Navy Week Held in Fargo

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Sailors assigned to USS Constitution teach Lisa Budeau and Jordan Schroeer, news anchors for North Dakota Today, how to tie knots during Fargo Navy Week. Fargo, N.D. is one of select cities to host a 2018 Navy Week, a week dedicated to raising U.S. Navy awareness through local outreach, community service, and exhibitions. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey Scoular/Released)



Navy Week Fargo was held July 23-29 in conjunction with the Fargo Air Show to increase exposure and allow our Sailors to showcase our mission, capabilities and achievements of the U.S. Navy. Navy Weeks serve as a principal outreach effort into areas of the country without a significant Navy presence to provide residents the opportunity to meet Sailors firsthand.  


Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Cory Van Beveren, from Countryside, Ill., assigned to USS Constitution, teaches a child how to tie knots at Bennett Boys & Girls Club during Fargo Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey Scoular/Released)

Engineman 2nd Class Jamie Vetter, assigned to Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) Fargo, watches the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, practice demonstration during Fargo Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class David R. Finley Jr./Released)

A child at the Fargo Public Library conducts the Navy Band Great Lakes ceremonial band during their performance at Fargo-Moorhead Metro Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Wyatt Anthony/Released)

Sailors assigned to USS Constitution teach Lisa Budeau and Jordan Schroeer, news anchors for North Dakota Today, how to tie knots during Fargo Navy Week. Fargo, N.D. is one of select cities to host a 2018 Navy Week, a week dedicated to raising U.S. Navy awareness through local outreach, community service, and exhibitions. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey Scoular/Released)

Musician 3rd Class Danlie Cuenca, assigned to Navy Band Great Lakes, performs at a free concert held at the Fargo Theater during the 2018 Fargo Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kleynia R. McKnight/Released)

Construction Electrician 2nd Class Benjamin Phelps, assigned to Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) Fargo, helps a student program her robot at Minnesota State University Moorhead’s College for Kids summer camp during Fargo-Moorhead Metro Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class David R. Finley Jr./Released)

Lt. Mack Jamieson, from Fulton, Miss., assigned to the Navy Office of Community Outreach, takes a selfie with children from the YMCA and local Boys & Girls Clubs at Island Park in Fargo, N.D., during Fargo-Moorhead Metro Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Wyatt Anthony/Released)

Dr. Tim Mahoney, mayor of Fargo, N.D., poses for a photo after performing a jump with the U.S. Navy parachute team, the Leap Frogs, during Fargo-Moorhead Metro Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Wyatt Anthony/Released)

Musician 1st Class Aaron Deaton, from Parkersburg, W.Va., assigned to Navy Band Great Lakes, plays taps during a wreath-laying ceremony for the members of the Gato-class submarine USS Robalo (SS-273) during Fargo-Moorhead Metro Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Wyatt Anthony/Released)

Lt. Monica Killoran, and Ensign Keaton Brenneman, assigned to Naval Oceanography Operations Command, help Cambrie Wickham pull the cord to launch a water bottle rocket science project at the Minnesota State University Moorhead College for Kids and Teens Camp during Fargo Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kleynia R. McKnight/Released)

Navy Diver 2nd Class Joseph Sarge, from Redding, Pa., assigned to Southwest Regional Maintenance Center, talks to children in the YMCA and local Boys & Girls Clubs while wearing a bomb disposal suit at Island Park in Fargo, N.D., during Fargo-Moorhead Metro Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Wyatt Anthony/Released)

Rear Adm. Gene F. Price, commander of Naval Information Force Reserve, tours the North Dakota State University Research and Creative Activity Center during Fargo-Moorhead Metro Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Wyatt Anthony/Released)

Rear Adm. Gene F. Price, commander of Naval Information Force Reserve, meets with the mayors of Dilworth, Minn., Fargo, N.D., West Fargo, N.D., and Moorhead, Minn., during Fargo-Moorhead Metro Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Wyatt Anthony/Released)

Would you attend a Navy Week celebration near you ?


