Tripoli: Then and Now

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Tripoli: Then and Now

Bull Halsey: Right Navy Leader at Right Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Bull Halsey: Right Navy Leader at Right Time

Navy Comes to the Big Sky Country

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The first-ever Navy Week in Montana took place Aug. 14-20, coinciding with the Montana State Fair. Three cities, Billings, Bozeman and Helena, hosted events that drew thousands of local residents who interacted with Sailors who shared their knowledge, talent and professionalism.  Navy Weeks serve as our principal outreach effort into areas of the country without a significant Navy presence.  The program helps Americans understands that their Navy is deployed around the work, around the clock, ready to defense America at all times.


Rear Adm. Michael Holland, director of Maritime Headquarters at U.S. Pacific Fleet , meets with a Navy veteran at the Montana VA Medical Center during Montana Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jason Noble/Released)

Musician 2nd class Dan Webber, assigned to the U.S. Navy Band Northwest popular music group, Passage, performs at the St. John’s Summer Concert Series during Navy Week Montana. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James Vazquez/Released)

Sailors assigned to the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard Drill Team perform at the Montana Fair during Navy Week Montana. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James Vazquez/Released)

Builder 1st Class William Anderson, left, assigned to the Naval Construction Training Center, speaks with Jon Arneson, host of the radio show “Voices of Montana,” during Navy Week Montana 2017. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James Vazquez/Released)

Lt. Anthony Snuck, assigned to the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard Drill Team, interacts with local children during a community relations event at the Billings Montana Family YMCA as part of Navy Week Montana. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James Vazquez/Released)

Builder Second Class Clifford Simmons, assigned to Naval Construction Group (NCG) 2, studies the Wall That Heals, a traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, during Navy Week Montana 2017. (Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Mark Meredith/Released)

Lt. j.g. Jason Moyer, left, assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 3, teaches a local child how to maneuver an EOD robot during a community relations event at St. Vincent Hospital’s Pediatric Unit as part of Navy Week Montana. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James Vazquez/Released)

Sailors assigned to the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard perform at the Yellowstone Valley Farmers Market during Navy Week Mont. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James Vazquez/Released)

Lt. j.g. Jason Moyer, right, assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 3, teaches area children how to float at a community relations event at the Billings Montana Family YMCA during Navy Week Montana 2017. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James Vazquez/Released)

Have you ever attended a Navy Week event ?


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Right now your Navy is 100 percent on watch around the globe helping to preserve …

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Navy Comes to the Big Sky Country

Your Navy Operating Forward – Philippine Sea, Coral Sea, Arabian Gulf

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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.


ARABIAN GULF: Aviation Structural Mechanic (Equipment) Airman Hayden Ward directs an E-2D Hawkeye early warning and attach aircraft assigned to the “Bluetails” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 121 on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Weston A. Mohr/Released)

SANTA RITA, Guam: A Mark VI patrol boat assigned to Coastal Riverine Group (CRG) 1, Det. Guam, and operated by Coastal Riverine Squadron (CRS) 2, pulls alongside the littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) during a proof of concept exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kaleb R. Staples/Released)

PHILIPPINE SEA: A harpoon missile launches from the missile deck of the littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) off the coast of Guam. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kaleb R. Staples/Released)

ARABIAN GULF: Explosive ordinance disposal personnel participate in a fast-rope exercise with an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter, from the “Eightballers” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 8 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), Aug. 22, 2017, in the Arabian Gulf. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Weston A. Mohr/Released)

CORAL SEA: Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC) 10, assigned to the Naval Beach Unit (NBU) 7, approaches the well deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) during a certification exercise (CERTEX). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Cosmo Walrath/Released)

ARABIAN GULF: An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the “Eightballers” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 8 prepares to deliver ordnance to the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) during a replenishment-at-sea in the Arabian Gulf. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ian Kinkead/Released)

