Reno / Carson City Hosts Navy Week

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Coinciding with the Reno Rodeo, the sixth Navy Week celebration of 2018 hosted Sailors in Reno and Carson City, Nevada, June 18-24.  The primary purpose of the Navy Week program is to increase Navy awareness by presenting the Navy to Americans who live in cities that normally do not have a significant naval presence.  Both residents and Sailors interacted in a series of community outreach events providing the opportunity to meet Sailors firsthand with a visible awareness the mission, capabilities and importance of the U.S. Navy.


The 32nd Street Brass Band entertains fans heading into the Reno Aces Ballpark as a part of Navy Week Reno/Carson City. (U.S. Navy photo by Musician 2nd Class Nina Church/Released)

Dr. Joe McConnell of the Desert Research Institute talks to Sailors and civilians from the U.S. Navy Meteorology and Oceanography Command (METOC) about drilling for ice core samples to study the impact of humans on the environment. METOC is one of the many units in Reno for Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Christopher Hanson/Released)

Chief Explosive Ordnance Disposal Matt Ludwig, assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group (EODGRU) 1, helps a child try on equipment from EODGRU-1 at Sparks Library in support of Reno/Carson City Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Abigayle Lutz/Released)

Navy Diver 2nd Class Keoni Chiles, from Volcano, Hawaii, listens to Harold Hilts, a Navy veteran at Renown Health’s Monaco Ridge during Reno/Carson City Navy Week. Hilts served on the USS Hornet (CV-12) as the rear radio operator on a Douglass SDB Dauntless dive bomber during World War II. He participated in several renowned campaigns, including the battle of Okinawa and the sinking of the Imperial Japanese Navy Battleship Yamato. Chiles, part of Southwestern Regional Maintenance Center out of San Diego, was one of many Sailors in town for Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Christopher Hanson/Released)

Aerographer’s Mate 1st Class Brett Myers, assigned to Fleet Weather Center-San Diego, joins chief meteorologist Mike Alger on KTVN Channel 2 News as part of Reno/Carson City Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Christopher Hanson/Released)

Chief Explosive Ordnance Disposal Matt Ludwig, assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 1, explains how to operate an iRobot 310 Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle at the Donald L. Carano Youth and Teen Facility in support of Reno/Carson City Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Abigayle Lutz/Released)

The U.S. Navy Band Southwest ensemble, 32nd Street Brass Band, performs at the weekly Feed the Camel hump day food truck bazaar. (U.S. Navy Photo by Musician Second Class Nina Church/Released)

Would you attend a Navy Week celebration near you ?


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Reno / Carson City Hosts Navy Week

New Mark VI Patrol Boat Command Opportunities: Q&A

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From Navy Expeditionary Combat Command Public Affairs

Last year, U.S. Navy Surface Warfare Officers (SWOs) learned of two new and exciting opportunities in the Coastal Riverine Force. Junior SWOs on track to successfully complete their second division officer tours were notified of the opportunity to screen for command-at-sea billets serving in one of the Navy’s newest platforms, the Mark VI Patrol Boat. Following in the footsteps of the PT boats of World War II and the Riverines in Vietnam, SWOs now have a cutting edge platform and new opportunities for small unit leadership. Additionally, department heads requesting to screen for command early were notified of an opportunity to be slated to serve as a Mark VI company commander, commanding three of the boats. Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) Public Affairs Officer Cmdr. Cate Cook recently sat down with Capt. Stan Chien, commander, Coastal Riverine Group 1, and Lt. Cmdr. Tim Yuhas, the second tour department head and early command SWO detailer at Navy Personnel Command, to learn more about this opportunity in the Coastal Riverine Force.