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Navy Week Held in Fargo

Past, Present and Future Links with Spain

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By Adm. James G. Foggo III
Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples
Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe/Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Africa

A young, tenacious immigrant and mariner from Spain arrived on our shores before we were a country. He joined the revolutionary cause as a naval officer in the South Carolina Navy and was quickly given his own ship to command. During the Siege of Charleston in 1780, a cannonball broke his arm, and he was captured. After a prisoner exchange, he volunteered to fight alongside General Washington. Ultimately, he helped the United States earn its independence. He settled in the new country and started a family. His name: Jordi Farragut, born in Minorca, Spain.

Besides giving our country selfless heroism, unwavering patriotism, and irrefutable courage, Farragut and his Scottish-Irish-American wife Elizabeth also gave us their son, who would become our first admiral and a U.S. Civil War hero: David Glasgow Farragut. And Minorca – besides giving us Jordi Farragut – gave us our base at Port Mahón for our Mediterranean Squadron (the predecessor of U.S. 6th Fleet) and a floating naval school (the predecessor of the U.S. Naval Academy).

For this reason, my trip to Minorca was to celebrate the strong historical links between our great countries. Along with my friend and Chief of the Spanish Navy, Adm. Gen. López Calderón, we attended events organized by The Legacy aimed at celebrating the naval bond between our two countries. We also hosted our friends aboard USS Donald Cook. The Legacy’s website aptly capture the spirit of this past weekend: “encourage and promote ties between the two countries based on the cherished relationship that has united us since before the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America.”

I had the opportunity to personally thank the Commanding General of the Balearic Islands, as well as Adm. Gen. López Calderón for their unflinching support to the security of Europe, the collective defense of NATO and to the United States.

MINORCA, Spain (June 16, 2018) Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Italy, right, and the Chief of Staff of the Spanish navy Adm. Gen. López Calderón pose for a photo with USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) in the background before a commemoration ceremony honoring the 150-year legacy of Adm. David Farragut. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan Riley/Released)
MINORCA, Spain (June 16, 2018) Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Italy, right, and the Chief of Staff of the Spanish navy Adm. Gen. López Calderón pose for a photo with USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) in the background before a commemoration ceremony honoring the 150-year legacy of Adm. David Farragut. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan Riley/Released)

Our conjoined naval history began with the Farragut family and Minorca, but over the past 200 years it has continued to strengthen and expand, particularly after we became NATO allies and shared common strategic national security goals that paved the way for Spain to welcome our Sailors and ships in Rota and our service members to the Morón Air Base.

In the 1960s, Rota became an important port for our submarines. Today, Rota is the home away from home for our Sailors stationed on our four Forward-Deployed Naval Forces Europe multi-mission, Arleigh Burke-class Aegis destroyers: USS Carney, USS Donald Cook, USS Porter, and USS Ross. Our four ships are part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach. They’re able to immediately respond to any crisis in the region and participate in exercises. I consider them among my top priorities as commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and Allied Joint Force Command Naples.

Our forces in Rota are a key element to our mutual national security and maintaining stability in the region. In 2017, USS Porter, along with USS Ross, launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Al Shayrat airbase in Syria in response to the Assad regime’s chemical weapon attack on its own civilians, thereby degrading the regime’s ability to conduct future chemical attacks from that location. In the Spring, Rota-based ships once again played a role in a combined attack to degrade Syria’s chemical weapons, research and storage facilities.

In recognition of history, it seems appropriate USS Porter is forward deployed to Spain. The ship’s namesake, Commodore David Porter, was Adm. Farragut’s foster father. When Farragut’s mother succumbed to yellow fever when he was young, Jordi Farragut asked Porter, who was a close personal friend, to watch over his son. In fact, Adm. Farragut’s birth name was James, but he changed it to David, in honor of David Porter.

