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)

Tell us which photo best shows YOUR Navy Operating Forward !


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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’

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

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

Third Optimized Fleet Response Plan Carrier Strike Group Returns Home

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

After completing a seven-month deployment in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operations in support of maritime theater security operations and flying missions supporting Operation Inherent Resolve over the skies of Iraq and Syria, the ships and squadrons of the USS George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group returned safely home.

Thousands of friends and family members lined the piers of Naval Station Norfolk to welcome home more than 6,000 strike group Sailors! More than 300 Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8 aircrew flew home to cheering, flag-waving crowds in Norfolk, Oceana, Mayport and Whidbey Island.

While deployed, CVW-8 and USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) launched 11,437 sorties, completed 1,924 combat missions. With flawless execution the aviators successfully delivered 1,717 pieces of ordnance on target with devastating lethality. By the end of the deployment, our aviators logged an amazing 30,873 flight hours and 7,868 arrested landings. These impressive numbers set post-Desert Storm records for any CVN/CVW team.

This deployment is yet another example of the pivotal role naval aviation plays in our national defense. As the U.S. Navy’s ‘Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority’ states, we have the mission to “conduct PROMPT and SUSTAINED combat power from and at sea, necessary to fight and win decisively in contested and denied environments against our enemies.” That is exactly what the men and women of CVW-8 and the strike group accomplished on deployment. The team delivered a devastating blow to the capabilities of ISIS, allowing our partners on the battlefield to employ a strategic initiative to retake large swaths of land in Northern Iraq and Syria.

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Aug. 8, 2017) The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) operate in formation during exercise Saxon Warrior 2017. The United States and United Kingdom co-hosted carrier strike group exercise demonstrates interoperability and capability to respond to crises and deter potential threats. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael B. Zingaro/Released)
ATLANTIC OCEAN (Aug. 8, 2017) The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) operate in formation during exercise Saxon Warrior 2017. The United States and United Kingdom co-hosted carrier strike group exercise demonstrates interoperability and capability to respond to crises and deter potential threats. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael B. Zingaro/Released)

I have written several blog posts about how our carriers benefit from the Optimized Fleet Response Plan (OFRP). OFRP is designed to maximize our return on training and maintenance investments, to maintain Sailor quality of life and ensure units are fully employable and deployable. By the time the strike group deployed, it was at the peak of readiness and this was clearly demonstrated through their record-setting accomplishments.

With USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) now at Norfolk Naval Shipyard to begin her maintenance phase, the first phase of the four-part OFRP cycle, George H.W. Bush enters the post deployment portion of its sustainment phase to maintain her combat readiness in order to be prepared to deploy fully ready combat forces if required by our Nation.

While George H.W. Bush is in her sustainment phase, CVW-8 will also be in sustainment. For the air wing, this means several underway periods to maintain their carrier qualification requirements, maintain their aircraft at optimum performance levels and provide continuous training in combat flight operations and maintenance.

Meeting these standards will allow CVW-8 to effectively remain combat ready around the clock in the event the president of the United States decides they need to surge an additional carrier strike group.

This will be a challenge, but I have every confidence that the George H. W. Bush Carrier Strike Group team will not only meet but also exceed our leadership’s standards and expectations.

Finally, I send my strongest congratulations to entire carrier strike group for your tireless efforts and commitment to the Navy’s standard of excellence. Bravo Zulu, well done and welcome home!

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Aug. 18, 2017) Sailors assigned to the "Tomcatters" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 31 celebrate as the squadron flies over the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). The ship and its carrier strike group were transiting home from a scheduled seven-month deployment in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matt Matlage/Released)
ATLANTIC OCEAN (Aug. 18, 2017) Sailors assigned to the “Tomcatters” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 31 celebrate as the squadron flies over the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). The ship and its carrier strike group were transiting home from a scheduled seven-month deployment in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matt Matlage/Released)


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Third Optimized Fleet Response Plan Carrier Strike Group Returns Home

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your Navy Operating Forward – Poland, Spain, China

Image 170618-N-LK571-316-1024x732.jpg

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.


PACIFIC OCEAN: An EA-18G Growler assigned to the “Gauntlets” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 136 receives fuel from an F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the “Kestrels” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 137 as part of an air power demonstration above the aircreaft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) during a tiger cruise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matthew Granito/Released)

ROTA, Spain: Equipment Operator Constructionman Calan DeRue, assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1, drives a backhoe onto a C-130 Hercules aircraft at Naval Station Rota, Spain. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brannon Deugan/Released)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to the “Black Lions” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 213, fully loaded with 10 GBU-32 1,000 pound bombs, prepares to launch from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matt Matlage/Released)

CORAL SEA: Sailors aboard the Henry J. Kaiser-class replenishment oiler USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204) receive cargo from the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) during a replenishment-at-sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Gavin Shields/Released)

SOUTH CHINA SEA: Members of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 5 perform a fast-rope exercise from an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the “Golden Falcons” of Helicopter Combat Squadron (HSC) 12 onto the flight deck of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Izumo-class helicopter destroyer JS Izumo (DDH 183). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nathan Burke/Released)

USTKA, Poland: A landing craft, air cushion lands on the beach in Ustka, Poland, during an amphibious assault landing demonstration as part of exercise BALTOPS 2017. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist America A. Henry/Released)

ZHANJIANG, China: Sailors assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG 104) man the rails as the ship prepares to depart Zhanjiang, China. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Byron C. Linder/Released)

SUBIC BAY, Philippines: The Spearhead-class joint high speed vessel USNS Millinocket (JHSV 3) transits Subic Bay behind the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG 104). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Byron C. Linder/Released)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the “Tridents” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 9 carries supplies to the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) during a replenishment-at-sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Mario Coto/Released)

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Your Navy Operating Forward – Poland, Spain, China

Your Navy Operating Forward -Sri Lanka, Japan, Suez Canal

Image 170604-N-DL434-359-1024x684.jpg

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.