THEOULE-SUR-MER, France: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79) departs Theoule-sur-Mer, France. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ryan U. Kledzik/Released)

ARABIAN GULF: The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) transits the Arabian Gulf while deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Elesia K. Patten/Released)

CORAL SEA: Landing Craft Utility (LCU) 1651 departs the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) to transfer personnel to shore during a certification exercise (CERTEX). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class Alexandra Seeley/Released)

PHILIPPINE SEA: A MQ-8B Firescout unmanned aerial vehicle takes off from the flight deck of the littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kaleb R. Staples/Released)

ARABIAN GULF: A Sailor checks the cockpit of an F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to the “Black Knights” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 154 while an MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the “Wolf Pack” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 75 prepares to land aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) in the Arabian Gulf. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Leon Wong/Released)

CORAL SEA: Landing craft utility (LCU) 1666, assigned to Naval Beach Unit (NBU) 7, approaches the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) during well deck operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jeanette Mullinax/Released)

GUAM: Sailors assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 5 fast-rope from MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopters assigned to the “Island Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25 at Naval Base Guam. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Benjamin A. Lewis/Released)

ARABIAN GULF: An F/A-18C Hornet assigned to the “Death Rattlers” of Marine Strike Fighter Squadron (VMFA) 323 prepares to take off from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Elesia K. Patten/Released)

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Your Navy Operating Forward – Philippine Sea, Coral Sea, Arabian Gulf

Faces of the Fleet: U.S. Naval Academy Plebe Parents’ Weekend

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Starting college can be tough on students as well as their parents. Now, imagine saying goodbye before six weeks of a fast-paced, boot camp-style orientation that begins four years of preparing U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen to become commissioned naval officers.

This past weekend, parents and friends of the incoming freshmen – known as plebes at the academy – saw each other for the first time during Plebe Parents’ Weekend. As you can see, parents and friends can be shocked to see how much their loved ones changed during Plebe Summer, which challenged the new midshipmen to develop leadership ability, motivation, moral courage, teamwork and physical strength.

Thousands of family members and friends filled the grounds of the U.S. Naval Academy, Aug. 11, for Plebe Parents' Weekend. Plebe Parents' Weekend, August 10-13, provided an opportunity for parents to reunite with their plebes (freshmen) after an intensive six weeks of Plebe Summer training that paves the way to a midshipman's freshman year at USNA. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

Thousands of family members and friends filled the grounds of the U.S. Naval Academy, Aug. 11, for Plebe Parents' Weekend. Plebe Parents' Weekend, August 10-13, provided an opportunity for parents to reunite with their plebes (freshmen) after an intensive six weeks of Plebe Summer training that paves the way to a midshipman's freshman year at USNA. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

Thousands of family members and friends filled the grounds of the U.S. Naval Academy, Aug. 11, for Plebe Parents' Weekend. Plebe Parents' Weekend, August 10-13, provided an opportunity for parents to reunite with their plebes (freshmen) after an intensive six weeks of Plebe Summer training that paves the way to a midshipman's freshman year at USNA. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

Thousands of family members and friends filled the grounds of the U.S. Naval Academy, Aug. 11, for Plebe Parents' Weekend. Plebe Parents' Weekend, August 10-13, provided an opportunity for parents to reunite with their plebes (freshmen) after an intensive six weeks of Plebe Summer training that paves the way to a midshipman's freshman year at USNA. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

Thousands of family members and friends filled the grounds of the U.S. Naval Academy, Aug. 11, for Plebe Parents' Weekend. Plebe Parents' Weekend, August 10-13, provided an opportunity for parents to reunite with their plebes (freshmen) after an intensive six weeks of Plebe Summer training that paves the way to a midshipman's freshman year at USNA. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

Thousands of family members and friends filled the grounds of the U.S. Naval Academy, Aug. 11, for Plebe Parents' Weekend. Plebe Parents' Weekend, August 10-13, provided an opportunity for parents to reunite with their plebes (freshmen) after an intensive six weeks of Plebe Summer training that paves the way to a midshipman's freshman year at USNA. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

 


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Right now your Navy is 100 percent on watch around the globe helping to preserve …

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Faces of the Fleet: U.S. Naval Academy Plebe Parents’ Weekend

Your Navy Operating Forward – Sydney, Matsu Bay, Coral Sea

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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.


