the kids hang out,” Schilling said.

Since kids aren’t talking to their parents, parents MUST start the conversation, however awkward it may be. Linzer said to give kids real-world examples of how cyberbullying affects them.

During the annual MCEC seminar, former MLB All-Star pitcher Curt Schilling discusses how his daughter was cyberbullied on social media. DoD photo by Marvin Lynchard

During the annual MCEC seminar, former MLB All-Star pitcher Curt Schilling discusses how his daughter was cyberbullied on social media. DoD photo by Marvin Lynchard

“Involve yourself in their videogaming activities, their social media. Even if they push you away, explain that actions have consequences, that they know you love them, and share a story or two,” he said.

Don’t think they’re NOT being exposed to bad influences and negativity.

“They’re going to make bad decisions and do dumb things,” Schilling said. “Making mistakes is part of life. Ruining other people’s lives isn’t.”

*Anonymity is a big part of the problem. 

Many bullies hide behind this. There are even websites to help send anonymous messages.

Anonymity is also used to dupe naïve kids. Schilling used his teenage son, who is on the autism spectrum and is comfortable on the Internet, as an example.

“He doesn’t grasp the concept that the 15-year-old girl who’s really interested in meeting him is a 40-year-old sex offender in L.A.,” the former pitcher said.

*Blocking cyberbullies doesn’t work.

“We’re making the victim block the cyberbully. We’re putting the burden on them instead of actually attacking the problem at the source, which is the bully,” Prabhu said. “Also, victims are embarrassed. They feel alone. They don’t want to have to block a cyberbully – that’s embarrassing.”

Cyberbullies can also just create another profile or page, and they’re right back at it.

*At the end of the day, the solutions start at home.

Schilling grew up a self-proclaimed military brat.

“I grew up the son of a man who knew the things that the military teaches young men – discipline, respect, honor, integrity, leadership,” he said. “I knew the difference between right and wrong when I was 12 years old. Everybody does. But it doesn’t mean I didn’t say stupid stuff.”

He said his dad instilled in him self-worth and good values, which helped.

“I tell my kids, ‘Do not ever let the opinion of someone you don’t know change who you are.’”

For more resources on cyberbullying, check out Stopbullying.gov.

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Disclaimer: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense of this website or the information, products or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities such as military exchanges and Morale, Welfare and Recreation sites, the Department of Defense does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this DOD website.

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Teen Techie, MLB Pitcher Get to the Root of Cyberbullying

The Road to Recovery

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By Retired Master Sgt. Daniel Waugh

Archery
Retired Air Force Master Sgt. Daniel Waugh, draws his bow back during training for the 2015 Department of Defense Warrior Games being held at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. , June 19-28, 2015. Waugh is competing in shooting and archery in this year’s games. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Carlin Leslie/Released)

My story began in 2006 the day after Christmas while I was on my third deployment to Iraq as a tactical air control party Airman. My team and I were on patrol in Sadr City, Iraq, completing a blocking operation for a special operations team that was on a mission.

As we provided protection for the special operations team, there was a blast from a rocket propelled grenade launcher that hit my vehicle and knocked me out of the turret. We all were fine, but while my team was EXFIL-ing (removing personnel from a hostile environment), we were hit again. Next thing I know, I woke up and was lying on the ground. I have never really spoken about this.

One of the guys in my truck was killed. My driver lost his leg, and I woke up fine.

So I thought.

After the deployment, I came home and enjoyed life for five months before I was tasked to deploy again. Little did I understand the injuries I had suffered. I sustained a brain injury and a broken back, and I blew out my right ear drum, which left me with significant balance issues (not allowing me to run anymore or walk quickly).

Through a friend of a friend, I was able to meet athletes from the Wounded Warrior Program. I always knew there was a program specifically for wounded warriors, but I never knew the full extent of the adaptive sports program. So I went to see what this was all about.

I thought I had recovered; I thought I was resilient. I mean, I went back to a war zone three times after getting blown up. I thought nothing could faze me.