Q1. Tell us more about this new opportunity and how it came to be.
A1. (Yuhas) In August of last year, Commander Naval Surface Forces announced the first opportunity for post-division officers and post-department heads to screen for command-at-sea billets as Mark VI Patrol Boat commanding officers and company commanders. These billets add to our early command inventory of Patrol Coastal Ships (PCs) and Mine Countermeasure Ships (MCMs) located around the World. The surface warfare community values command at sea – it’s the pinnacle of leadership – and for a talented group of board-screened junior officers they get to command as early as year five of commissioned service. Mark VI Companies are located in Little Creek, Virginia, and San Diego and deploy forward to the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet Areas of Responsibility. The Mark VI Patrol Boat commanding officer (lieutenant command) will have a crew of 11 people and be responsible for operating the 84-foot craft. The company commander (lieutenant commander command) will deploy with their three craft and provide operational command and control of the Mark VI as well as provide administrative and materiel support. They can expect to get underway with their company for one to three day patrols as the boats expand the operational reach of the Mark VI.

(Chien) The command position was created because operation of the Mark VI requires dedicated, resourceful leadership to safely maintain and fight these advanced patrol craft. The Mark VI is transforming the Coastal Riverine Force through extended reach and increased combat power. Currently junior officers that are part of the Mark VI crews are very capable of operating the platform, but the command position was created to attract the top performers of the surface community needed to seize the initiative and lead the Mark VI program through the maturation process required to fully integrate into the Chief of Naval Operations’ (CNO) Maritime Design.


IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. (February 2, 2018) Capt. Stan Chien, commander of Coastal Riverine Group (CRG) 1, speaks during a change of command ceremony held onboard Naval Outlying Landing Field Imperial Beach Feb. 8. The Coastal Riverine Force provides a core capability to defend designated high value assets throughout the green and blue-water environment and provides deployable adaptive force packages worldwide in integrated, joint and combined theaters of operations (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Boatswain’s Mate Nelson Doromal/Released)

Q2. Who is eligible?
A2. (Yuhas) This is a tremendous and rewarding opportunity that is open to the best and most fully qualified officers. The screening for lieutenant commander command (Mark VI company commander, PCs, and MCMs) remains unchanged – in fact, the screening board does not define who is screened to which assignment; slating is a function of the officer’s timing, preferences and needs of the Navy.
Division officers who wish to apply for Mark VI Patrol Boat commanding officers must meet the following requirements:
a) Attain formal designation letter as a SWO
b) Serve at least 36 months in a ship
c) Complete at least one deployment
d) Complete Basic Division Officer Course
e) Complete Advanced Division Officer Course (nuclear-qualified officers exempt)
f) Earn their Engineering Officer of the Watch qualification
g) Demonstrate sustained skills in shiphandling and seamanship while assigned to their ship
h) Screen for department head
i) Complete the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command screening

Q3. Some SWOs are unfamiliar with the Mark VI. What can you tell us about this platform?
A3. (Chien) Mark VI patrol boats are the newest platform in Navy Expeditionary Combat Command’s inventory. Eighty-four ft. in length, the Mark VI is a highly capable platform whose primary mission is to provide capability to persistently patrol littoral areas beyond sheltered harbors and bays for the purpose of force protection for friendly and coalition forces and critical infrastructure. Missions include security force assistance, high value unit shipping escort, visit board search and seizure support operations, and theater security cooperation. Crew sizes are small at maximum of 12 personnel, affording an opportunity at small unit leadership not found elsewhere in the Surface Warfare community, coupled with a strong sense of camaraderie. The crew consists of two full watch teams, each with a patrol officer, boat captain, coxswain, engineer/gunner, navigator and communicator/gunner.

Q4. When looking at what might be called the “traditional” career track of a SWO, the opportunity to command a Mark VI comes after a SWO’s second division officer tour at sea – a time when many SWOs are assigned a shore tour. What would you say to an officer who is hesitant to follow their second division officer tour with another tour at sea?
A4. (Chien) This new opportunity is not going to be for everyone – but if you are someone who thrives at sea and in leadership positions, we would consider it a privilege to have you join our team in the Coastal Riverine Force. The platform provides a unique opportunity to experience a small, tight knit community that integrates with other Navy units such as Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD). Your experience in the “blue water” fleet will contribute significantly to the design of future mission sets realizing the full capability of these outstanding boats.