EAST CHINA SEA: Airman Francis Mateodiaz, from Coamo, Puerto Rico, signals a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter assigned to the “Dragons” of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 (Reinforced) for landing aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Gavin Shields/Released)

SUEZ CANAL: The aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) prepares to sail under the International Peace Bridge as it transits the Suez Canal. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Christopher Gaines/Released)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: An F/A-18F Super Hornet attached to the “Blacklions” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 213 is fully loaded with 10 GBU-32 1,000 pound bombs aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matt Matlage/Released)

PACIFIC OCEAN: An F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the “Golden Dragons” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 192 conducts a high-speed flyby during an air-power demonstration in the western Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matthew Granito/Released)

OKINAWA, Japan: Sailors prepare to launch Landing Craft Utility (LCU) 1651, assigned to Naval Beach Unit (NBU) 7, from the well deck of the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Clay/Released)

SOUTH CHINA SEA: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG 104) conducts a replenishment-at-sea with the dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Richard E. Byrd (T-AKE 4). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Byron C. Linder/Released)

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka: The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) arrives in Colombo, Sri Lanka to support humanitarian assistance operations in the wake of severe flooding and landslides that devastated many regions of the country. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Fulton/Released)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: An EA-18G Growler assigned to the “Lancers” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 131 prepares to launch from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matt Matlage/Released)

PHILIPPINE SEA: The fleet replenishment oiler USNS John Ericsson (T-AO 194) transits alongside the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during a replenishment-at-sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kenneth Abbate/Released)

YOKOSUKA, Japan: Seaman Daniel Keaton, assigned to the U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), paints the hull of the ship. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Patrick Semales/Released)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: A rigid-hull inflatable boat approaches the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) during small boat operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brent Pyfrom/Released)

PACIFIC OCEAN: F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 fly over the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), front, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108), right, USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112), left, and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) in the western Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean M. Castellano/Released)

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Your Navy Operating Forward -Sri Lanka, Japan, Suez Canal

Your Navy Operating Forward – Red Sea, Korea, Guam

Image 170426-N-BL637-175-1024x731.jpg

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: The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), foreground, and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Atago-class guided-missile destroyer JS Ashigara (DDG 178), left, and the JMSDF Murasame-class destroyer JS Samidare (DD 106) transit the Philippine Sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean M. Castellano/Released)
PHILIPPINE SEA: The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), foreground, and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Atago-class guided-missile destroyer JS Ashigara (DDG 178), left, and the JMSDF Murasame-class destroyer JS Samidare (DD 106) transit the Philippine Sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean M. Castellano/Released)
PHILIPPINE SEA: An MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter from the "Blue Hawks" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 78 fires chaff flares during a training exercise near the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean M. Castellano/Released)
PHILIPPINE SEA: An MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter from the “Blue Hawks” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 78 fires chaff flares during a training exercise near the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean M. Castellano/Released)
ARABIAN GULF: An F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the "Tomcatters" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 31 prepares to land aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matt Matlage/Released)
ARABIAN GULF: An F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the “Tomcatters” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 31 prepares to land aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matt Matlage/Released)
BUSAN, Republic of Korea: The Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Michigan (SSGN 727) arrives in Busan for a scheduled port visit while conducting routine patrols throughout the western Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jermaine Ralliford/Released)
BUSAN, Republic of Korea: The Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Michigan (SSGN 727) arrives in Busan for a scheduled port visit while conducting routine patrols throughout the western Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jermaine Ralliford/Released)
CARIBBEAN SEA: The Cyclone-class coastal patrol ship USS Zephyr (PC 8) transits the Caribbean Sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey J. Hopkins/Released)
CARIBBEAN SEA: The Cyclone-class coastal patrol ship USS Zephyr (PC 8) transits the Caribbean Sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey J. Hopkins/Released)
GUAM: A MK VI patrol boat assigned to Coastal Riverine Group (CRG) 1, Det. Guam, maneuvers off the coast of Guam. (U.S. Navy Combat Camera photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alfred A. Coffield/Released)
GUAM: A MK VI patrol boat assigned to Coastal Riverine Group (CRG) 1, Det. Guam, maneuvers off the coast of Guam. (U.S. Navy Combat Camera photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alfred A. Coffield/Released)
ARABIAN GULF: An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the "Tridents" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 9 carries cargo during a vertical replenishment aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jennifer M. Kirkman/Released)
ARABIAN GULF: An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the “Tridents” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 9 carries cargo during a vertical replenishment aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jennifer M. Kirkman/Released)
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) receives a refueling probe during a replenishment-at-sea with the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Big Horn (T-AO 198). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Robert S. Price/Released)
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) receives a refueling probe during a replenishment-at-sea with the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Big Horn (T-AO 198). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Robert S. Price/Released)
RED SEA: The guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun (DDG 103) transits the Red Sea during a photo exercise to conclude Exercise Eagle Salute 17. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tyrell K. Morris/Released)
RED SEA: The guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun (DDG 103) transits the Red Sea during a photo exercise to conclude Exercise Eagle Salute 17. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tyrell K. Morris/Released)

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Your Navy Operating Forward – Red Sea, Korea, Guam