Your Navy Operating Forward – Guam, Japan, Portugal

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PHILIPPINE SEA: Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Brian Bruni, from Kingston, Mass., signals an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter, assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 14, from the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Spruance (DDG 111) during a vertical replenishment with the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Guadalupe (T-AO 200). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ryan D. McLearnon/Released)



Right now your Navy is 100 percent on watch around the globe helping to preserve the American way of life. Whether it be operating and training off the coast of Spain or forward deployed to the Arabian Gulf, the flexibility and presence provided by our U.S. naval forces provides national leaders with great options for protecting and maintaining our national security and interests around the world. The imagery below highlights the Navy’s ability to provide those options by operating forward.


PHILIPPINE SEA: Ships attached to the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group and John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group transit the Philippine Sea during dual carrier operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kaila V. Peters/Released)

YOKOSUKA, Japan: The U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) crew, family, friends and honored guests attend the ship’s change of command ceremony onboard Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Marvin Thompson/Released)

PHILIPPINE SEA: Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Brian Bruni, from Kingston, Mass., signals an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter, assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 14, from the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Spruance (DDG 111) during a vertical replenishment with the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Guadalupe (T-AO 200). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ryan D. McLearnon/Re
leased)

ARABIAN GULF: The guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) flies the battle ensign and the flag of France during a three week integration of the French navy La Fayette-class frigate FS Courbet (F 712) with Task Force 55. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Clay/Released)

PHILIPPINE SEA: An F/A-18E Super Hornet, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 14, prepares to land on the flight deck aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Grant G. Grady/Released)

OKINAWA, Japan: Equipment Operator 3rd Class Alvis Fredereck, assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3, uses a front-end loader with a sweeper attachment to dump displaced sand that he swept up from a path that was rendered unusable onboard White Beach Naval Facility in Okinawa, Japan, as a result of a recent typhoon that impacted the island. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael Lopez/Released)

PHILIPPINE SEA: Ships attached to the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group and John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group transit the Philippine Sea during dual carrier operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kaila V. Peters/Released)

TURBO, Colombia: The hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) anchors off the coast of Colombia on an 11-week medical support mission to Central and South America as part of U.S. Southern Command’s Enduring Promise initiative. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Scott Bigley/Released)

PHILIPPINE SEA: Sailors prepare an F/A-18 Super Hornet, attached to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 115, for take-off from the flight deck of the forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during dual carrier operations with USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jason N. Tarleton/Released)

GUAM: Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Jose Garcia signals Landing Craft, Utility (LCU) 1634 to approach the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) with heavy equipment to transfer to the island of Saipan for Defense Support to Civil Authorities (DSCA) efforts. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Mortensen/Released)

PHILIPPINE SEA: The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) transits the Philippine Sea. John C. Stennis is underway and conducting operations in international waters as part of a dual carrier strike force exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Connor D. Loessin/Released)

ARABIAN GULF: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109), right, steams alongside the French navy La Fayette-class frigate FS Courbet (F 712) during a 3-week integration of the Courbet with Task Force 55. (U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Intelligence Speciliast Matt Bodenner/Released)

LISBON, Portugal: The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman prepares to get underway following a scheduled port visit in Lisbon, Portugal. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Victoria Sutton/Released)

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By Rear Adm. Dee Mewbourne Commander, Military Sealift Command As dawn broke over Machias Bay, …

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Your Navy Operating Forward – Guam, Japan, Portugal

Under Secretary Modly’s Remarks at USS Sioux City Commissioning

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Below are Under Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly’s remarks at the commissioning of USS Sioux City (LCS 11) at the U.S. Naval Academy, Nov. 17.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (Nov. 17, 2018) Under Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly delivers his speech to over 5,000 people during the commissioning ceremony of USS Sioux City (LCS 11). (U.S. Navy photo by Stacy Godfrey/Released)
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (Nov. 17, 2018) Under Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly delivers his speech to over 5,000 people during the commissioning ceremony of USS Sioux City (LCS 11). (U.S. Navy photo by Stacy Godfrey/Released)

Thank you, XO for that kind introduction.

Sen. Ernst, Adm. Richardson, Mrs. Winnefeld, Mayor Pro Tempore Don Moore and Sioux City Council members, Annapolis Mayor Buckley, Vice Adm. Carter, Rear Adm. Thorp, Siouxland Chamber of Commerce President Chris McGowan, Cmdr. Malone and Cmdr. O’Brien, officers and crew of the soon to be United States Ship Sioux City.

The great citizens of Sioux City and the broader Siouxland region; as well as our Annapolis hosts, distinguished guests, families and friends:

Good morning, and welcome to Annapolis!

On behalf of the 76th Secretary of our Navy, Richard V. Spencer, I am privileged to welcome you to this historic event, the commissioning of a major warship at the United States Naval Academy.

This beautiful piece of American history, known as the “Yard,” is where naval service began for me, and for so many others who are with us today.

It is a perfect setting to renew the cycle of service once more, when soon, a new, courageous, ready and able crew will sally forth to all corners of the world, defending our nation from those who would threaten us, and deterring all others from even thinking about it.