(Yuhas) Every situation is different – as such, Division Officers approaching the end of their 2nd DIVO tour need to assess their personal and professional goals. From the professional standpoint – you are correct – one can expect to leave their 2nd DIVO tour – spend approximately six months in their training pipeline before reporting to their craft. They will go through workups and should expect to have two deployments over the two year window they will be in Command. Our community has always valued “WUK” – water under the keel – there’s only one way to get WUK and that is at sea! I had a great friend and phenomenal SWO once say to me “Experience comes only after you need it” and it is the truth! You must build your experience base to become – more experienced! Why wouldn’t you want to start that as early as possible? By putting your name in the hat and being screened for early command – whether that is lieutenant or lieutenant commander command – you’ve signaled your intent and so has the Navy by trusting in you to lead our future. As that leader you will ensure our combat readiness and the solemn stewardship of our nation’s most prized possession – its sons and daughters. Who wouldn’t be humbled and honored by such an opportunity?

Q5. What are the professional and personal benefits of requesting to screen for Mark VI Patrol Boat Command? Will this tour make SWOs more competitive than their peers when it comes to future screening and promotion boards?
A5. (Chien) As any SWO knows, look for opportunities to lead early and often if you want to break out from the pack. The Mark VI Patrol Boat commanding officer tours are going to be extremely challenging but rewarding – there is no better place to hone your leadership and shiphandling skills while leading a dedicated team of Sailors than in the Coastal Riverine Force on one of the Navy’s newest platforms. The Surface community has generally rewarded those officers who command early with additional opportunities at the O-5 and O-6 level… and we expect to see the same thing for our Mark VI early command officers.

(Yuhas) When it comes to future promotion and screening boards, PERS-41 is working to ensure precepts are updated to clearly articulate to a board the value of Mark VI Command. We believe that an officer who has been screened by community leadership and successfully completes Command will be very competitive at any screening board. Further it’s worth noting that in a case where an officer screens but is not slated, that officer’s records will be updated with an early command screening code. That officer should also make sure that the words “SCREENED FOR LT COMMAND” are at the top of every FITREP that follows until they are screened for the next higher milestone. There are two reasons why an officer might be screened but not slated: their career timing and billet availability. If this happens it is not considered a negative reflection of that officer’s record, nor is there any indication of non-selection in the officer’s official record. By applying for Early Command, your record will get a hard look by some of our community’s strongest leaders. These are the same people who sit on commander command boards, etc. – it’s a free look to see how you are doing!


GUAM (April 6, 2017) A MK VI patrol boat, assigned to Coastal Riverine Group (CRG) 1 Detachment Guam, maneuvers off the coast of Guam April 6, 2017. CRG 1 Detachment Guam is assigned to Commander, Task Force 75, which is the primary expeditionary task force responsible for the planning and execution of coastal riverine operations, explosive ordnance disposal, mobile diving and salvage, engineering and construction, and underwater construction in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations. (U.S. Navy Combat Camera photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alfred A. Coffield)

Q6. Aside from individual benefits, how will the Surface Warfare Community benefit overall from this initiative?
A6. (Chien) The surface warfare community will see real dividends from this early command opportunity. The junior officers selected to command Mark VI Patrol Boats will have a tremendous opportunity to mature their leadership, tactical and shiphandling skills throughout their tour with the Coastal Riverine Force. As these men and women grow in their Navy careers and advance to positions at sea with more responsibility, the skills they honed in the Mark VI will enhance the operational effectiveness of any ship in which they serve.

Q7. What kind of officer is the Coastal Riverine Force looking for to command its Mark VI patrol boats and companies?
A7. (Chien) For both the company and patrol boat command positions, we’re looking for bold, innovative and tactically-astute officers who are comfortable in positions of great authority and responsibility. The crews are small, so we need officers who can build a cohesive bond with and among the crew. Most importantly, and in keeping with the CNO’s focus upon toughness, we need officers who can fight and win with this incredible new patrol boat. The Coastal Riverine Force is professional group of Sailors with a unique mission spanning a variety of missions not found in any other communities. Coastal Riverine sailors will deploy to various locations throughout the world, in unit sizes ranging from five sailors to over 200, fulfilling the missions of embarked security teams, aircraft security teams, port and maritime infrastructure security, landside security, high value unit escorts and overt unmanned aerial systems surveillance missions.