Beyond graciously hosting our ships that are part of NATO’s integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) capability, Spain’s direct contributions to NATO’s IAMD are noteworthy. This past October, the Spanish frigate SPS Álvaro de Bazán (F 101) successfully fired an Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile against an incoming anti-ship cruise missile during the live-fire IAMD exercise Formidable Shield.

This was the first time NATO’s smart defense concept was demonstrated with ships serving as air defense units protecting naval ballistic missile defense units. We look forward to Spain’s participation in Formidable Shield 2019.  IAMD is another top priority.

As a Southern European NATO Ally, Spain is a particularly critical partner in another of my top priorities: the NATO Strategic Direction South Hub. It is the Alliance’s bold new initiative to connect, consult and coordinate with countries across the Middle East and North Africa. It brings together willing participants to devise holistic and collaborative approaches to monitor and assess destablizing conditions that proliferate violent extremism. I firmly believe that if we can assist in stabilizing some of these regions and give people a reason to stay in their home countries, they will not feel compelled to leave. It can help prevent future refugee crises, and avoid the significant burden mass migrations can have on the economies of Europe. This is a security priority but also a humanitarian one.

While our military-to-military relationship with Spain is strong and healthy, and our commitment to NATO is rock solid, our strongest bond is simply as people coming together around similar principles and values.

The last time I visited Spain about a month ago, I was in Valencia to thank and recognize Spanish surgeon Dr. Pedro Cavadas. Dr. Cavadas and his outstanding medical team were able to reattach one of our Sailor’s right hand that was severed during an industrial accident at sea. Given the precious amount of time lost in transporting the Sailor from the submarine to Hospital de Manises in Valencia, it required an extremely talented team to move quickly to save his hand. Today, our Sailor is expected to make a full recovery.

VALENCIA, Spain (May 4, 2018) – Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Italy, left, shakes the hand of Dr. Pedro Cavadas, a neurosurgeon at Hospital de Manises in Valencia, Spain, after awarding him the Civilian Meritorious Service Award at the hospital. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan Nelson/Released)
VALENCIA, Spain (May 4, 2018) – Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Italy, left, shakes the hand of Dr. Pedro Cavadas, a neurosurgeon at Hospital de Manises in Valencia, Spain, after awarding him the Civilian Meritorious Service Award at the hospital. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan Nelson/Released)

Of course, I also can’t pass up the opportunity to highlight a personal connection with someone who is considered a hero in Spain and to the United States: Alejandro Villanueva – a decorated war hero and a pro football player with the Pittsburgh Steelers, whose parents are Spanish. My son went to West Point with Alejandro, and my wife Cindy and I know his parents well.  Villanueva served three tours in Afghanistan as a U.S. Army Ranger and paratrooper. Today, he traded the battlefield for a football field.

These are the type of stories that endure, and we must never forget the links that form the strong bond between our countries and our great navies. Our relationships are strengthened by our history, our integrations today, and the engagements we are planning for the future. The U.S. Navy has a great legacy with Spain that began with a young Minorcan mariner that helped us win our independence. I am thankful this legacy continues with heroes like the Valencian surgeon who gave one of our Sailors a chance to live a normal life. Long live Spanish-American friendship!

Editors note: This blog was published June 18, 2018, on the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa / U.S. 6th Fleet website.


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Past, Present and Future Links with Spain

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

PCU Colorado (SSN 788)

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About the Boat

When and where is the commissioning ceremony?
The commissioning ceremony will be held at Naval Submarine Base New London on March 17, 2018.

How many other submarines does the U.S. Navy currently have?
There are currently three classes of SSNs (attack submarines) in service; the Los Angeles, Sea Wolf and Virginia class (50 in total). The Navy also has guided missile submarines and ballistic missile submarines too.