In February 2015, I went to an Air Force Wounded Warrior camp known as ”Trials,” three months after having back surgery. On day one, I wanted go home as I decided this wasn’t for me.

Although I wanted to leave, I stuck it out for two days, and I made the team. However, I started to realize I hadn’t recovered. It had been eight years since getting injured, and I never knew that I was still struggling with things. Slowly, I eventually began to open up to people on the team. This is when my healing process began.

Robin Hood
Retired Air Force Master Sgt. Daniel Waugh, celebrates hitting a “Robin Hood” during his archery practice at the 2015 Department of Defense Warrior Games being held at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. , June 19-28, 2015. A “Robin Hood” is when the archer hits another arrow of theirs dead on into the end of the arrow on the target. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Carlin Leslie/Released)

Because I made the team, I was able to work and meet additional athletes at a training camp held at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, in preparation for the Warrior Games. This is when I met the amazing people of the Air Force Wounded Warrior Adaptive Sports Program. This is when it clicked.

There are pillars of resiliency, and socially I wasn’t there. I had dealt physically, mentally, spiritually, etc., but socially, I had shut out the Air Force. I began to open up more socially in the Air Force and speak to the other members of the wounded warrior team. I started to hear their stories and get to actually know the other people, realizing I wasn’t alone. That is when I realized how great the Wounded Warrior Program is, and I began to put myself back together.

Now I am here today getting ready to compete in the Warrior Games, and I’m still progressing in my healing process.

It has been a long road to get here. I know everyone has his or her own struggles and road to travel. There are people in different stages; it can take years to really feel like you are there. But I am here, and I didn’t think I was going to be here. But I am happy that I am.

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The Road to Recovery

Soldier of Valor

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Photo: U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ty Carter, assigned to White Platoon fire team, 8-1 Cavalry, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, provides overwatch on a road near Dahla Dam, Afghanistan, July 2012. (U.S Army photo/Photo Illuststration by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Bryan Niegel/Released)

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ty Carter, assigned to White Platoon fire team, 8-1 Cavalry, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, provides overwatch on a road near Dahla Dam, Afghanistan, July 2012. (U.S Army photo/Photo Illuststration by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Bryan Niegel/Released)

Story by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. David Chapman

The room hummed with the steady clicks of camera shutters as Staff Sgt. Ty Michael Carter and his wife, Shannon, were the center of attention during a press conference at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., July 29.

Carter will receive the Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama during a ceremony at the White House, Aug. 26, for his courageous actions while deployed to the Nuristan Province, Afghanistan, in October 2009. He was a cavalry scout assigned to 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, out of Fort Carson, Colo., during his first of two deployments to Afghanistan.

Photo: U.S. Army Spc. Ty Carter, front, and Army Staff Sgt. Jimmy Justice, a section leader, sight in their M14 sniper rifles at the Observation Point Fritsche helicopter landing zone in Afghanistan, June 2009. The Soldiers wanted to collect data on how their bullets traveled at that particular altitude. (U.S. Army photo/Released)

U.S. Army Spc. Ty Carter, front, and Army Staff Sgt. Jimmy Justice, a section leader, sight in their M14 sniper rifles at the Observation Point Fritsche helicopter landing zone in Afghanistan, June 2009. The Soldiers wanted to collect data on how their bullets traveled at that particular altitude. (U.S. Army photo/Released)

On Oct. 3, 2009, more than 400 anti-Afghan forces attempted to take over Combat Outpost Keating. Carter, who was a specialist at the time, and his fellow Soldiers defended the small combat outpost against rocket-propelled grenades and heavy weapons fire coming from the surrounding hills. Of the 54 members who defended the position, eight Soldiers were killed and more than 25 were injured.

“A long time ago I told myself that if I was ever placed in a combat situation, that I wouldn’t let fear make my choices for me,” said Carter, during the press conference. “Inside, all I thought about was supporting the men in that position. When Mace was down it was hard to think about anything else but doing what I could to get to him.”