Q8. What is a typical tour like?
A8. (Chien) Mark VI Patrol Boat tours will be 24 months in lengths and located in Little Creek and San Diego. Mark VI crew members should expect to deploy for seven out of every 18 months to the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operations. Deployments to 5th fleet will be to Bahrain where Mark VI’s conduct exercises and operations with the Explosive Ordnance Disposal community and Joint units, provide High Value Unit escorts, maritime Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions, littoral patrols, and support to maritime interdiction operations. Deployments to 7th fleet vary significantly from 5th fleet due to the geography of the Pacific. Mark VI deployments initiate from Guam and the main effort will be to expand the range and capabilities of the Patrol Boat to participate in Theater Security Cooperation efforts.

Q9. What does the training pipeline look like for the new Mark VI Patrol Boat Commanding Officer position?
A9.  (Yuhas) Slated Mark VI commanding officers can expect to go to the Surface Warfare Officers School for a portion of the Surface Commanders Course (SCC) – take a revised command assessment, attend Command Leadership School at The Naval Leadership and Ethics Center, also in Newport, and then proceed to NECC for follow-on training in order to give them the foundation they need to be successful. For those slated to lieutenant commander command, the pipeline will look much the same as it currently is: senior officer legal, command leadership, SCC, Shipride, TYCOM Indoctrination, command assessment (as needed) and NECC training (as appropriate). The pipeline for Mark VI commanding officers will generally take six months. Company commander training may take a little longer based on course availability.

Q10. If you could go back in time to the days when you were a Lieutenant, would you have pursued the opportunity to command a Mark VI patrol boat? If so, why?
A10. (Chien) Without hesitation. Trailblazers who compete for these positions have the opportunity to join an exclusive club comprised of some the Navy’s most respected leaders who also cut their teeth leading small, fast boats at sea. Just look at President John F. Kennedy and Adm. John D. Bulkeley…no one can deny the legacy they created in their leadership of small boat crews as Navy lieutenants during World War II. This is an incredible opportunity for a young officer and I would have considered it an honor and a privilege to have been given the chance to lead a small boat crew at sea.

(Yuhas) I wish it was available when I was leaving my DIVO tours! Command of a PC was challenging and yet the most rewarding tour I have had in the Navy so far. How awesome would it be to drive and lead a crew of Sailors in today’s version of a PT boat!

Q11. What should a DIVO and SWO do if they’re interested?
A11. (Yuhas) The first step is meeting all the prerequisites we discussed earlier – once you meet them please reach out to me so I can send you some templates for the Command Board that you will need to complete as well as the letters you need to get which will clear your way for the Early Command Board. The board is held semi-annually in June and November. I’m standing by to help get you into command – please send me an email (timothy.yuhas@navy.mil) or give me a call and we can talk (901.874.3485)!


MILLINGTON, Tenn. (Feb. 14, 2018) Lt. Cmdr. Tim Yuhas poses for an environmental portrait in his office at Navy Personnel Command at Naval Support Activity Mid-South. Yuhas details board-screened Early Command officers to MK VI, Mine Countermeasure and Costal Patrol Ships around the world. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Matthew Riggs/Released)


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New Mark VI Patrol Boat Command Opportunities: Q&A

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

SECNAV Spencer’s Message to the Navy and Marine Corps Team

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On Aug. 3, 2017, Richard V. Spencer, a native of Connecticut, was sworn in as the 76th secretary of the Navy. The following is his opening statement:

Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer
Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer

Sailors, Marines and civilian teammates,

It is with great excitement and humility that I take on the role of your 76th Secretary of the Navy. The excitement is born from the challenges and opportunities that we face now and in the near future.