What makes the Virginia class different?
The Virginia-class submarines are better capable to operate in littoral waters. They additionally can be configured to support special operations forces (SOF) by converting a torpedo room into an area for SOF personnel and their equipment. Additionally, diving operations can occur with greater ease due to a large lock-in/lock-out chamber for divers. Block III submarines feature a redesigned bow, which replaces 12 individual launch tubes with two large-diameter Virginia Payload Tubes each capable of launching six Tomahawk cruise missiles, among other design changes that reduced the submarines’ acquisition cost while maintaining their outstanding warfighting capabilities.

Where was the Colorado constructed?
Virginia-class submarines are built under a joint construction contract between General Dynamics’ Electric Boat Division and Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding. GD Electric Boat and Newport News Shipbuilding are the only two U.S. shipyards capable of building nuclear-powered vessels.

When was the keel laid?
March 7, 2015

When was the ship christened?
December 3, 2016

When did PCU Colorado pass the required inspections by the Navy?
Colorado successfully completed the independent Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) trials, which evaluates the submarine’s seaworthiness and operational capabilities. During INSURV trials, the crew took the submarine to test depth and tested the submarine’s propulsion plant and material readiness. The sub was delivered to the Navy on Sept. 21, 2017.

Who is USS Colorado’s sponsor?
The ship’s sponsor for USS Colorado is Annie Mabus. Annie was born in Jackson, Mississippi. Early in her life, she moved with her family to Saudi Arabia when her father, former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, served as ambassador to the Kingdom. She returned to Mississippi for her schooling and remained there through high school. During that time, she also traveled, studying in France and seeing much of the world. Annie is a swimmer, who has competed throughout her life, winning a state championship as a high school junior.

Annie attended New York University, where she studied art history and studio art. She completed several internships at major art institutions, including The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art. She graduated with honors from NYU in 2014 and has remained in New York. After graduation, she was appointed VIP manager at the Museum of American Art’s summer music series, and currently assists an art and cultural advisor with international projects. Annie plans to attend graduate school and pursue a career in museum curation.

The Navy plays an immensely important role in Annie’ life. With her father’s appointment as secretary, Annie was welcomed into the Navy family and created life-long friendships with many Sailors and Marines. She was named an honorary member of the U. S. Naval Academy’s 23rd Company in recognition of her close connection with the academy and the Brigade of Midshipmen. Her place within the Navy family was cemented when she was named ship sponsor of Colorado, and she looks forward to a lifelong relationship with the submarine and its crew.

When was the ship named?
The Secretary of the Navy announced June 25, 2012, that SSN-788, the 15th Virginia-class submarine, would be named after the state of Colorado.

How big is the PCU Colorado?
377 ft. long; 34 ft. wide; approximately 7,800 tons submerged

How fast can the PCU Colorado go?
25+ knots submerged

What history does the USS Colorado name have in the Navy?
There have been two ships in the U.S. Navy named after the state of Colorado and one named after the Colorado River.

  • The first USS Colorado (Screw Frigate) was a 3500-ton three-masted steam frigate commissioned in 1858 and named after the Colorado River. During the Civil War she participated in the Union Navy’s Gulf Blockading Squadron. She participated in the first naval engagement of the Civil War when she attacked and sank the Confederate private schooner Judah off Pensacola, Florida. She captured several vessels and engaged four Confederate steamers.
  • The second USS Colorado (AC 7) was an armored cruiser of the 13,900 ton-Pennsylvania class and was commissioned in 1905. After initial operation on the east coast she served in the Pacific alternating between the Asiatic Station and the eastern Pacific. She was renamed Pueblo on Nov. 9, 1916, to free up the name for the new battleship Colorado. After a yard period, she returned to Mexico, to blockade interned German ships.
  • The third USS Colorado (BB 45) was the lead ship of the class and was commissioned on Aug. 30, 1923. She displaced 32,600 tons with a length of 624 feet. She served in European waters in 1923 and 1924 before transferring to the Pacific. Prior to WWII she served with the Pacific fleet and helped in the search for missing aviator Amelia Earhart in 1937. She earned seven battle stars for her service in WWII. She supported operations in the Gilberts, Marshalls (Enitwetok and Kwajalein), Marianas (Saipan and Guram), Leyte, Luzon (Mindoro and Lingayen Gulf), Okinawa and Tinian. On July 24, 1944, while bombarding Tinian, she was hit by enemy shore batteries, suffering serious casualties to topside personnel. Colorado’s next combat duty was off Leyte in November 1944, where she was hit by two Kamikaze suicide planes. She was tied up next to USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay for the signing of the surrender of Japan. She was decommissioned in 1947.

