Friday, October 30, 2009

Navy to Commission Guided Missile Destroyer Dewey at Seal Beach

Story Number: NNS091029-19
Release Date: 10/29/2009 8:10:00 PM

By Gregg Smith, Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach Public Affairs

SEAL BEACH, Calif. (NNS) -- Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus has approved Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, Calif., as the commissioning location of Pre-commissioning Unit (PCU) Dewey, the Navy's newest and most technologically advanced guided-missile destroyer.

The event will be the first time a U.S. Navy warship has been commissioned at Seal Beach.

Deborah Mullen, wife of Adm. Mike G. Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is the ship's sponsor. She had previously christened the ship during a ceremony at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss., Jan. 26, 2008.

The new destroyer honors Adm. George Dewey, most famous for leading his squadron of warships into Manila Bay April 30, 1898, and destroying the Spanish fleet in only two hours without a single American loss. A popular hero of his day, Dewey was commissioned admiral of the Navy, a rank created for him, in March 1903.

Dewey, designated DDG 105, is the 55th of 62 Arleigh Burke class destroyers either in commission, under construction or on order. The ship will be able to conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection. Dewey will be capable of fighting air, surface and sub-surface battles simultaneously and contains a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime defense.

Commencing operations in 1944 as a U.S. Naval Ammunition and Net Depot, Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach is the Pacific Fleet's premier ordnance loading, storage and maintenance installation. The base services approximately 50 U.S. Navy vessels annually.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

HMS Gloucester swaps oceans

HMS Gloucester safely through Angostura Inglesa

27 Oct 09
On standby to conduct various tasks such as counter-narcotics operations, search and rescue missions or humanitarian relief, HMS Gloucester has taken a break from her South Atlantic patrols and moved through some breathtaking scenery to the Pacific Ocean.
The Type 42 destroyer, based in Portsmouth, has headed north to warmer seas and the Chilean city of Valparaiso.
But with the South Atlantic winter in full swing and Cape Horn too treacherous, the only option was to transit the Magellan Straits.
The straits, which comprise a navigable sea route immediately south of mainland Chile and north of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego is the most important natural passage between the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans.
The journey included navigating the narrow Patagonian Canals, a tricky 800-mile (1,300km) passage which took three days.
Able Seaman Max Grosse said:
"It was really breathtaking, the scenery was like nothing any of us had seen before, spectacular mountains with glaciers, completely deserted.
"I was at the wheel driving as we passed through the Paso Tortuoso which is barely wider than the ship, not something that I will forget."
For the journey through the appropriately named Canal Icy, which was littered with small icebergs, Gloucester set up special 'ice look-outs'.
And the Angostura Inglesa posed different problems, being lined with the wrecks of stricken vessels.
Lieutenant Sarah Thompson, an experienced navigator, said:
"It was a tense time on the bridge. We were expecting strong winds and as much as six knots [11km/h] of tidal stream, but in the event conditions could not have been better.
"Passing through Angostura Inglesa was the culmination of many weeks of planning and training for the bridge team."
The perfect weather allowed the ship to launch her Lynx helicopter to take some photographs as they passed through the narrowest part of the canal.
But as the ship left the confines of the canal and entered the Pacific Ocean, the first visit for many onboard, they were greeted with a substantial storm, whipping the sea into a frenzy, making their arrival in Valparaiso all the more welcome.
On arriving at Valparaiso, 15 sailors helped out at a school for children with learning difficulties. The building was in a poor material state so the team were armed with huge buckets of paint to leave the main play area a pleasant shade of apricot.
HMS Gloucester left Portsmouth in June and is due to return just before Christmas.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Polar Sea

ARCTIC OCEAN - A helicopter lands on the flight deck of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Sea, homeported in Seattle Oct. 18, 2009. The cutter is currently transiting the Arctic Ocean in support of various scientific operations. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/ Petty Officer 3rd Class Pamela Manns)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bruce Legge - Best Job in the World