Due to your consistent ability to successfully deliver on all demands put before you, there is a commensurate level of expectation for more of the same going forward. Therein lies the challenge we face and prudency says we should expect that challenge to grow as the threats around the world continue to increase.

Within every challenge lies opportunity and I urge everyone to adopt that point of view. Every member involved in the Navy-Marine Corps team has the opportunity to make a contribution towards a more effective, versatile, resilient and lethal organization.

You, as a member of this team, will have access to a wide range of resources. Those resources must be applied in the most impactful manner possible in order to enhance our ability to deliver when called to fight. I look to each of you to seize the opportunity and contribute to enhancing the effort.

I am humbled to be in the position to lead an enterprise that is manned with such a stunning amount of proven talent. Our Nation’s all volunteer force, and supporting teammates, are second to none. That is because of you.

I believe that the most valuable asset within an organization is the high-performing human component. We will work together to ensure we have the best, sustainable environment in order to continue our history of delivering when requested.

Make no mistake, we are facing a threat level that has not been witnessed for quite some time and urgency is the manner in which we must all act as the complexity of threats increase in size and scope. We must all be focused on the pointed end of the spear.

I eagerly look forward to working with you as we step out to face the challenges set before us and embrace the opportunities that lie within those challenges.

Editor’s note: Follow SECNAV Spencer on social media at Facebook.com/SECNAV76 and at Twitter.com/SECNAV76.


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SECNAV Spencer’s Message to the Navy and Marine Corps Team

USS Harry S. Truman Returns to Norfolk following Early Completion of Maintenance and Sea Trials

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

This week, Naval Station Norfolk welcomed USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) back to the waterfront, early. Truman returned Tuesday, two days ahead of schedule from her Planned Incremental Availability (PIA) at Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) after a very successful five days of underway evolutions during Sea Trials.

NORFOLK (JULY 25, 2017) Sailors assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), handle mooring lines from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), as Harry S. Truman pulls into Naval Station Norfolk after completing sea trials (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jessica Paulauskas/Released)
NORFOLK (JULY 25, 2017) Sailors assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), handle mooring lines from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), as Harry S. Truman pulls into Naval Station Norfolk after completing sea trials (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jessica Paulauskas/Released)
NORFOLK (July 25, 2017) The superstructures of the aircraft carriers USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), right, and USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) are close together during Harry S. Truman's transit into port. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Anthony Flynn/Released)
NORFOLK (July 25, 2017) The superstructures of the aircraft carriers USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), right, and USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) are close together during Harry S. Truman’s transit into port. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Anthony Flynn/Released)

For Truman’s crew and her shipyard partners, the conclusion of this maintenance period signifies the completion of 10 months of teambuilding, hard work and coordination between workforces, ultimately making the ship better today than it was when it first arrived in the yards back in September 2016.

A new pier, hundreds of additional craftsmen and efforts in modernization of shipyard equipment at NNSY have vastly contributed to the efficiency of work performed by shipyard personnel. Investments made by NNSY in more technologically advanced machinery have improved the shipyard’s productivity factor by reducing numerous job completion times from days to mere hours. For example, new, fully automated pipe-bending and gasket-cutting machines have greatly cut-down repair timelines and helped to contribute to Truman’s early completion of her scheduled maintenance.

Completing PIA early, however, was just the first step in preparing Truman for future operations. Sea Trials tested the ability of the crew and ship to operate at sea and both performed beyond expectations. During the five-day underway period, the CVN-75 team conducted more than 300 hours of shipboard evolutions including: small boat recoveries, testing Aqueous Film-Forming Foam sprinkler systems, making high speed turns, running its steam catapults, and holding a simulated replenishment-at-sea alongside USNS Medgar Evers (T-AKE 13).