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PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. (Jan. 12, 2018) Pre-Commissioning Unit Colorado (SSN 788) Commanding Officer Cmdr. Reed Koeep, Executive Officer Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Col and Chief of the Boat, Master Chief Freddie Richter post for a photo. Colorado is the 15th Virginia-class attack submarine and is scheduled to be commissioned March 17, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jeffrey M. Richardson/Released)
PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. (Jan. 12, 2018) Pre-Commissioning Unit Colorado (SSN 788) Commanding Officer Cmdr. Reed Koeep, Executive Officer Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Col and Chief of the Boat, Master Chief Freddie Richter post for a photo. Colorado is the 15th Virginia-class attack submarine and is scheduled to be commissioned March 17, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jeffrey M. Richardson/Released)

Commanding Officer
Cmdr. Gregory R. Koepp II, a native of Picayune, Mississippi, graduated from Louisiana State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics. He received his commission through the Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate program after completing Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida. Upon completion of nuclear power training and the Submarine Officer Basic Course in 2002, Koepp reported onboard USS Tennessee (SSBN 734) in King’s Bay, Georgia, serving as a division officer in engineering and tactics while completing four strategic deterrent patrols. In 2005, he reported ashore to Commander, Navy Recruiting Command as Nuclear Training and Accessions Officer.

Following Submarine Officer Advanced Course in 2007, Koepp relieved as the Navigation and Operations Officer onboard USS Virginia (SSN 774) in Groton, Connecticut. During this tour, the ship deployed to the Europe and Africa areas of responsibility, and was awarded the Battle “E” in 2008 and 2009. In 2010, he reported ashore to Commander Submarine Squadron Four as the Squadron Operations Officer in Groton.

In 2013, upon completion of Submarine Command Course, Koepp relieved as Executive Officer onboard USS Buffalo (SSN 715) in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. During this tour, the ship completed a Pre-Inactivation Restricted Availability and a Theater Anti-Submarine Warfare Surge Deployment. In 2015, he reported ashore to Nuclear Power Training Unit in Charleston, South Carolina as executive officer.

Koepp has completed a Masters in Engineering Management degree at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, and Joint Professional Military Education through the Air University Air Command and Staff College and National Defense University.

Executive Officer
Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Col is a native of Modesto, California. He was selected for the Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate Program and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computational Physics from University of Nevada – Las Vegas and commissioned through Officer Candidate School in 2003.

Following completion of nuclear power training, he reported to USS Alaska (SSBN 732) (GOLD) in 2005 where he served as Electrical Assistant, Main Propulsion Assistant, Damage Control Assistant, and Assistant Engineer. USS Alaska (GOLD) completed two strategic deterrent patrols, one Commander’s Evaluation Test, and a change of homeport to Norfolk Naval Shipyard for an Engineered Refueling Overhaul.

Following Submarine Officer Advanced Course in 2010, Col reported to USS Topeka (SSN 754) as the engineer officer. While onboard, the ship completed deployments to U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility and to the Western Pacific, and conducted an Arctic transit to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard for an Engineered Overhaul.

Col reported to PCU Colorado (SSN 788) in October 2015 as executive officer.

Ashore, his assignments have included earning a Master of Science Degree in Engineering Acoustics from Naval Postgraduate School, and Naval Submarine School.