During the more than six-hour battle, Carter found himself resupplying Soldiers with ammunition, providing first aid, killing enemy combatants and risking his own life to save that of his fellow Soldier, Spc. Stephan L. Mace, who was wounded and pinned down under enemy fire, according to Carter’s award narrative.

While being recommended for the Medal of Honor was a surprise, Carter shared that receiving this medal was the last thing on his mind after he redeployed.

Photo: Army Sgt. Ty Carter pauses for a final photo with his wife, Shannon, before deploying from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., May 2012, with A Troop, 8-1 Cavalry, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. (Carter Family courtesy photo)

Army Sgt. Ty Carter pauses for a final photo with his wife, Shannon, before deploying from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., May 2012, with A Troop, 8-1 Cavalry, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. (Carter Family courtesy photo)

“I was going through some difficulties then and I was so concerned about the men we lost and friends that it didn’t even faze me,” said Carter, a native of Antioch, Calif. “I don’t want to put down the Medal of Honor and what it means, but when you have lost family, it’s not what you are thinking about. I just felt loss.”

Carter hopes that while being in the spotlight as a Medal of Honor recipient, he will also focus on post-traumatic stress, and bring more awareness to those who struggle with it daily.

Carter, who is currently assigned to the Secretary to the General Staff, 7th Infantry Division, concluded the conference saying that he was very nervous to go to the White House but meeting the commander in chief will truly be an honor.

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Disclaimer: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense of this website or the information, products or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities such as military exchanges and Morale, Welfare and Recreation sites, the Department of Defense does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this DoD website.

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Soldier of Valor

Diving with Sharks

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Shark-Panel-croppedIn honor of Shark Week, we’ve compiled some interesting facts about the Defense Department’s ties to sharks.

Fact #2:

Navy divers spend some of their time getting into SHARK tanks in aquariums around the country…on purpose! The Navy’s community relations efforts send sailors out into communities that don’t have a large Navy presence so that those communities can understand what their country’s sea service can and does do every day. This type of public engagement – including diving into shark tanks at your local aquarium – is crucial to engendering trust and confidence with our fellow Americans in their all volunteer force.

Want to know more about Navy divers? Here is their job description from the Navy:

As a Navy Diver, you will be part of an extraordinary brotherhood. You will journey anywhere from the darkest depths of the world’s oceans to freezing arctic-like conditions underneath icebergs. Accomplishing a number of tasks only few can perform. All with the focus to achieve.

In this role you can expect to:

  • Perform a variety of diving salvage operations and special diving duties worldwide
  • Take part in construction and demolition projects
  • Execute search and rescue missions
  • Support military and civilian law enforcement agencies
  • Serve as the technical experts for diving evolutions for numerous military Special Operations units
  • Provide security, communications and other logistics during Expeditionary Warfare missions
  • Carry out routine ship maintenance, including restoration and repair

Your strength and determination will prove you are anything but a typical diver.

Editor’s Note: “Dive in shark tanks” has been submitted as a revision to this job description via the U.S. Navy.

Have you seen a Navy diver in a tank near you? Share your story in the comments section below!

Today’s photos all come to us with the same caption:
Navy Master Chief Diver Joe Howard answers questions from the crowd while “swimming” with the sharks at the Newport, Ky., Aquarium, Sept. 1, 2011, during Cincinnati Navy Week 2011.  (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Davis Anderson/Released)

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Diving with Sharks

Worth A Thousand Words: Red Warrior

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Photo: Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Carver, assigned to Oregon Army National Guard’s, Bravo Company, Recruiting and Retention Battalion, emerges from a red plume of smoke, during an urban assault challenge, while competing in the nation best warrior competition, July 24, 2013 in Little Rock, AR. (U.S. National Guard photo by Sgt. Betty Boyce/Released)

Army Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Carver, assigned to Bravo Company, Recruiting and Retention Battalion, Oregon Army National Guard, emerges from a red plume of smoke during an urban assault challenge while competing in the 2013 Army National Guard’s Best Warrior Competition on Camp Joseph T. Robinson, Ark., July 24, 2013. (U.S. National Guard photo by Sgt. Betty Boyce/Released)

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Worth A Thousand Words: Red Warrior

Locks of Love

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A few years ago, a college friend of mine had mentioned that she wanted to donate her hair to Locks of Love. I had never heard of it before, so I decided to look it up. Basically, the organization takes donated hair and turns it into wigs for needy children who have lost their own hair. Excellent idea!