ATLANTIC OCEAN (July 21, 2017) An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter, assigned to the "Red Hawks" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 2 prepares to land on the flight deck aboard aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) as the ship transits out to sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Rebekah Watkins/Released)
ATLANTIC OCEAN (July 21, 2017) An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter, assigned to the “Red Hawks” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 2 prepares to land on the flight deck aboard aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) as the ship transits out to sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Rebekah Watkins/Released)

These accomplishments are of staggering importance, not just for the crew aboard Truman, but for the Navy as a whole. It is yet another success story in our implementation of the Optimized Fleet Response Plan (OFRP). Having the maintenance availabilities of our carriers completed early ensures our forces get the maximum training repetitions and sets (Reps and Sets) necessary to enable our carrier strike groups to be fully combat ready to deploy on time.

Truman’s early completion of its maintenance availability and its successful performance during sea trials means that this capital warship is one step closer to doing what carriers do: conducting prompt and sustained combat operations from the sea. This isn’t just a win for Truman. It’s a win for our Navy and a win for our country. It means our carrier force, and our fleet as a whole, is more ready to deliver sea control and combat striking power anywhere, anytime our nation requires us to do so.

When you look at our waterfront today, you can’t help but see the present and future represented by our carrier fleet. For the present, look at USS Abraham Lincoln, that spent the last four years completing her midlife refueling and is now back in the fleet and training for deployment. USS Dwight D. Eisenhower has been the workhorse of the waterfront since returning, Dec. 31, 2016, from her combat deployment, keeping our carrier pilots current by launching and recovering thousands of aircraft throughout her seven-month sustainment phase. The future can be seen in the form of USS Gerald R. Ford, our newest and most technologically advanced carrier as well as USS George Washington, which is ready to begin her midlife refueling this August.

MEDITERRANEAN SEA (June 23, 2017) An F/A-18F Super Hornet attached to the "Blacklions" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 213 is fully loaded with 10 GBU-32 1,000 pound bombs aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Hank Gettys/Released)
MEDITERRANEAN SEA (June 23, 2017) An F/A-18F Super Hornet attached to the “Blacklions” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 213 is fully loaded with 10 GBU-32 1,000 pound bombs aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Hank Gettys/Released)

With USS George H. W. Bush wrapping up an extremely successful combat deployment that supported the liberation of Mosul, our carriers continue to demonstrate the maneuverability, adaptability and strength of the United States Navy. And with Truman’s early return to the waterfront, our Navy will continue to protect America’s prosperity and security far from our Nation’s shorelines and face the future with the same pride and determination that we have displayed since Congress approved the construction of our first six frigates.


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USS Harry S. Truman Returns to Norfolk following Early Completion of Maintenance and Sea Trials

Making a Navy Sailor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Making a Navy Sailor

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

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By Vice Adm. Tom Rowden
Commander, Naval Surface Forces

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

USS Somerset Shines on Maiden Deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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USS Somerset Shines on Maiden Deployment

Battle of Coral Sea leads to Midway: A comeback for U.S. Navy

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By Rear Adm. John Fuller
Commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific

Seventy-five years ago today, May 12, 1942, American submarines inflicted the final major casualties of the Battle of the Coral Sea, a fight that tested the skill of our Navy on, under and above the sea.

The Battle of the Coral Sea etched names in our history and heritage: Rear Adm. Frank Jack Fletcher, Lt. “Jo Jo” Powers, Lt. Milton Ricketts, Dauntlesses Devastators aircraft (VB 2, VB 5, VS 2, VS 5, VT 2, VT 5), USS Hammann (DDG 412), USS Neosho (AO 23), USS Lexington (CV 2) and USS Yorktown (CV 5).

A mushroom cloud rises after a heavy explosion on board USS Lexington (CV 2), May 8, 1942. This is probably the great explosion from the detonation of torpedo warheads stowed in the starboard side of the hangar, aft, that followed an explosion amidships at 5:27 p.m. Note USS Yorktown (CV-5) on the horizon in the left center, and destroyer USS Hammann (DD 412) at the extreme left. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)
A mushroom cloud rises after a heavy explosion on board USS Lexington (CV 2), May 8, 1942. This is probably the great explosion from the detonation of torpedo warheads stowed in the starboard side of the hangar, aft, that followed an explosion amidships at 5:27 p.m. Note USS Yorktown (CV 5) on the horizon in the left center, and destroyer USS Hammann (DD 412) at the extreme left. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

The enemy sank our aircraft carrier USS Lexington and so badly damaged another carrier, USS Yorktown, they thought it too was lost.