This bold new crew will ensure freedom of navigation and freedom of trade for our citizenry, and offer ready partnership for all who believe in their hearts, as we have since the American Revolution; that individual liberty is at the core of human progress and prosperity – and that it must be protected by people willing to fight for it.

This ship, and this crew, will go from this place, just as so many of us have, to serve the nation in places far, far away from here.

During that process, they will build relationships with partners and allies who have a common goal in mind: Peace.

As I look back on my own career, I can anticipate that journey for Sioux City, and I am excited by it because you never know where those relationships will lead.

In my own case, through the Navy, I have connected with, and developed friendships, with Sailors from countries all over the world. It is one of the great satisfactions of service in the United States Navy.

And today, it is brought to light in a particularly personal way for me as one of my flight school classmates from Pensacola, a former helicopter pilot like me, and former Italian naval officer by the name of Dario Deste, is president and CEO of Fincantieri USA, who I know wishes he could witness this historic event in person.

MARINETTE, Wis. (Feb. 19, 2014) Mary Winnefeld, center left, wife of Adm. James Winnefeld Jr., the vice chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, watches as her initials are welded into the keel of the future littoral combat ship USS Sioux City (LCS 11). (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin/Released)
MARINETTE, Wis. (Feb. 19, 2014) Mary Winnefeld, center left, wife of Adm. James Winnefeld Jr., the vice chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, watches as her initials are welded into the keel of the future littoral combat ship USS Sioux City (LCS 11). (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin/Released)

As you all know, the great men and women of Fincantieri in Wisconsin built this fine ship and delivered it to the United States Navy.

Serving together again as we commission her into service is a scenario that neither Dario nor I would have likely imagined in 1984 in Pensacola, but it is a vivid example of how service binds us together across national boundaries – and how it must continue to do so to maintain mutual commitments to peace and security.

It is truly a great day to be an American, and a great day to celebrate a great American hometown, while being hosted by another one. To the many Siouxlanders who have traveled from the Midwest, over 500 of you, thank you so much for being here and for representing your city and your love and pride for this ship and its crew.

With the help of Rear Adm. Frank Thorp, a native of the City of Annapolis, and the sponsoring spirit of Mrs. Mary Winnefeld, a true servant leader who has led our joint forces and families for decades along with her husband, Sandy, the people of Sioux City have made this commissioning event a model for how to do it right.

As some of you may know, I recently had the honor of announcing that one of our future LCS ships would be named for my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio.

And I know Sandy Winnefeld was once the commanding officer of the last USS Cleveland, another personal reminder of the many deep connections that reach across the years and throughout our Navy.

In fact, there is a small delegation here from Cleveland this weekend because they wanted to be here to see how to commission a ship with all the class and dignity, and fun, that it deserves.

Sioux City has truly stepped up as a community and have demonstrated what it means to be the “proud parents” of this ship.

Just like today, the people of Siouxland have come together on countless occasions: in times of plenty, as their indomitable role as one of the nation’s leading providers of beef and pork, feeding Americans and the world.

They also lead the way in coming together in times of tragedy, as in the horrible crash landing of Flight 232 in July 1989; when Sioux Cityians showed the world how their expert care and compassion saved 185 people from an aircraft that lost primary, secondary, and tertiary means of flight control.

There is a timeless picture, placed in Dahlgren Hall today, which I know many of you have seen, for it was published in just about every national and world newspaper the next day.

In that famous photo, Iowa Air National Guard A-7 pilot Denny Nielsen is carrying a child out of the wreckage.

When asked about it, he spoke for all of Siouxland when he said, “God saved the child. I just carried him.”

Just like that day in 1989, when we launch this ship into the deeper blue waters of the Chesapeake and the farther beyond, her crew will always know who is carrying them – who is with them every nautical mile and to every corner of the ocean, whether in peace or war.

Finally, let me say something I personally know about the people of Iowa, and why they are such a fitting citizenry to have their name carried by this ship.

In 1950, my mother and grandfather escaped war ravaged Eastern Europe for the promise of a new life in the United States.

They waited for sponsorship for several years, and when it finally came, it came from a family and a Lutheran Church in the great state of Iowa, in the small city of Waverly, some 200 miles east of Sioux City.

They came here with essentially nothing, but were embraced by many Iowans who gave them respect and dignity, helped them earn their citizenship;

But more importantly, helped them earn a future for themselves – and ultimately a future for me and my own family. I am forever indebted to Iowans for this act of selfless service to others.

GROTON, Conn. (Nov. 9, 2018) The littoral combat ship Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Sioux City (LCS 11) transits the Thames River for a scheduled port visit to Naval Submarine Base New London. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Latrice Jackson/Released)
GROTON, Conn. (Nov. 9, 2018) The littoral combat ship Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Sioux City (LCS 11) transits the Thames River for a scheduled port visit to Naval Submarine Base New London. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Latrice Jackson/Released)

Just as Iowans reached across a vast ocean to embrace refugees from World War II like my mother, the USS Sioux City will carry the spirit of Siouxland, and of Iowa, far beyond the banks of this river to people all over the world. In her they will see the strength and goodwill of this nation.