Standing on the bridge of a Royal Australian Navy (RAN) warship is a long way from secondary college in Warracknabeal. But for Commander Bruce Legge it’s all in a day’s work since he took Command of the ANZAC Class guided missile frigate, HMAS Warramunga on 14 July this year. And it’s a job that he claims is the best in the world.
Commander Legge was born in Frankston, but moved to Warracknabeal in 1983 when his father, Mr Don Legge, became the Principal of the local primary school. His family’s long naval tradition proved too hard to resist, so after completing secondary college studies, Commander Legge joined the RAN under the direct entry officer scheme, with the rank of Midshipman in 1986. Over the past 23 years he has ascended to the rank of Commander and is now the Commanding Officer, or ‘Captain’ of a 3,600 tonne, 118 metre long warship based in Western Australia.
Salt water might well flow through Commander Legge’s veins, as he has a brother and uncle who both served for well over 20 years in the Navy. However, in terms of naval exploits, it is his grandfather, Leonard Legge, in whom he is most proud. During World War II, Leonard survived the sinking of HMAS Canberra at Guadalcanal in August 1942. After Leonard passed away in 1997, his war medals were framed behind glass and they now proudly adorn the wall of Commander Legge’s office onboard Warramunga, referred to as his ‘cabin’. He claims that the medals make for some interesting conversation with visitors to his cabin.
Commander Legge will be in command of the Warramunga until the end of 2010, after which time he expects to be assigned to an administrative job in Canberra. However, in the meantime he is in Command of a potent warship which he expects to take to Hawaii around the middle of next year so that the ship can participate in a multi national maritime exercise hosted by the United States called RIMPAC (or Rim-of-the-Pacific). This exercise is likely to have up to 30,000 military personnel participating.
HMAS Warramunga is a long-range frigate capable of air defence, surface and undersea warfare. Further details on the ship can be obtained from the website,
Despite the ship possessing very modern weapon systems, Commander Legge believes his job is more about leading the Officers and crew, rather than the hardware at his fingertips. He is responsible for the morale and well being of a crew of around 170. Each has professional and personal needs which need to be met in order for them to ensure the ship operates effectively. The job of ‘Captain’ is one that is both a challenge and professionally rewarding. It may have taken 23 years to obtain Command of a frigate, but Commander Legge will tell anyone that it’s worth it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

USS Anzio Seizes Four Tons of Narcotics

Story Number: NNS091021-01

Release Date: 10/21/2009 5:14:00 AM
By Lt. Iain Jones, Royal Navy, CTF 151 Public Affairs

USS ANZIO, Gulf of Aden (NNS) -- USS Anzio (CG 68), operating as part of the Combined Maritime Forces, a U.S.-led coalition supporting maritime security operations in the region, seized approximately four tons of hashish found aboard a skiff Oct. 15 in the Gulf of Aden, with an estimated street-value of $28 million.The skiff was located approximately 170 miles southwest of Salalah, Oman when it was spotted traveling at a high speed by Anzio's crew. Following a brief chase, the skiff was boarded by Anzio's visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) team, including officers from the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy. The drugs seized by naval forces could have helped to fund the insurgency fighting coalition forces in Afghanistan as well as contribute to instability in the region. "The seizure of these drugs takes money out of the hands of those financing terrorists in the region," said Rear Adm. Scott E. Sanders, commander, Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, embarked aboard Anzio. "Yesterday these Sailors were hunting pirates, today they have sent a message to all would-be smugglers that we won't tolerate pirates or drug traffickers in these waters." Coalition Sailors discovered the drugs in the dhow along the 'Hash Highway.' The drugs were thrown overboard and destroyed. This is the first seizure of narcotics that Anzio has conducted."At first we had no idea what the skiff was doing out here in these waters, we were wary that they could have been pirates," said Capt. Frank J Olmo. "My VBSS teams are trained to handle these situations safely and efficiently." Naval Forces assigned to the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) have seized more than 22 tons of narcotics during 2009, highlighting the continual presence in the region and the commitment to creating and maintaining a lawful maritime order. In 2008, CMF forces seized more than 53 tons of narcotics. Anzio is the flagship for CTF 151, and has been operating in the region for five months. CTF 151 is a multinational task force established in January 2009 by the CMF headquartered in Manama, Bahrain. They conduct counter piracy operations under a mission-based mandate to actively deter, disrupt and suppress piracy in order to protect global maritime security, and secure freedom of navigation for the benefit of all nations.

The Governor Leaves the Rock

Seventeen Gun Salutes were exchanged between the Royal Gibraltar Regiment and HMS Sutherland as the Type 23 frigate carried His Excellency the Governor of Gibraltar away from the Rock on the first stage of his journey back to UK on leaving office.
On arrival at the Naval Base Lt Gen Fulton had been met by Commander British Forces, Commodore Adrian Bell. The Governor then inspected a Guard of Honour drawn up from B Company of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment before handing the Keys of Gibraltar to the Port Sergeant for the last time. After saying his farewells to senior military officers and Gibraltar’s dignitaries, he bade farewell to the Chief Minister, the Hon Peter Caruana and Mrs Caruana at the ship’s gangway.
In uncharacteristically wet weather, HMS Sutherland was then escorted out of the Naval Base by patrol boats of the Gibraltar Squadron and the Gibraltar Services Police.