Now, it does take quite a long time for hair to grow long. So, donating all of your hair to the organization is most certainly a good cause. One particular Army Captain is doing just that.

It takes years for hair to grow long, but only a few seconds to remove it. Army Sergeant Rebecca Schwab tells us about one Army Captain who’s giving it all up for a good cause.

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Locks of Love

Summer Safety

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Story by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Bryan Niegel, Defense Media Activity

Summertime: my favorite time of the year!!! The time of the year when you can hang out with friends and family outside grilling food and sipping on your favorite ice cold beverage. To me, summertime means a lot of things: toes in the sand, the bright warm sun, pools and beaches.

Additionally, summertime is the time of the year when all the branches in the U.S. military give their safety briefs. If you have never had the pleasure, they are everything you could imagine. It’s typical meeting where someone is standing in front of you lecturing you (usually with a power point in the background) about what you should and shouldn’t do during your leisure time.

 

Photo: Walter Fulton, a contract safety instructor trainer with Cape Fox Professional Services, discusses summer driving safety at the Naval District Washington summer safety stand down at the Washington Navy Yard on May 22, 2013. (U.S. Navy photo by Patrick Gordon/Released)

Walter Fulton, a contract safety instructor trainer with Cape Fox Professional Services, discusses summer driving safety at the Naval District Washington summer safety stand down at the Washington Navy Yard on May 22, 2013. (U.S. Navy photo by Patrick Gordon/Released)

Earlier in my service as a young sailor I used to dread these lectures and wondered why we had to attend them. Most of them were so boring it would be hard to stay awake through the entire brief. As time has went on in my career I have learned that the regulations and guidance you get in the military has sadly been written in blood.

Summer time is a heightened time of year for injuries and even deaths. Service members spend more time outside and in the water participating in activities from sitting on a beach in the sun to taking personal watercraft or motorcycle for a joy ride. These activities greaten the risk of service members of injuring themselves or even becoming a casualty.

To help try to avoid these injuries each service has adapted their own way of getting the message out to play safe.

The Army seems to be ahead of the curve on this…for once (just kidding soldiers, I love all my fellow service members and their associated branches). It seems like they are trying to make this training more enjoyable by implementing games and interactive online videos with informative messages embedded to appeal to the younger (and even some older, mine included) generations love of video games. In the name of research (wink) I tested them all out myself and they’re actually not bad. One even emulated and old favorite of mine (can you guess which one?).

The Navy and Marines are keeping it simple with the standard power points and safety videos.

Air force has a program called The Critical Days of Summer which has a week by week rundown on training for 14 weeks with useful links for more information.

All of the services have a similar message. They want service members to have a good time and enjoy your time off of work, but in a safe manner while still maintaining their core values.

You can view more DoD Summer Safety videos here

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Disclaimer: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense of this website or the information, products or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities such as military exchanges and Morale, Welfare and Recreation sites, the Department of Defense does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this DoD website.

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Summer Safety

Worth A Thousand Words: I Got Your Back

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Photo: Sailors prepare to attach pallets to an SH-60B Seahawk helicopter assigned to the “Island Knights” of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 49 during a vertical replenishment on the flight deck of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88) on July 7, 2013. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Paul Kelly/ Released)

Sailors prepare to attach pallets to an SH-60B Seahawk helicopter assigned to the “Island Knights” of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 49 during a vertical replenishment on the flight deck of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88) on July 7, 2013. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Paul Kelly/Released)

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Worth A Thousand Words: I Got Your Back