They will see what we see embodied every day in the warm, welcoming and gracious spirit of Iowans:

A spirit that opened its arms for my mother, and inspires the rest of us to serve others, and to serve causes greater than ourselves.

Thank you for being here today, may God bless the people of Sioux City Iowa and the magnificent crew that will breathe life into this ship. We all know that this crew and the citizens of Sioux City will never, ever give up the ship!

May God continue to bless the United States Navy and the Sailors and Marines who go into harm’s way every day to keep us safe and free.

Go Navy. Go Sioux City. And of course, as always, beat Army. Thank you very much.


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Under Secretary Modly’s Remarks at USS Sioux City Commissioning

Your Navy Operating Forward – East China Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Caribbean Sea

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ARABIAN GULF: The guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109), front, is underway alongside the French navy frigate FS Courbet (F712) and a French AS-565 Panther helicopter during a three-week integration of Courbet with Task Force 55. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Clay/Released)



Right now your Navy is 100 percent on watch around the globe helping to preserve the American way of life. Whether it be operating and training off the coast of Spain or forward deployed to the Arabian Gulf, the flexibility and presence provided by our U.S. naval forces provides national leaders with great options for protecting and maintaining our national security and interests around the world. The imagery below highlights the Navy’s ability to provide those options by operating forward.


PHILIPPINE SEA: An E-2D Hawkeye launches off the flight deck of the Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during exercise Keen Sword 19. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kyleigh Williams/Released)

SOUDA BAY, Greece: Sailors assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) pose for a command photo during the ship’s port visit to Naval Station Souda Bay, Greece, Nov. 8, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan U. Kledzik/Released)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: The San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Anchorage (LPD 23) transits the Mediterranean Sea, Nov. 5, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ryan M. Breeden/Released)

MANAMA, Bahrain: Salvage operations specialists from Naval Sea Systems Command deploy a Class-V ocean skimmer onboard Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain during an emergency spill response demonstration. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Eric S. Garst/Released)

ARABIAN GULF: The guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109), front, is underway alongside the French navy frigate FS Courbet (F712) and a French AS-565 Panther helicopter during a three-week integration of Courbet with Task Force 55. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Clay/Released)

PHILIPPINE SEA: The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), left, and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopter destroyer JS Hyuga (DDH 181), right, are underway in formation with 16 other ships from the U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) during Keen Sword 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kaila V. Peters/Released)

SOUDA BAY, Greece: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) departs Naval Station Souda Bay, Greece, following a scheduled port visit, Nov. 8, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan U. Kledzik/Released)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: An AH–1Z Viper helicopter, attached to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 166 (Reinforced), flies above the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Anchorage (LPD 23) in the Mediterranean Sea, Nov. 1, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ryan M. Breeden/Released)

ARABIAN GULF: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Decatur (DDG 73), left, and the U.S. Coast Guard Island-class patrol cutter USCGC Monomoy (WPB 1326) transit the Arabian Gulf during exercise Eastern Sailor 19. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Samantha P. Montenegro/Released)

EAST CHINA SEA: The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) prepares to come alongside the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Tippecanoe (T-AO 199) for a replenishment-at-sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sarah Myers/Released)

PHILIPPINE SEA: The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), left, and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopter destroyer JS Hyuga (DDH 181), right, are underway in formation with 16 other ships from the U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) as aircraft from the U.S. Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force fly overhead in formation during Keen Sword 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Erwin Jacob V. Miciano/Released)

CARIBBEAN SEA: The dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS William McLean (T-AKE 12) conducts a replenishment-at-sea with the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) to bring on fuel. Comfort is on an 11-week medical support mission to Central and South America as part of the U.S. Southern Command Enduring Promise initiative. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Benjamin T. Liston/Released)

ARABIAN GULF: Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Brandon Taylor, left, fires a .50-caliber machine gun under the instruction of Gunner’s Mate 1st Class Griffin Vancil during a live-fire exercise aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Clay/Released)

WATERS OFF THE COAST OF SAIPAN: The amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) heads to Saipan for Defense Support to Civil Authorities (DSCA) relief efforts. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Mortensen/Released)

PHILIPPINE SEA: The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) cruises in formation with other ships from the U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) during Keen Sword 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Timothy M. Black/Released)

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Your Navy Operating Forward – East China Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Caribbean Sea

Your Navy Operating Forward – Genkai Sea, Norwegian Sea, Philippine Sea

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NORWEGIAN SEA: An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28 approaches for a landing aboard the command and control ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20), Oct. 27, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James R. Turner/Released)



Right now your Navy is 100 percent on watch around the globe helping to preserve the American way of life. Whether it be operating and training off the coast of Spain or forward deployed to the Arabian Gulf, the flexibility and presence provided by our U.S. naval forces provides national leaders with great options for protecting and maintaining our national security and interests around the world. The imagery below highlights the Navy’s ability to provide those options by operating forward.