But the carrier, captain and crew were tough, resilient and determined. And so was our Navy.

On May 27, Yorktown made it back into the Pearl Harbor channel and eased into drydock at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, met by Adm. Chester Nimitz, who conducted an immediate inspection.

Back then, Sailors and civilians were still in recovery mode after the attacks of Dec. 7, 1941. Shipyard workers were repairing hulls, propellers and pumps on damaged ships.

Simultaneously, ashore at what is now known as Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, preparations were underway for the battle that would turn the tides in America’s favor in the war in the Pacific.

While Imperial Japan felt emboldened and confident after the destruction the Japanese inflicted to our Pacific Fleet battleships, we were quietly getting ready to engage in multiple domains, including cyber, through codebreaking.

At Station Hypo in Building One, Navy code breakers, led by Lt. Cmdr. Edwin Layton and Lt. Cmdr. Joe Rochefort, provided intelligence to Nimitz about the enemy’s plans to attack Midway Atoll. The surprise, combined with luck and courage, would give the Americans the edge despite the armada they faced at Midway.

Meanwhile, at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, workers, who had already been working for months to salvage, recover and repair warships in the harbor, would have to perform a miracle for Yorktown.

View of damage on USS Yorktown’s third and fourth decks, amidships, caused by a 250 kilogram bomb hit received during the Battle of Coral Sea. This view looks forward and to starboard from the ship's centerline at frame 110. The photographer is in compartment C-301-L , shooting down through the third deck into compartment C-402-A. The large hole in the deck was made by the bomb's explosion. Many men were killed or badly injured in C-301-L, a crew's messing space that was the assembly area for the ship's engineering repair party. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)
View of damage on USS Yorktown’s third and fourth decks, amidships, caused by a 250 kilogram bomb hit received during the Battle of Coral Sea. This view looks forward and to starboard from the ship’s centerline at frame 110. The photographer is in compartment C-301-L , shooting down through the third deck into compartment C-402-A. The large hole in the deck was made by the bomb’s explosion. Many men were killed or badly injured in C-301-L, a crew’s messing space that was the assembly area for the ship’s engineering repair party. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

Nimitz ordered the ship to be ready in three days.

According to historian Thomas Cutler, “Civilian yard workers swarmed aboard armed with a different arsenal of war – hammers, acetylene torches and the like – and soon the ship echoed with a cacophony of frantic but purposeful activity. Working around the clock in temperatures sometimes reaching 120 degrees, these workers labored in an eerie world of pulsating light, choking smoke, pungent fumes and a racing clock. Three days later, the resurrection was complete. Yorktown steamed down the channel, headed for sea and ‘rendezvous with destiny,’ civilian workers spilling from her insides into small boats alongside as she went.”

Cutler said the U.S. Navy’s victory at the Battle of Midway is shared by those workers here at Pearl Harbor. “The miracle began when others fought exhaustion and the clock to do the seemingly impossible.”

Japanese facilities burning on Tanambogo Island, east of Tulagi, Aug. 7, 1942 – the Battle of Guadalcanal invasion's first day. This view looks about ESE, with Gavutu Island to the right, connected to Tanambogo by a causeway. Small island to the left is Gaomi. The Florida Islands are in the distance. Photographed from an SBD aircraft based on one of the supporting U.S. aircraft carriers. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)
Japanese facilities burning on Tanambogo Island, east of Tulagi, Aug. 7, 1942 – the Battle of Guadalcanal invasion’s first day. This view looks about ESE, with Gavutu Island to the right, connected to Tanambogo by a causeway. Small island to the left is Gaomi. The Florida Islands are in the distance. Photographed from an SBD aircraft based on one of the supporting U.S. aircraft carriers. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

The war in the Pacific started in Pearl Harbor and so did the comeback.