HMS Monmouth – Quenches Her Thrust

After a high speed transit from Gibraltar to Alexandria, Egypt, ‘The Black Duke’ needed a well earned gulp of fuel to quench her thrust and allow her to proceed onto the next part of her 6 month Operational Tour.
Providing forward naval presence, the United States Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (BATARG) is currently operating in the Mediterranean in support of maritime security operations in the region, alongside the Standing NATO Maritime Group.
Consisting of the multi-purpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), the amphibious dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43), and the amphibious transport dock USS Ponce (LPD 15), and over 4000 US Marines and Sailors, the task group also had with it the USNS Kanawha, a support tanker capable of providing both dry and wet stores to the group throughout its deployment.
With Monmouth stationed 1000yards astern of the group, the signal was given to make the approach. To break through the intense pressure and interaction effects caused by the tanker ship, Monmouth increased speed to upto 22kts before quickly decelerating to take station alongside the tanker, now only 45m away. On the other side of the tanker was the USS Bataan and the three ships engaged in a dual Replenishment at Sea (RAS) for almost two hours. It is this ability to sustain operations at sea without using ports that gives the RN its ability to poise for long periods of time in any area of the globe.
Maritime security operations are key in protecting not only UK interests worldwide, but also essential in maintaining global security. To that end, Monmouth, now through the Suez canal, is patrolling in the Gulf of Aden, a spot notorious for smuggling and piracy.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Keating passes PaCom torch to Willard

Camp Smith HI October 20, 2009 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, presided over a change-of-command ceremony here Oct. 19 as Navy Adm. Timothy J. Keating passed the U.S. Pacific Command helm to Navy Adm. Robert F. Willard.
Admiral Willard assumed command of the 250,000-member command that includes all military forces in the Asia-Pacific region during a ceremony at PaCom headquarters, high on a hillside overlooking Pearl Harbor.
It was a stirring ceremony with ship's bells and a boatswain's pipe announcing the arrival of the official party, followed by a 19-gun salute. Jim Nabors sang the national anthem and Ciana Pelekai sang the Hawaii state song.
Secretary Gates lauded Admiral Keating's 42-year naval career in the cockpit, on land and at sea. A U.S. Naval Academy graduate, Admiral Keating is an F-18 Hornet pilot with 5,000 flight hours and 1,200 landings on the deck of an aircraft carrier.
But he also distinguished himself on land, as commander at U.S. Northern Command, Secretary Gates said. Recognizing his accomplishments there, as well as his "unique skills and strategic vision," the secretary said, he recommended Admiral Keating for his most important assignment at the oldest and largest U.S. combatant command.
PaCom's area of responsibility stretches across 36 nations that include more than half the world's population, and that represent more than $1 trillion in annual trade with the United States.
"Leading a military organization in this part of the world requires a deft touch, a diplomat's sensibilities, a scholar's sense of the past and a commercial tycoon's business savvy," Secretary Gates said. "Admiral Keating has provided all of that and more."
Secretary Gates ticked off some of PaCom's challenges: complex national and international agreements, relations and rivalries; vast distances within its boundaries; the ever-present danger of manmade and natural disasters; and the threat of international terrorism, among them.
"The relative stability of the region belies the historic, economic and cultural rip currents that exist just below the visible surface," he said.
Admiral Keating has visited 29 of the 36 countries within PaCom since taking command two and a half years ago, fostering long-standing alliances along with new partnerships with other nations, Secretary Gates noted.
That outreach took him to Japan a dozen times, the Philippines about six times, Indonesia three times and China and India twice. Admiral Keating said he had hoped to visit China more frequently, a goal foiled after China cut off military-to-military relationships after the United States announced arms sales to Taiwan.
Admiral Mullen also praised Admiral Keating, who he said "understood the power of relationships and how to turn relationships into partnerships and partnerships into friendships."
Admiral Keating oversaw the revision of the PaCom strategy, built on three major tenets: partnership, readiness and presence. These, Admiral Mullen said, ensured PaCom remained "a cohesive and lasting power for peace and readiness."
Admiral Mullen wished Admiral Keating and his wife, Wanda Lee, "fair winds and following seas" as he welcomed Admiral Willard and his wife Donna to "the best job a Navy officer could have."
In his remarks, Admiral Keating evoked the vision of the founding fathers and said it's embodied in the servicemembers of PaCom who have served and sacrificed to keep it a reality.
But he also cited a less vaunted visionary, singer Jimmy Buffet, who sang of a world where "kids play on the shore all day and all are safe within."
This, Admiral Keating said, captures the same sentiment as lofty statements of strategy. And, he said, is the vision that drives the men and women of PaCom.
"It's been a grand adventure," Admiral Keating told Hawaii-based reporters as he summed up his time at PaCom. "I wouldn't trade it for anything."
Admiral Willard, who spent two and a half years as commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, is a U.S. Naval Academy graduate with extensive experience in the Pacific region and knowledge of its history.
Admiral Willard said he's deeply honored to follow in Admiral Keating's footsteps, noting, "Yours will be large shoes to fill."
He vowed to emulate Admiral Keating, both in his dedication to his staff that engendered tremendous loyalty, and by clear-eyed focus on Asia and the Pacific.
As the region has changed, the growing importance of Asia has remained a constant, Admiral Willard said.
He said he'll work tirelessly to ensure PaCom lives up to that challenge and that its role in U.S. national defense is understood.
"Our nation's interests are here," he said.