NORWEGIAN SEA: Landing craft air cushion 84, assigned to Assault Craft Unit 4 and attached to the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21), transits the Norwegian Sea, Nov. 1, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Lydon Schwartz/Released)

GENKAI SEA: Sailors prepare to lower a float during a mine sweeping training evolution aboard the Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship USS Chief (MCM 14). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jordan Crouch/Released)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) transits the Mediterranean Sea, Oct. 30, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan U. Kledzik/Released)

PHILIPPINE SEA: Sailors assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit 5, fast rope from an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter, assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat (HSC) 12, aboard the forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during exercise Keen Sword 19. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Erwin Jacob V. Miciano/Released)

HELL, Norway: An M1A1 Abrams traverses a medium girder bridge assembled by Seabees from Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 1 and Marines from the 8th Engineer Support Battalion in Hell, Norway, during exercise Trident Juncture 2018, Oct. 21, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Jeffrey J. Pierce/Released)

NORWEGIAN SEA: An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28 approaches for a landing aboard the command and control ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20), Oct. 27, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James R. Turner/Released)

WATERS SOUTH OF JAPAN: A Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine participates in Exercise Keen Sword with Submarine Group 7 and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Sailors and staff. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Electronics Technician (Radioman) Robert Gulini/Released)

NORTH SEA: The guided-missile destroyer USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98) fires its MK 45 5-inch gun as part of a live-fire exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Raymond Maddocks/Released)

PHILIPPINE SEA: Sailors perform preflight checks on an E/A-18G Growler on the flight deck of the forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during exercise Keen Sword 19, Nov. 1, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class MacAdam Kane Weissman/Released)

NORWEGIAN SEA: The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) pulls alongside the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Big Horn (T-AO 198) for a replenishment-at-sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Joseph A.D. Phillips/Released)

OKINAWA, Japan: Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Nayyaamunhotep Stubbs signals landing craft utility 1633 to approach the well deck of the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) to receive equipment for Defense Support to Civil Authorities (DSCA) efforts off the coast of Okinawa, Japan, Oct. 29, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Mortensen/Released)

ALVUND, Norway: Marines and Sailors offload light armored vehicles, attached to 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, from a landing craft air cushion in Alvund, Norway, during an amphibious landing in support of exercise Trident Juncture 2018, Oct. 30, 2018. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Margaret Gale/Released)

NORWEGIAN SEA: The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) pulls alongside the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Big Horn (T-AO 198) for a replenishment-at-sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Joseph A.D. Phillips/Released)

ARABIAN GULF: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) fires its M45 5-inch gun as part of a live-fire exercise, Nov. 2, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Intelligence Specialist Matt Bodenner/Released)

NORWEGIAN SEA: The Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) transits the Alvund Fjord, Oct. 31, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kevin Leitner/Released)

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Your Navy Operating Forward – Genkai Sea, Norwegian Sea, Philippine Sea

Aegis Integration and Wayne E. Meyer

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

On Sept. 13, we welcomed USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) to her new homeport here at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.


The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) and its crew arrive to their new homeport at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Corwin M. Colbert/Released)

USS Wayne E. Meyer is named for Rear Adm. Meyer, considered the father of Aegis, our Navy’s centralized, automated, command-and-control radar and computerized weapon control system. It’s the Navy’s universal – and integrated – computerized system aboard our guided-missile cruisers and destroyers, including USS Wayne E. Meyer.

Brought to life by Meyer and his team in the early 70s, the Aegis combat system is able to detect threats from all around our ships – as many as 250 targets at the same time. Aegis can detect enemy threats in the air nearly 300 miles away.


Rear Admiral Wayne E. Meyer, USN (covered)

Our leaders, from the chief of naval operations to the fleet and type commanders, remind us we steam today in a fast-paced, complex and frequently uncertain world. It’s a world with evolving threats and unpredictable potential adversaries. That’s one reason we can be extremely grateful for the steady and extremely capable Aegis system.

Meyer developed the system while director of surface warfare at the then-new Naval Sea Systems Command. It was just at the end of the Vietnam War but still in the heat of the Cold War, when Meyer brought together a team of top-notch engineers, his “true believers” – STEM volunteers who were willing to stake their reputations on making Aegis a reality.

Meyers integrated women on his team because he saw their skills and ability as well as their determination as members of his team.


Sailors assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) fire a Mark 38 25mm machine gun system during a live-fire exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kelsey L. Adams/Released)

He and his volunteers believed in the mission, and their hard work paid off for generations who followed.

The women and men aboard the USS Wayne E. Meyer are also volunteers – professionals who can lead, serve with integrity, rise to a challenge together and critically self-assess their performance. They are committed to continuous improvement and warfighting readiness in service to our nation.

Over the past two years DDG-108 conducted two deployments to the western Pacific, leading the fight for the Carl Vinson Strike Group. In 2017, USS Wayne E. Meyer served as air and missile defense Commander to ensure the safety of the strike group for its six-month deployment. During the 2017 deployment, DDG-108 conducted exercises and drills with key allied partners, the Republic of Korea Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.


The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108), foreground, transits the East China Sea with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Murasame-class destroyer JS Samidare (DD 106), right, and the aircraft USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70).  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean M. Castellano/Released)

In March 2018, USS Wayne E. Meyer and USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) made a historic port visit to Da Nang, Vietnam – the first time a U.S. aircraft carrier visited the country since the end of the Vietnam War in 1973. That was the same year coincidentally – 45 years ago –  that Meyer and his team installed Aegis installed aboard the first test ship, USS Norton Sound (AVM 1).