Chief of the Boat
ETVCM (SS) Freddie Richter was born in Garfield, New Jersey, and entered the Navy in May of 1999. Upon completion of recruit training at Great Lakes, Illinois and Basic Enlisted Submarine School (BESS) in Groton, Connecticut, he attended Electronics Technician “A” School in Groton.

His first operational command was onboard USS Honolulu (SSN 718) in Pearl Harbor, HI. Onboard Honolulu, he completed his submarine warfare qualification, two Western Pacific deployments and one U.S. Central Command deployment before attending Electronics Technician “C” School in Groton. Upon graduation, he transferred to the USS Helena (SSN 725) in April 2004 as the navigation leading petty officer. Following his tour onboard USS Helena, Richter reported to Submarine Learning Facility (SLF) in Norfolk in June 2006. It was on this tour where he was advanced to chief petty officer and qualified as a master training specialist.

Following his tour at SLF, he reported back to Pearl Harbor onboard the USS Hawaii (SSN 776) for duty as the assistant navigator. He completed two highly successful Western Pacific deployments, earned the 2010 and 2012 SUBRON 1 Battle “E”, two consecutive Red and Green Navigation “N”, advanced to the rank of senior chief petty officer and completed qualification as a chief of the boat.

In June 2013, he reported as the assistant navigator on the staff of Naval Submarine School where he trained future submarine assistant navigators while preparing 18 homeported submarines for deployment to the North Atlantic and Middle East area of responsibility and was advanced to master chief petty officer.

In November 2015, he was selected to serve as a chief of the boat, completed the Senior Enlisted Academy course and Command Master Chief/Chief of the Boat Capstone course before reporting to the PCU Colorado (SSN 788) in May 2016 as chief of the boat.

Ship’s Sponsor
Annie Mabus was born in Jackson, Mississippi. Early in her life, she moved with her family to Saudi Arabia when her father, former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, served as ambassador to the Kingdom. She returned to Mississippi for her schooling and remained there through high school. During that time, she also traveled, studying in France and seeing much of the world. Annie is a swimmer, who has competed throughout her life, winning a state championship as a high school junior.

Annie attended New York University, where she studied art history and studio art. She completed several internships at major art institutions, including The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art. She graduated with honors from NYU in 2014 and has remained in New York. After graduation, she was appointed VIP manager at the Museum of American Art’s summer music series, and currently assists an art and cultural advisor with international projects. Annie plans to attend graduate school and pursue a career in museum curation.

The Navy plays an immensely important role in Annie’ life. With her father’s appointment as secretary, Annie was welcomed into the Navy family and created life-long friendships with many Sailors and Marines. She was named an honorary member of the U. S. Naval Academy’s 23rd Company in recognition of her close connection with the academy and the Brigade of Midshipmen. Her place within the Navy family was cemented when she was named ship sponsor of Colorado, and she looks forward to a lifelong relationship with the submarine and its crew.

Commander, Submarine Forces/Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic
Commander, Allied Submarine Command
Vice Adm. Joseph Tofalo grew up in upstate New York and graduated with distinction from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. He also holds a Master of Science in Engineering Management from Catholic University of America. His father was a 35-year career naval officer and his mother, a Navy Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVE) – one of the first enlisted women in the Navy.

A career submarine officer, his at-sea assignments include: USS Flasher, USS Michigan and USS Montpelier. His at-sea command assignments were as commanding officer, USS Maine and commander, Submarine Squadron (COMSUBRON) 3.

Staff assignments include: three assignments on Commander, Submarine Forces staff; two assignments on Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces staff; four assignments on the chief of naval operations staff; U.S. Joint Forces Command; and the Joint Staff.

Selected for rear admiral in December 2009, his first flag assignment was as assistant deputy chief of staff for Global Force Management and Joint Operations, U.S. Fleet Forces Command. In August 2011, he relieved as commander, Submarine Group 10, and in December 2013 as director, Undersea Warfare on the chief of naval operations staff in the Pentagon.