SYDNEY, Australia: The forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85) departs Sydney, Australia. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jeremy Graham/Released)

ARABIAN GULF: Master Sgt. Jay Alvarez, left, and Lance Cpl. Bryce Gibbs move ordnance aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) in the Arabian Gulf. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ian Kinkead/Released)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: The aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) transits the Mediterranean Sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Daniel Gaither/Released)

CORAL SEA: Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC) 21, assigned to Naval Beach Unit (NBU) 7, approaches the well deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) during Talisman Saber 17. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class William Sykes/Released)

MUTSU BAY, Japan: Mineman 1st Class Zachary Abel deploys a AN/SLQ-48 Mine Neutralization Vehicle during the 2JA 2017 Mine Countermeasures Exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class William McCann/Released)

ARABIAN GULF: An F/A-18F Super Hornet from the “Black Knights” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 154 launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) while another Super Hornet from the “Black Knights” and an EA-18G Growler from the “Gray Wolves” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 142 prepare to launch, July 29, 2017, in the Arabian Gulf. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Weston A. Mohr/Released)

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By Rear Adm. Roy Kelley Director, Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Fleet Integration Office As the …

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Your Navy Operating Forward – Sydney, Matsu Bay, Coral Sea

F-35C Integration into the Fleet

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By Rear Adm. Roy Kelley
Director, Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Fleet Integration Office

As the first director for the Navy’s F-35C Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Fleet Integration Office, I have enjoyed the opportunities and challenges of bringing fifth-generation strike-fighter capabilities to the fleet. As this highly advanced weapons system matures, I am convinced the F-35C will be a cornerstone platform that plays a crucial role in mission success for Carrier Air Wings (CVW), Carrier Strike Groups (CSG) and numbered fleets. The F-35C will be a game-changer for the Navy.

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Aug. 20, 2016) An F-35C Lightning II carrier variant, assigned to the Salty Dogs of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, flies above the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). VX-23 is conducting its third and final developmental test (DT-III) phase aboard George Washington in the Atlantic Ocean. The F-35C is expected to be fleet operational in 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Wyatt L. Anthony)
ATLANTIC OCEAN (Aug. 20, 2016) An F-35C Lightning II carrier variant, assigned to the Salty Dogs of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, flies above the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Wyatt L. Anthony)

The F-35C Lightning II will introduce next generation strike-fighter aircraft capabilities to the Navy CVW , enabling the CSG and numbered fleets to effectively engage and survive a wide range of rapidly evolving threats, both air and surface, in contested airspace.

The unique capabilities of the F-35C, coupled with the proven capabilities and capacity of current United States Navy fighter aircraft, significantly enhance a CSG’s battle space awareness, lethality and survivability. In supporting a principle Department of Defense investment objective of balancing modernization and readiness, the Navy remains committed to selecting the right procurement ramp for F-35C to balance strike-fighter inventory management with the cost and time required to field advanced capabilities. The Navy will maintain and sustain much of its current force in order to guarantee mission success against the threats of today, as well as the high-end threats of the future.