Sailors assigned to Carl Vinson Strike Group participate in stilt walking during a visit to SOS Children’s Village as part of a community service event during a port visit in Da Nang, Vietnam. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Daniel P. Jackson Norgart/Released)

Today, our Navy continues to develop, test and deploy innovative systems on our ships here in the Pacific, including those on the Pearl Harbor waterfront. Aegis continues to evolve as well, embracing new changes in technology. Increasingly, we are also embracing the potential and need for Aegis Ashore.

With the arrival of USS Wayne E. Meyer, named for the “father of Aegis,” to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, we see a dedicated commitment to integrating and maintaining the most technologically advanced ships in the Pacific with updated and advanced capabilities.

I join with the rest of our region/MIDPAC team in welcoming – and integrating – the Sailors and families of USS Wayne E. Meyer as the newest member in our ohana.

Editor’s note: This is the eleventh in a series of namesake blogs by Rear Adm. Brian Fort highlighting the surface ships homeported at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.


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Aegis Integration and Wayne E. Meyer

Your Navy Operating Forward – Gulf of Aden, Caribbean Sea, Philippine Sea

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Right now your Navy is 100 percent on watch around the globe helping to preserve the American way of life. Whether it be operating and training off the coast of Spain or forward deployed to the Arabian Gulf, the flexibility and presence provided by our U.S. naval forces provides national leaders with great options for protecting and maintaining our national security and interests around the world. The imagery below highlights the Navy’s ability to provide those options by operating forward.


CARTAGENA, Colombia: A landing craft utility attached to Beachmaster Unit 2 prepares to land on the beach in Cartagena, Colombia for a humanitarian assistance training exercise during UNITAS 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Colbey Livingston/Released)

GULF OF ADEN: The dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Alan Shepard (TAK-E 3) transits the Gulf of Aden while conducting a vertical replenishment with the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) during a scheduled deployment of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matthew Freeman)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) transits the Mediterranean Sea, Sept. 3, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan U. Kledzik/Released)

GULF OF ADEN: The Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) transits the Gulf of Aden during a vertical replenishment while on a scheduled deployment of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matthew Freeman/Released)

CARIBBEAN SEA: U.S. Soldiers fast-rope onto the flight deck of the Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) during UNITAS 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Colbey Livingston/Released)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: Sailors remove chocks and chains from an MH-60R Seahawk helicopter, assigned to the “Vipers” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM 48), on the flight deck of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64), Sept. 3, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan U. Kledzik/Released)

GULF OF ADEN: The Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) transits the Gulf of Aden during a vertical replenishment while on a scheduled deployment of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matthew Freeman)

SOUDA BAY, Greece: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) arrives in Souda Bay, Greece, Sept. 2, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan U. Kledzik/Released)

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia: The guided-missile destroyer USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) transits the Atlantic Ocean en route to Halifax, Nova Scotia, for a port visit. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin Yarborough/Released)

PHILIPPINE SEA: An AS-332 Super Puma helicopter transports stores during a vertical replenishment between the dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Wally Schirra (T-AKE 8) and the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1). (U.S. Navy photo illustration by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel Barker/Released)

U.S. 7TH FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS: A Royal Brunei navy boarding team approaches a vessel while participating in a visit, board, search and seizure practical scenario training during Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) 2018. (U.S. photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Micah Blechner/Released)

PHILIPPINE SEA: An AS-332 Super Puma helicopter takes off from the flight deck of the dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Wally Schirra (T-AKE 8) during a replenishment-at-sea with the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) in the Philippine Sea, Sept. 7, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Taylor King/Releaed)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) fires its 5-inch gun during a gunnery exercise with the Egyptian Naval Force and Hellenic navy while participating in Exercise Bright Star 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan U. Kledzik/Released)

GULF OF ADEN: An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter attached to the Blackjacks of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21 offloads supplies from the dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Alan Shepard (TAK-E 3) while participating in an underway replenishment with the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) during a scheduled deployment of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Chandler Harrell)

PHILIPPINE SEA: An MV-22 Osprey, assigned to the “Flying Tigers” of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 262, approaches the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) during flight operations in the Philippine Sea, Sept. 8, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel Barker/Released)

GULF OF ADEN: The Whidbey Island-class amphibious landing dock ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47) transits alongside the replenishment oiler USNS Laramie (T-AO 203), during a replenishment-at-sea, while on a scheduled deployment with the Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brandon Williams-Church/Released)

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“Faces of the Fleet” is a collection of images of Sailors serving our country in …

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Your Navy Operating Forward – Gulf of Aden, Caribbean Sea, Philippine Sea

USS Michael Murphy the Protector

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

Lt. Michael P. Murphy, namesake of our USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112), was tough – physically, mentally and morally.

From an early age he was known as “the Protector.” He looked out for others, whether family, friends or strangers. According to his parents, Maureen and Dan Murphy, of Patchogue, New York, he had a strong understanding of right and wrong and was a natural leader at an early age.


SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy, from Patchogue, N.Y. Murphy was killed by enemy forces during a reconnaissance mission, Operation Red Wings, June 28, 2005, while leading a four-man team tasked with finding a key Taliban leader in the mountainous terrain near Asadabad, Afghanistan. (U. S. Navy photo/Released)

His best friend, Owen O’Callaghan, was assigned to New York’s Engine 53 Ladder 43 fire station, which responded to the attacks of September 11, 2001. Lt. Murphy, along with members of his Navy SEAL team, wore the firefighters’ patch as a sign of solidarity in their fight against terrorists.

The crest of USS Michael Murphy is inspired by the design in the firefighting company’s patch. And, firefighters of Ladder 53 Engine 43 wear the Navy SEAL patch in return.

Nearly all Sailors – and many civilians – know the story of Lt. Michael Murphy and his awesome courage as he fought and died to save his fellow SEALs in Afghanistan, June 28, 2005.

Outnumbered and severely wounded in combat he purposely exposed himself to enemy fire to call in assistance for his team.

For his unwavering selfless courage Murphy received the Medal of Honor, awarded posthumously. We honor and remember his toughness – and his fairness.


The Medal of Honor rests on a flag beside a SEAL trident during preparations for an award ceremony for Lt. Michael P. Murphy. Murphy was killed by enemy forces during a reconnaissance mission, Operation Red Wings, June 28, 2005, while leading a four-man team tasked with finding a key Taliban leader in the mountainous terrain near Asadabad, Afghanistan. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brandan W. Schulze/Released)

Lt. Murphy’s memory continues to inspire Sailors who serve and “lead the fight” aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Murphy, homeported at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

USS Michael Murphy has deployed three times in the past year, including with both Carl Vinson Strike Group and the Wasp Expeditionary Strike Group.

Last year, Michael Murphy spent more than 200 days underway in the U.S. 3rd Fleet and U.S. 7th Fleet operating areas, conducted eight port visits in five countries and steamed 60,000 nautical miles.


Sailors aboard the Arleigh Burke-Class guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) prepare to participate in a fueling-at-sea with the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jasen Morenogarcia/Released)

In 2018 Michael Murphy conducted South China Sea operations; making port visits to Guam and Manila, Republic of the Philippines and conducting Oceania Maritime Security Initiative operations with a U.S. Coast Guard detachment to protect fishing areas and enforce maritime laws.

Recently, Sailors of Michael Murphy represented the Navy at Fleet Week in Portland, Oregon before returning and deploying again.

During Fleet Weeks, the men and women of DDG-112 provided ship tours to thousands of people, including young people who had an opportunity to learn about namesake Navy SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy.

In recent weeks we learned that a 14-year-old boy desecrated a memorial plaque in Lt. Michael P. Murphy Park in Lake Ronkonkoma, New York.


The guided-missile destroyer Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Michael Murphy (DDG 112) makes its way through New York Harbor in preparation for its commissioning Oct. 6. The new destroyer honors the late Lt. (SEAL) Michael P. Murphy, a New York native. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Erik Swanson/Released)

While some people reacted with anger and hate, I was heartened to see the reaction of Michael’s parents, Dan and Maureen Murphy. Maureen is USS Michael Murphy’s sponsor.

Maureen Murphy said, “The boy who did this, he’s a child. He did something foolish. And everybody has done something foolish when they’re younger.” Michael’s father, Dan Murphy, said, “Michael was the type of person who would have wanted to take this person under his wing and talk to him. I hope they educate this young man.”

This kind of understanding, forgiveness and compassion is another kind of toughness, a kind all leaders need. It’s easy to see how their son grew to be the man he became.

In “Seal of Honor” author Gary Williams writes, “Michael was able to see both the good and bad in people … He inherently believed the best in people and always gave them the benefit of any doubt.”

When Michael was in the eighth grade – around the age of the teen who vandalized the plaque – he saw a group of boys bullying a special education student, trying to push the child into a locker. Michael stood up to them and got in a fight with several of them. It would not be the last time he would step up to bullies and lead the fight.

That’s when he earned the nickname “the Protector.”

Today, Sailors aboard USS Michael Murphy protect and defend our nation as part of Navy’s living legacy, dedicated to providing security and stability in the name of freedom.


The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) transits the Philippine Sea . (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Daniel M. Young/Released)


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USS Michael Murphy the Protector

Forged and Ready: Chung-Hoon Legacy

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

Those who adapt can overcome.

Consider the namesake of our Pearl Harbor-homeported USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93), Rear Adm. Gordon Paiea Chung-Hoon.

Forged from the sea and seasoned in war, Chung-Hoon was a lieutenant assigned to USS Arizona (BB 39), Dec. 7, 1941. He was on a weekend pass that Sunday when Oahu was attacked and his ship was sunk.

In 1942, Chung-Hoon served aboard the light cruiser USS Honolulu (CL 48) and participated in some of the fiercest fighting in the war in the South Pacific, including in the Solomons.