Tofalo assumed his current duties in September 2015. As commander, Submarine Forces he is the Undersea Domain lead, and is responsible for the submarine force’s strategic vision. As commander, Submarine Force Atlantic, he commands all Atlantic-based U.S. submarines, their crews and supporting shore activities. These responsibilities also include duties as commander, Task Force (CTF) 144, CTF 84; commander, Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Forces Western Atlantic; and CTF 46. As commander, Allied Submarine Command, he provides advice to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Strategic Commanders on submarine related issues.

Naval Submarine Base New London Commanding Officer
Capt. Paul Whitescarver became the 51st commanding officer of Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton in December 2015.
A native of Roanoke, Virginia, Whitescarver enlisted in the Navy in August 1980, serving 11 years in the enlisted ranks before being selected for the Enlisted Commissioning Program. Graduating from Virginia Tech in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics, he then completed his initial officer nuclear power and submarine training.

At sea, he has served in the submarines USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul (SSN 708), USS Norfolk (SSN 714), and USS Alabama (SSBN 731). Whitescarver commanded USS Scranton (SSN 752) from 2009 to 2012.

Ashore, his assignments have included service on the Joint Staff and the Chief of Naval Operations staffs. On the Joint Staff, he was the executive assistant for the deputy for Force Application and director for Chemical, Radiological, Biological and Nuclear Defense in the Force Structure, Resources, and Assessment Directorate, J-8. On the CNO staff, he was Nuclear Enlisted Program and community manager for the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program for the Chief of Naval Personnel, N-1.

Prior to taking command of Naval Submarine Base New London, he most recently served of the staff of Commander, Submarine Forces Atlantic (CSL) in Norfolk, as the operations officer.

Among various personal and unit awards, Whitescarver was the recipient of the Naval Submarine League Charles Lockwood Award for Submarine Excellence in 2001. He is also a graduate of Naval Post Graduate School with a Master of Arts degree in National Security Affairs.

Boat’s Crest

USS Colorado's Crest

The crest of USS Colorado (SSN 788) is contained within the silhouette of the head of a charging mustang, symbolizing the determined nature of the great state of Colorado. This nature of unbridled determination will carry on in the attitude of the crew of Colorado. The fundamental elements of the background are derived from the state of Colorado. Above the waterline lies the white, snow-covered Rocky Mountains standing tall over the landscape and concealing destructive power within their icy ridges. These mountains represent the mighty and majestic nature of submarines. Upon the reflection in the water rests a submarine, representing USS Colorado, transiting forward, into the unknown. Along the collar of the horse lie seven stars that represent the Battle Stars awarded to the battleship USS Colorado (BB 45) for exemplary service in World War II, and reflect the spirit of excellence present in the crew aboard the new USS Colorado. Finally, the Latin motto, Terra Marique Indomila translates to “untamed by land and sea.” Although only three words and a straightforward translation, the motto actually has three distinct meanings:

  • Terra: Untamed by land throughout history
  • Marique: Untamed by the sea
  • Terra Marique Indomita

Together, the motto recognizes the spirit of USS Colorado, both the ship and her crew, a spirit that remains untamed by the rugged terrain and weather extremes of land, and untamed by the rough waves and dark depths of the sea.

From late 2014 into early 2015, the commissioning committee coordinated a competition to design the official crest of the USS Colorado. In April 2015, after receiving over 100 submissions from all across the world, the committee and the crew of PCU Colorado evaluated the submissions and ultimately selected the design of Michael F. Nielson, to serve as the ship’s official crest. After the selection, the designer was contacted to provide some personal background information and finalize the design. It was at that time the command and the committee learned that the designer was both a naval officer and Colorado native who was completing initial training for the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, and had orders to report to PCU Colorado. After completion of his training in October 2015, Lt. j.g. Nielson reported to PCU Colorado as one of the first two junior officers.