Near-peer adversaries are advancing technologically and economically, resulting in proliferation of highly capable Integrated Air Defense Systems, high performance aircraft and information operations to include:

  • Long-range air surveillance radars and airborne early warning aircraft
  • Long-range surface-to-air missiles
  • Highly maneuverable, low observable adversary aircraft
  • Jamming and anti-jamming operations against communication, radar and Global Positioning System satellites

Left unchecked, this threat proliferation will constrain the CSG’s ability to project power. As technologies continue to advance, the future air wing will continue to adapt as it always has, particularly to increase its capacity to contribute to the sea control mission, conducting both kinetic and non-kinetic operations. The F-35C will be the CSG’s first choice to penetrate and operate in these contested environments, providing a day-one strike capability. Integrated with other fleet assets, the F-35C’s tactical agility and strategic flexibility are critical to maintain a long-term decisive tactical advantage.

F-35C Lightning II carrier variants, assigned to the Salty Dogs of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, prepare to take off from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alora R. Blosch)
F-35C Lightning II carrier variants, assigned to the Salty Dogs of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, prepare to take off from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alora R. Blosch)

While the day one capability provided allows the F-35C to perform at the “tip of the spear,” its interoperability within the CVW and unique ability to support and augment already fielded legacy platforms is essential to sustaining the Navy’s combat lethality now and in the future. In the near term, legacy aircraft will continue to comprise the majority of the CVW. The CVW’s  inherent integrated capability design will enable the distribution of information collected by F-35Cs to enhance the effectiveness and survivability of all sea, air and land platforms throughout the battle space. The mix of both legacy and next generation aircraft operating from carrier flight decks provides the necessary complementary capability and capacity to pace the rapidly evolving threat…a formula which guarantees the CVW of the future remains lethal, survivable and able to accomplish the full spectrum of CSG and numbered fleet mission sets while providing an effective and affordable balance across the strike fighter inventory.

Four F-35C Lightning II joint strike fighters fly in formation over Naval Air Station Lemoore.
LEMOORE, Calif. (Jan. 25, 2017) Four F-35C Lightning II joint strike fighters fly in formation over Naval Air Station Lemoore. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Zachary Eshleman/Released)

The Navy expects to deploy the first operational F-35C squadron in 2021. Underpinning this deployment is the service declaration of Initial Operating Capability, which is based on providing a validated and verified combat capable aircraft prior to first deployment. The means to validate that capability is the successful demonstration of operational test in the 3F software configuration. The 3F configured F-35C provides warfighting capability to accomplish primary Navy missions to include: Attack, Close Air Support and Suppression and Destruction of Enemy Air Defense as well as Offensive and Defensive Counter Air.

Follow on modernization capabilities planned for the F-35C program will ensure that a CSG is able to consistently meet and defeat expected advanced threats now and well into the future. Follow on modernization will be implemented in order to continue to advance F-35C capability and improve lethality and survivability across all mission sets and enable operations in areas of increasingly sophisticated threats, leveraging intelligence assessment of the future battlespace.

For the CVW of the future to out-pace the rapidly evolving threat, it is critically important to ensure that F-35C capabilities are integrated and interoperable with existing ships and aircraft within the CSG and the numbered fleets.

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Aug. 20, 2016) Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Daniel Booth, from Manchester, New Hampshire, directs an F-35C Lightning II carrier variant, assigned to the Salty Dogs of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). VX-23 is conducting its third and final developmental test (DT-III) phase aboard George Washington in the Atlantic Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Clemente A. Lynch)
ATLANTIC OCEAN (Aug. 20, 2016) Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Daniel Booth, from Manchester, New Hampshire, directs an F-35C Lightning II carrier variant, assigned to the Salty Dogs of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Clemente A. Lynch)

Weapons integration, radar improvements, electronic warfare capabilities, interoperability, and real-time information sharing must continue to progress in order to guarantee mission success in the future high-end threat environment. The full integration of these capabilities within the CSG / CVW  team, combined with the F-35C’s ability to distribute this information across multiple platforms within the numbered fleets, is the cornerstone of how the future Navy will fight and win.