Gordor Pai'ea Chung-Hoon
Gordor Pai’ea Chung-Hoon

In 1944, Chung-Hoon took command of USS Sigsbee (DD 502), a destroyer assigned with Carrier Task Force 58 off the coast of Japan.

On April 14, 1945, Sigsbee – along with seven Fletcher Class destroyers, steamed to picket stations, making them prime targets for nearly two dozen kamikaze (“divine wind”) suicide planes that attacked their ships.

One kamikaze got through Sigsbee’s fierce antiaircraft guns, missed the bridge, but smashed into the ship’s stern. The massive explosion destroyed a big section of the stern, knocked out the port engine and steering, and caused flooding in the aft third of the ship. In the midst of the chaos, Skipper Chung-Hoon’s loud voice came through, according to one witness: “Steady, gang.”

He led the crew in response to the attack, jettisoning damaged equipment and personally leading a repair crew to assess damage and seal and shore the after solid bulkhead. Twenty-two Sailors were killed that day, and 75 were wounded.

Chung-Hoon rose to the challenge in a crisis. He adapted, overcame and persevered. Rather than abandoning his damaged ship, he chose to save it and the Sailors he led. His Sailors kept up a steady rate of “prolonged and effective gunfire,” as described in his Navy Cross citation.

Today, USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) continues to build on their namesake’s legacy of toughness and sustainability. In the last two years, DDG-93 won the Secretary of the Navy Safety Excellence Award for afloat units, a Battle “E,” and a Green “H.”

PHILIPPINE SEA (March 29, 2016) Sailors from supply department aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) form an "E" on the flight deck to commemorate their earning of the Supply "Blue E" award. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Marcus L. Stanley/Released)
PHILIPPINE SEA (March 29, 2016) Sailors from supply department aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) form an “E” on the flight deck to commemorate their earning of the Supply “Blue E” award. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Marcus L. Stanley/Released)

Sailors aboard USS Chung-Hoon are excelling in performance, and it shows in promotions. Three Sailors were picked up for officer programs in 2017, and this year one senior chief frocked to master chief, five chiefs to senior chief, and 28 petty officers frocked to their next paygrade.

Last month, Chung-Hoon completed their naval surface fire support. Undersea warfare self-assessments will soon be underway executing their final certifications.

Most importantly, Chung-Hoon Sailors are focused on the main thing, warfighting readiness. They, like our other ready Sailors on the Pearl Harbor waterfront, have a sense of urgency.

They know they can adapt and overcome.

Rear Adm. Chung-Hoon, who fought both in World War II and in the Korean War, was part of a tough generation who helped freedom triumph over fascism.

His Sailors knew him for his calm humility and mastery of his ship’s systems, committed to the essentials of seamanship.

Chung-Hoon was born July 25, 1910. He became the first American admiral in the United States Navy of Chinese and Native Hawaiian ancestry and the first of his heritage to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy. After a distinguished military and civilian career of service, he died one day before his 69th birthday, July 24, 1979, and is buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, “Punchbowl.”

On September 18, 2004, the Navy commissioned USS Chung-Hoon here at Pearl Harbor.

U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. Walter F. Doran said, “This is truly a great day for the United States, for the United States Navy, for the State of Hawaii and, I know, for the Chung-Hoon family. I’m confident the officers and men of this ship will be ready for any challenge.”

Rear Adm. Chung-Hoon’s niece, Michelle Punana Chung-Hoon, a good friend of the Navy, gave the commissioning order: “Sea warriors, man our ship and bring her to life!”

World War II Medal of Honor recipient Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, a leader who knew about adapting and overcoming adversity, served as keynote speaker at the commissioning.

“It is fitting that the ship that carries his name will be home-ported here in the same harbor where the Arizona memorial commemorates his fallen shipmates,” Inouye said.

PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 19, 2015) Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) heave line during an underway replenishment. Chung-Hoon was undergoing a composite training unit exercise and joint task force exercise, the final step in certifying to deploy. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Marcus L. Stanley/Released)
PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 19, 2015) Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) heave line during an underway replenishment. Chung-Hoon was undergoing a composite training unit exercise and joint task force exercise, the final step in certifying to deploy. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Marcus L. Stanley/Released)


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Forged and Ready: Chung-Hoon Legacy

Your Navy Operating Forward –

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PHILIPPINE SEA: An E-2D Hawkeye, assigned to Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 125, lands on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kenneth Abbate/Released)



Right now your Navy is 100 percent on watch around the globe helping to preserve the American way of life. Whether it be operating and training off the coast of Spain or forward deployed to the Arabian Gulf, the flexibility and presence provided by our U.S. naval forces provides national leaders with great options for protecting and maintaining our national security and interests around the world. The imagery below highlights the Navy’s ability to provide those options by operating forward.