Monday, October 19, 2009

'Green Ship' Makin Island to be Commissioned

'Green Ship' Makin Island to be Commissioned

Story Number: NNS091019-02Release Date: 10/19/2009 2:26:00 PM
From Surface Forces Public Affairs

NORTH ISLAND, Calif. (NNS) -- USS Makin Island (LHD 8) will be formally commissioned in a ceremony on Naval Air Station North Island Oct. 24.The ship, which has been dubbed the "Prius of Navy warships," arrived in San Diego in mid-September, three years after her christening. The ship brought over 1,000 Sailors and their families to the San Diego community."I am eager for Makin Island to finally join the fleet," said Vice Adm. D.C. Curtis, commander, Naval Surface Forces. "The Sailors of this crew exemplify the best this nation has to offer. They represent America's Navy with pride and distinction and proudly serve as part of a global force for good."Makin Island is the final amphibious assault ship built in the LHD-1 Wasp-class, but is the first of the class built with gas turbine engines and electric drive.The Navy projects that this advance will save nearly $250 million in fuel costs over the ship's lifetime. The development is already paying off – during the ships transit from Pascagoula, Miss., to San Diego, Makin Island consumed over 900,000 gallons less fuel than a steam ship completing the same transit, saving more than $2 million in fuel costs. Other environmentally-friendly initiatives include the use of an electric plant to power auxiliaries, meaning no steam or associated chemicals; and the use of reverse osmosis water purification systems that negate the need for chemicals like bromine or chlorine."The USS Makin Island represents the centerpiece and future of naval expeditionary warfare and will significantly enhance our ability to rapidly respond to emergent tasking around the world," said Rear Adm. Earl Gay, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 3. "Her commissioning is a watershed moment for our Navy-Marine Corps team, and I am honored to have her in the fleet." According to Capt. Bob Kopas, commanding officer, the true strength of Makin Island rests in her crew."This crew brings a 'gung ho' attitude of teamwork and determined enthusiasm to the fleet, in the tradition of Carlson's Raiders, who originated the term 'gung ho'," said Kopas. "The dedication they have shown over the past four years has brought the ship to life and lays the foundation for Makin Island to face the challenges of the next 40-plus years of supporting the needs of our nation and Navy."

Friday, October 16, 2009

Large landing ship of the Black Sea Fleet "Caesar Kunikov" is conducting a cruise in the Mediterranean Sea

Large landing ship (LLS) "Caesar Kunikov " of Russia's Black Sea Fleet under command of Captain 2 Rank Sergey Larchuk having successfully overcome the zone of the Straits, reached the Mediterranean Sea. The chief of staff of the formation of surface ships of the fleet Captain 1 Rank Sergey Zinchenko was appointed as the commander of expedition.
Between tasks of the long voyage the crew will visit the ports of Greece and Italy.
The first port of call of Russia's craft will be the island of Kerkyra (Corfu), staying in which traditionally is confined to days of remembrance of the famous Admiral Fyodor Ushakov and the first President of Greece Ioannis Capodistria.
In the port of Pylos the crew of Russia's craft will take part in celebrations to mark the 182nd anniversary of victory in the battle of Navarin (Oct. 8, 1827). On this day, the Allied fleet defeated the Turkish-Egyptian fleet at the time of the national Greek uprising of 1821-1829.
During the voyage’s month the ship will visit three ports: in Greece - Piraeus, "sea gate" of Athens, and two ports in Italy - Taranto and Civitavecchia.
During the informal visit to the port of Piraeus, the commanders, officers, staff and crew of the cruise staff LLS Caesar Kunikov "will visit the cemetery of Russian sailors, will meet with representatives of civilian and military authorities, the Greek public.
LLS "Caesar Kunikov" will take part in the annual Russo-Italian exercises "Ioniex-2009", in which it is planned to conduct a joint exercise of maneuvering, organising pilotage, conducting initial screening operation, assisting a ship in distress, protecting a ship from external threats.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