Recognizing Naval Aviation’s capability of today and the need for increased capability tomorrow, the Navy remains committed to pursuing the right procurement ramp for F-35C to balance inventory management, affordability and force modernization. A detailed asset allocation study determined that the most efficient and effective composition of strike fighters for the future CVW  is two squadrons of F-35C and two of F/A-18E/F. With 10 CVWs , the Navy’s objective is to attain 20 F-35C squadrons, two per CVW  by the early-2030s.  This strategy calls for the continued procurement of low rate initial production aircraft and the enhanced capabilities of Block 3F software, and eventually Block 4’s advanced capabilities. The Navy’s plan for full rate production optimizes the force for the introduction of next generation capabilities to the Navy in the near term, while allowing the fleet to build the community and work integration solutions.

A Navy CSG requires the speed, endurance, flexibility and ability to operate in hostile environments autonomously.

Four F-35C Lightning II joint strike fighters fly in formation over Naval Air Station Lemoore.
LEMOORE, Calif. (Jan. 25, 2017) Four F-35C Lightning II joint strike fighters fly in formation over Naval Air Station Lemoore. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Zachary Eshleman/Released)

The F-35C’s stealth characteristics, long-range combat identification and ability to penetrate threat envelopes, while fusing multiple information sources into a coherent picture, will enhance the role that the CSG and numbered fleets must play in support of our national interests. Ultimately, with the F-35C integrated and interoperable with the CVW, the CSG of the future will continue to be lethal, survivable and able to accomplish the entire spectrum of mission sets to include day one response to high end threats. The Navy remains dedicated to a capability focused approach as we evolve the CVW  and the CSG. The F-35C’s capability will provide decision superiority to the nation’s warfighters to ensure that if deterrence fails, the United States can conduct decisive combat operations to defeat any adversary.

I look forward to the day in the not-too-distant future when Lightning II is a common participant in training and deployed operations for the Navy. The F-35C will undoubtedly play a critical role in the integrated maritime force that we will depend on to execute Navy’s mission for decades to come.

Check out the F-35C in action below!


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F-35C Integration into the Fleet

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

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) Commissioning Ceremony

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Welcome to Navy Live blog coverage of the July 22 commissioning of the future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78).

Live video from Naval Station Norfolk, Va., is scheduled to begin 10 a.m. (EST).

President Donald J. Trump will deliver the ceremony’s principal address. Susan Ford Bales, Ford’s daughter, serves as the ship’s sponsor.

CVN-78 is the lead ship of the new Gerald R. Ford class of aircraft carrier, the first new class in more than 40 years and will begin the phased replacement of Nimitz-class carriers when the ship is commissioned. The Ford class incorporates advances in technology such as a new reactor plant, propulsion system, electric plant, Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS), Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG), machinery control, Dual Band Radar and integrated warfare systems. Compared to Nimitz-class carriers, the Gerald R. Ford-class carriers have more than 23 new or modified systems.

Lt. Cmdr. Gerald R. Ford, Photo Courtesy of Gerald Ford Presidential Library and Museum
Lt. Cmdr. Gerald R. Ford, Photo Courtesy of Gerald Ford Presidential Library and Museum

USS Gerald R. Ford honors the 38th president of the United States and pays tribute to his lifetime of service in the Navy, in the U.S. government and to the nation. During World War II, Ford attained the rank of lieutenant commander in the Navy, serving on the light carrier USS Monterey (CVL 26). Released from active duty in February 1946, Ford remained in the Naval Reserve until 1963. Ford was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1948, where he served until President Nixon tapped him to become Vice President in 1973. Ford became president in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal and served in the country’s highest office from 1974-1977.


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USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) Commissioning Ceremony

Team Navy Competes at 2017 DOD Warrior Games

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Welcome to Navy Live blog coverage of Team Navy at the 2017 Department of Defense Warrior Games in Chicago.

Team Navy is comprised of 36 Sailors and four Coast Guardsmen who are competing June 30 to July 8 against other military teams to compete for gold, silver and bronze medals in archery, cycling, field, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and wheelchair basketball.