After Midway, our Sailors and Marines continued to fight across the Pacific and northward from Guadalcanal, eventually defeating Imperial Japan and setting the stage for greater freedom, democracy and prosperity.

Editor’s note: Fuller is finishing up his tour as commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific. He is slated to become commander of Carrier Strike Group 1 this summer.


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Battle of Coral Sea leads to Midway: A comeback for U.S. Navy

Dorie Miller’s Legacy: Inspiration for all U.S. Navy Sailors and all Americans

By Rear Adm. John Fuller
Commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific

The story of Dorie Miller is inspiring for all Sailors and all Americans.

In honor of African American History Month, let’s consider what his legacy means for all of us.

Mess Attendant Third Class Doris “Dorie” Miller
Mess Attendant Third Class Doris “Dorie” Miller

Mess Attendant Third Class Doris “Dorie” Miller was ready, willing and able Dec. 7, 1941. He literally took matters into his own hands to protect his ship and his shipmates when he – on his own volition – took control of a machine gun aboard USS West Virginia (BB 48) and returned fire during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Prior to and even during World War II, mess attendants were relegated to laundry detail, cooking meals, swabbing the deck and shining officers’ shoes.

And, while the support functions the mess attendants provided then – and by extension the things our culinary specialists do today – have mission impacts, “messmen” were not allowed to be direct warfighters. In a fight, they carried ammunition and they carried the wounded to medical care.

They also carried the weight of discrimination and segregation – separate and unequal.

Adm. Chester Nimitz presents Dorie Miller with the Navy Cross on May 27, 1942, aboard USS Enterprise (CV 6) for Miller’s valor on Dec. 7, 1941. (Photo courtesy of the National Archives)
Adm. Chester Nimitz presents Dorie Miller with the Navy Cross on May 27, 1942, aboard USS Enterprise (CV 6) for Miller’s valor on Dec. 7, 1941. (Photo courtesy of the National Archives)

Adm. Chester Nimitz personally presented Miller with the Navy Cross May 27, 1942 aboard USS Enterprise (CV 6) for his valor Dec. 7, 1941.

Then, like most Pearl Harbor survivors, Miller took the fight from Hawaii and across the Pacific.

Miller was aboard USS Liscome Bay (CVE 56) in November 1943 during the Battle of Makin Island when an Imperial Japanese Navy submarine sank his ship. Miller was among the 646 Sailors killed when Liscome Bay went down.

In addition to the Navy Cross and other medals and awards, the Navy honored Doris “Dorie” Miller in 1973 by commissioning a Knox-class frigate, named USS Miller (FF 1091) after him.

On Oct. 11, 1991, the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority dedicated a bronze commemoration plaque in a military housing community near Pearl Harbor that is also his namesake – Doris Miller Housing.

Miller became a poster-hero in the earliest days of the civil rights movement.

He became a symbol of the notion that we should expect the exceptional if talented individuals have an equal opportunity or level playing field.

Miller fought for the ideals that our founders so eloquently described in the Declaration of Independence and in our Constitution, ideals that are meant for every American.

The United States military – and our society – have made great strides since President Truman desegregated the military; since Brown v. Board of Education; and since Presidents Kennedy and Johnson (both former U.S. Navy officers and World War II veterans) fought for and achieved the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

Today, as we contemplate Miller’s bravery over 75 years ago and his sacrifice for our freedom, let’s consider the gift he and other World War II Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen and Marines gave us.

We have peace and freedom for ourselves, and our families because of their sacrifice and we must protect that gift.

Think about it: Dorie Miller and other young service members killed in World War II never had a chance to have their own family. We, however, have the privilege to honor their memory.

Since 1945 millions of American families have lived, loved and thrived thanks to the sacrifices warfighters like Miller made during World War II. Here in Hawaii, hundreds of families since 1991 have called the Doris Miller Housing community “home.”

Like Miller and his shipmates, we who wear the cloth of our nation are ready, willing and able to run toward danger to defend our homeland and our values.

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Dorie Miller’s Legacy: Inspiration for all U.S. Navy Sailors and all Americans