History

Evolution of Subs Infographic

The Traditions of Ship Commissionings

Ship Commissionings Infographic

Colorado I (Screw Frigate)

Colorado II (Armored Cruiser No. 7)

Colorado III (BB-45)


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PCU Colorado (SSN 788)

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

Judge Advocates, Then and Now

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By Rear Adm. John G. Hannink
Deputy Judge Advocate General of the Navy                                                                

Upon learning that the Navy’s Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps is only 50 years old, most people express surprise.

One could be forgiven for assuming the JAG Corps has been around for far longer. Since its inception Dec. 8, 1967, the JAG Corps has been essential to naval operations. Furthermore, the scope and breadth of advice has grown since our Corps’ foundation, to the point that we’re at today – where our personnel advise clients across the globe on matters that range from the most sensitive national security decisions, to individual legal services, to Sailors in need of our assistance.

Indeed, Navy judge advocates have long captured the public’s imagination. I am still asked regularly about the “JAG” television show and few have forgotten Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise sparring on the big screen in “A Few Good Men.” Their portrayals in popular culture have made judge advocates indelible symbols of naval service.

Some people also are surprised to learn that the first uniformed chief legal officer of the Navy was, in fact, a Marine. Col. William Butler Remey was assigned to the post in 1878 after convincing Congress that, like other branches of the military, the Navy needed a permanent JAG (e.g., the Navy had a “JAG” long before the JAG Corps).


GREAT LAKES, Ill. (February 8, 2016) – Lt. Kimberly Rios works on legal briefs for Naval Station Great Lakes Command Feb. 8. (U. S. Navy photo by Scott A. Thornbloom)

Remey actually argued that naval law was so unique that a line officer must serve as JAG. It wasn’t until 1950, nearly 75 years later, that the law required the JAG to be an attorney. In 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed legislation that formalized the creation of the JAG Corps.

Today, a half-century later, the JAG Corps is a very different organization. It has evolved in countless ways to meet the demands of a growing military and a more interconnected and complex world.

Judge advocates are now ever-present fixtures at most naval commands. And yet, I wonder how many Sailors have a comprehensive understanding of the myriad ways judge advocates support them and the Navy mission.

It’s impossible to capture everything the JAG Corps does in a single blog post. It is perhaps best to highlight our three core practice areas – the three ways in which we touch Sailors and their families every day.


PORT LOUIS, Mauritius (Feb. 3, 2017) Cmdr. Andrew Wilkes, a legal advisor assigned to U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, discusses the implementation of a United Nations security council resolution with Geeandeo Cheetamun, Mauritian chief inspector of police during Exercise Cutlass Express 2017. The exercise is sponsored by U.S. Africa Command and conducted by U.S. Naval Forces Africa to assess and improve combined maritime law enforcement capacity and promote national and regional security in East Africa. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Justin Stumberg/Released)

Our military justice team strives to help ensure good order and discipline, and protects the rights of all parties in judicial proceedings. Trial counsel, defense counsel, judges and victims legal counsel work tirelessly on behalf of Sailors and their families, and to protect the integrity of the military justice system.

Our operational lawyers provide commanders with accurate and responsive legal advice to support military operations and sound naval administration. We have attorneys specializing in maritime law, international law, environmental law and many other disciplines. Our judge advocates are on the cutting edge of many emerging issues, such as cyber warfare and special operations.

Do you need a will, help with your taxes or perhaps home-buying advice? Our legal assistance team supports the fleet by helping Sailors and their families resolve personal legal matters and to remain mission-ready. A judge advocate or civilian subject matter expert is standing by at any time to help Sailors with all their concerns and more.

Today, as it turns 50 years old, our JAG Corps is more versatile and more ingrained in naval operations than Remey, Johnson or any of the JAG Corps’ earliest members could have envisioned. Our judge advocates are making a meaningful impact on the Navy and on the lives of Sailors and their families. The future – the next 50 years – looks bright.


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Judge Advocates, Then and Now

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

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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Navy Comes to the Big Sky Country

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