This is first time the Navy has hosted the Games and is the first time they have been held in a public venue since the DoD became involved in hosting the Games in 2010.

Roster Sports Schedule

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6

Follow this blog throughout the Games for the latest on Team Navy.

Day 6 (July 6)

Cycling

Day 5 (July 5)

Field

Day 4 (July 3)

Archery

Day 3 (July 2)

Track

Day 2 (July 1)

Opening Ceremony

Warrior Games Opening Ceremony

It’s time for the 2017 Warrior Games in Chicago opening ceremony with Jon Stewart. 39 Sailors are participating in the Paralympic-style completion for wounded, ill and injured service members in Chicago. Go Navy!

Posted by U.S. Navy on Saturday, July 1, 2017

CHICAGO (July 1, 2017) Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson and his wife Dana Richardson cheer during the Department of Defense (DoD) Warrior Games’ opening ceremony at Soldier Field in Chicago. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Chief Elliott Fabrizio/Released)
CHICAGO (July 1, 2017) Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson and his wife Dana Richardson cheer during the Department of Defense (DoD) Warrior Games’ opening ceremony at Soldier Field in Chicago. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Chief Elliott Fabrizio/Released)

Sitting Volleyball

LIVE NOW: Team Navy competing against United States Air Force in sitting volleyball at Warrior Games, a Paralympic-style competition, against other military branches, the United Kingdom and Australia for wounded, ill and injured service members. Go Navy!

Posted by U.S. Navy on Saturday, July 1, 2017

Rifle

Day 1 (June 30)

Team Navy Kicks Off 2017 Warrior Games

Warrior Games Day 1

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Warrior Games got underway today in Chicago.Watch for a look at Team Navy’s competition in shooting, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball on Day 1.

Posted by U.S. Navy on Friday, June 30, 2017

Team Navy kicked off the annual Department of Defense Warrior Games June 30 in Chicago, Illinois, with competition in shooting, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball.

Read more on Navy.mil

Archery

Shooting

Wheelchair Basketball

About Navy Wounded Warrior – Safe Harbor Adaptive Sports and Recreation Program

The mission of the Navy Wounded Warrior – Safe Harbor Adaptive Sports and Recreation Program is to deliver year-round competitive and recreation opportunities for wounded, ill or seriously injured Sailors and Coast Guardsmen. Adaptive sports — athletic activities that are modified to meet the abilities of injured or ill individuals — are essential to the recuperation of our wounded warriors. All enrollees in Navy Wounded Warrior – Safe Harbor are encouraged to make athletics a key component of their recovery and rehabilitation plans. The proven and lasting benefits of adaptive sports and reconditioning activities include higher self-esteem, lower stress levels and fewer secondary medical conditions.

Navy Wounded Warrior – Safe Harbor hosts a series of adaptive athletic reconditioning camps, provides information relative to recreational opportunities and facilitates enrollees’ participation in the annual Department of Defense Warrior Games. Non-medical care managers and recovery care coordinators, along with the transition coordinators, are encouraged to brief all recovering and transitioning service members about adaptive sports opportunities.

Once registered for the sports program, Sailors and Coast Guardsmen are provided with information on all athletic opportunities, including the annual trials where athletes can compete for a spot on Team Navy in the DoD Warrior Games. Participants in the trials include active-duty service members and veterans with upper-body, lower-body and spinal cord injuries; serious illnesses; traumatic brain injuries; amputations; visual impairment; and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Athletes possessing professionalism, team spirit and the best qualifying times and/or scores are selected to compete on Team Navy in the DoD Warrior Games. The DoD Warrior Games represent the culmination of participation in structured adaptive sports and reconditioning activities of wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans throughout their recovery by encouraging participation in physical and cognitive activities, inspiring physical fitness, mental strength and peer support, and encouraging new opportunities for growth and achievement.


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Team Navy Competes at 2017 DOD Warrior Games