BALTIC SEA: The Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) participates in a multinational ship formation during the celebration of the Polish navy’s 100th birthday. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Dengrier M. Baez/Released)

PHILIPPINE SEA: An E-2D Hawkeye, assigned to Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 125, lands on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kenneth Abbate/Released)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: Sailors assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) maneuver a rigid-hull inflatable boat during a visit, board, search and seizure drill. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alyssa Weeks/Released)

SEA OF JAPAN: Sailors assigned to the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54) stand by to receive supplies during a replenishment-at-sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class William McCann/Released)

U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS: Sgt. Andrew Mocarski, a crew chief assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 162 (Reinforced), 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) looks out of a CH-53E Super Stallion before landing aboard the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7). (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jon Sosner/Released)

SOUTH CHINA SEA: USS Mustin (DDG 89) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, conducts a replenishment-at-sea with the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Tippecanoe (T-AO 199). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sonja Wickard/Released)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) fires its 5-inch gun during a live-fire exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ford Williams/Released)

ARABIAN GULF: The Cyclone-class coastal patrol ship USS Hurricane (PC 3) executes tactical maneuvers at sea with the Qatari Emiri navy ship Damsah (Q01) during a bilateral passing exercise. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

BOSPHORUS STRAIT: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) transits the Bosphorus Strait. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ford Williams/Released)

PHILIPPINE SEA: An F/A-18F Super Hornet, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 102, launches from the flight deck of the Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kenneth Abbate)

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Your Navy Operating Forward –

Let RIMPAC 2018 Be ‘Our Finest Hour’

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

The Rim of the Pacific Exercise is the world’s largest maritime exercise. It happens right on our doorstep once every two years. The Navy’s 26th RIMPAC starts here next week, hosted by Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet and led by Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet.

We are welcoming visiting ships and participants from 26 nations who are bringing 25,000 personnel to Hawaii – to the best homeport and duty station in the world. What better place to come together in peace to build cooperation than Pearl Harbor!


The aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) passes the USS Arizona Memorial as the ship arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Katarzyna Kobiljak/Released)

In 2002 I participated in RIMPAC here as executive officer aboard USS Port Royal (CG 73). It was exhilarating, challenging and extremely rewarding, and it happened at a historic time for our Navy and nation: one year after 9/11.

Lessons I learned and friendships I forged 16 years ago during RIMPAC 2002 continue to guide me today. At each RIMPAC our Navy trains with friends, partners and colleagues to be capable, adaptive, innovative and ready.

From Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, RIMPAC participants deploy to train at Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands, and in and around the Hawaiian Islands. The people of Hawaii understand and support our need for realistic training with our partners.


Military members and civilians wait for a performance during a 4th of July celebration at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam during Rim of the Pacific 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Katarzyna Kobiljak)

RIMPAC offers relevant and realistic training that fosters and sustains cooperative relationships. During RIMPAC in 2002 I learned quickly that when we understand each other we can prevent miscalculations. We can build trust. We can preserve peace and prevent conflict.

History shows us that our former adversaries can become steadfast friends. Japan, Germany and Vietnam are among the participants in RIMPAC 2018.

This past Tuesday our shipmate, retired Chief Boatswain’s Mate Ray Emory, a Pearl Harbor Survivor, visited the Pearl Harbor waterfront to see once again where his ship, USS Honolulu, was berthed Dec. 7, 1941, the day Oahu was attacked.

Chief Emory fought back that day, manning his machinegun, taking on enemy planes. He continued to fight on throughout the War in the Pacific. He and his buddies, with help from the home front, helped create an unprecedented era of peace, stability and prosperity. Victory at the end of World War II was Ray’s finest hour.


Retired Chief Boatswain’s Mate and Pearl Harbor survivor Ray Emory, left, is presented with a shadow box containing a POW/MIA flag by Jim Taylor, Navy Region Hawaii Pearl Harbor survivor liaison, during a farewell ceremony held before he departs Hawaii to be with family.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin Pacheco/Released)

Ray, a long-time resident of Hawaii, is leaving Hawaii for the mainland next week – two days before the start of RIMPAC. He said it was his last time to visit Pearl Harbor.

It was my honor to be there to shake his hand and thank him for his service.

Sailors aboard USS O’Kane, berthed nearby, and Sailors from throughout our waterfront, who are getting ready for next week’s exercise, came to salute and pay tribute to Ray. They manned the rails, formed an honor cordon, saluted, and shouted “hip, hip, hooray” to this American hero.


Hawaii-area Sailors render honors to retired Chief Boatswain’s Mate and Pearl Harbor survivor Ray Emory during a farewell ceremony held before he departs Hawaii to be with family.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin Pacheco/Released)

When the call came in 1941, Ray Emory and hundreds of thousands of other young Americans responded. They proved they were capable, adaptive, innovative and ready. Working with Allies and partners they fought to create a better world for our grandparents, parents, ourselves and our families.

We do not take their sacrifice and commitment for granted. We remember.

At this moment in history, in this sacred location, let us – each of us – remember the heroes who forged the future. Let us dedicate ourselves to having another exciting, safe and rewarding RIMPAC this summer. Let us commit to superior training, cooperation and readiness, building partnerships, and strengthening friendships.

Let this RIMPAC be our finest hour in 2018.

Editor’s note: Pearl Harbor is where ships from 26 nations are gathering to participate soon in the Rim of the Pacific Exercise. Most of the exercise will occur in and around the Hawaiian Islands.


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Let RIMPAC 2018 Be ‘Our Finest Hour’