Wishing the Men and Women of Naval Aviation Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year

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By Rear Adm. Roy Kelley
Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic

I want to wish you and your families a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season. This is a very special time of year and I hope you are able to enjoy the holiday break and recharge from what has been an exciting year for naval aviation.

Seeing all that has been accomplished in 2017 illustrates to the world that our Navy continues to showcase durability and superiority. We wished fair winds and following seas to the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group as they deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) was awarded the Battle “E” in March for her superior performance and completed sea trials in late July, following an exceptionally executed planned incremental availability. The Navy commissioned our newest aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), which continues to surpass expectations each time she gets underway.

ATLANTIC OCEAN (July 28, 2017) An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 flies over 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 USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). The aircraft carrier was underway conducting test and evaluation operations.(U.S. Navy photo by Erik Hildebrandt/Released)

Our deploying air wings set operational records while bringing the fight to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Carrier Air Wings 3 and 8 flew a combined 13,247 sorties, delivered 3,110,000 pounds of ordnance, logged 64,268 flight hours and successfully completed 20,868 traps. These are truly staggering numbers that highlight the power and flexibility of naval aviation.

This year’s hurricane season tested our nation’s fortitude. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria devastated parts of the United States, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. These storms tested our ability to quickly respond to a humanitarian crisis. Within hours of receiving their orders, the Dusty Dogs of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 7 and the Dragon Whales of HSC-28 were ready to support relief efforts. Deployed to the front line of these disasters, they demonstrated the best of our humanity. In Texas alone, Navy aircrews completed 358 rescues, including 22 dogs and five cats. No matter where the storms hit, naval aviation performed superbly and served as a shining example of the Navy’s readiness and capability.

DOMINICA (Sept. 24, 2017) Naval Aircrewman (Helicopter) 2nd Class Andy Blessing "fist bumps" an evacuee on an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 22 (HSC-22), attached to the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1), during humanitarian aid operations on the island of Dominica following the landfall of Hurricane Maria. The Department of Defense was supporting 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 3rd Class Michael Molina/Released)
DOMINICA (Sept. 24, 2017) Naval Aircrewman (Helicopter) 2nd Class Andy Blessing “fist bumps” an evacuee on an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 22 (HSC-22), attached to the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1), during humanitarian aid operations on the island of Dominica following the landfall of Hurricane Maria. The Department of Defense was supporting 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 3rd Class Michael Molina/Released)

The success of our Navy has always stemmed from the valuable contributions of Sailors, civilians and contractors working together as a team. For all you have done to contribute to the successes of 2017, I want to say, “Thank you!” Our Navy family and mission depend on each and every one of you.

As we bring this year to a close, take time to enjoy this holiday season with your family and friends while reflecting on the many achievements you worked so hard to accomplish. Our great nation is safe and free because of your efforts and millions of Americans are grateful for your service and sacrifice. Happy holidays!


INDIAN OCEAN (Nov. 24, 2017) 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)


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Wishing the Men and Women of Naval Aviation Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year

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