MSC ships deliver cargo for humanitarian relief efforts in Indonesia following earthquake

Washington October 15, 2009 - Military Sealift Command dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS Richard E. Byrd and fleet replenishment oiler USNS Walter S. Diehl delivered urgently needed supplies, equipment and fuel off the coast of Indonesia Oct. 10 - 14, in response to the deadly earthquakes that struck the region Sept. 30.

At the request of the government of Indonesia and the U.S. Department of State, the Navy - including MSC - joined other branches of the U.S. military, international relief organizations and Indonesia's military to deliver food, fresh water and medical supplies to remote mountain villages. The U.S. Air Force also established a field hospital which treated more than 2,000 patients.

Byrd and Diehl teamed up with amphibious dock landing ship USS Denver and destroyer USS McCampbell off the coast of Western Sumatra.

Byrd sailed from Guam, arriving off Padang, Indonesia, Oct. 10. In addition to providing supplies and fuel to both Denver and McCampbell, two of Byrd's embarked SA-330J Puma helicopters, which are operated by a private company under contract to MSC, made a total of 39 sorties, carrying 97 U.S., Indonesian and relief organization passengers to conduct airborne surveys of heavily damaged areas.

"The Puma surveys were critical for decision makers on the ground, so they could target the areas where supplies and assistance were needed most," said Byrd's civil service master Capt. Robert Jaeger.

Civil service mariners aboard Diehl delivered the more than 18,000 pounds of foreign-assistance cargo to Byrd Oct. 13, via underway replenishment. The humanitarian cargo, which was loaded in Singapore Oct. 8, included water containers, surgical gloves and masks, blankets, water purification tablets, collapsible water bladders, tarps to be used for shelter, insect repellant and sun screen. Byrd transferred the cargo to USS Denver, which later brought it to hard-hit areas ashore.

"MSC ships stand ready to support humanitarian operations wherever we are needed, and the cargo Diehl delivered could make a huge impact on the lives of those affected by this devastating earthquake," said Diehl's civil service master Capt. Lawrence Carley.

After delivering the humanitarian cargo to Byrd, Diehl provided aviation and diesel fuel to Denver and McCampbell before departing the area later the same day to returning to its regular mission of resupplying ships in 7th Fleet.

"It was heartbreaking to be witness to the complete devastation Mother Nature is capable of," said Byrd's civilian air detachment officer in charge Michael P. Melia, working under contract to MSC. "More than 90 percent of the buildings were destroyed in many of the villages we visited. Hopefully, the efforts of the U.S. Navy will help these unfortunate people start to get back on their feet and on with their lives."

Byrd's helicopters flew more than 8,000 pounds of relief supplies ashore, including food, water and tarps.

Like Diehl, after completing its support to the disaster relief efforts, Byrd returned to routine underway replenishment operations supporting U.S. 7th Fleet ships at sea.

MSC operates approximately 110 noncombatant, civilian-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

USS McCampbell (DDG 85)

091013-N-9123L-181 INDIAN OCEAN (Oct. 13, 2009) The guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85) conducts a vertical replenishment with an AS332 Super Puma helicopter from the Military Sealift Command dry cargo ammunition ship USNS Richard E. Byrd (T-AKE 4). McCampbell is underway as part of Amphibious Force U.S. 7th Fleet, providing humanitarian assistance and support for earthquake relief efforts at the request of the Indonesian government. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Byron C. Linder/Released)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Commander of Chinese naval escort taskforce visits ROK warship

Missile destroyer Dae Jo-young of the ROK

Upon invitation of Captain Kim Sung-woo, commander of the ROK naval escort taskforce, five Chinese naval officers from the Chinese naval escort taskforce (CNET) including Rear Admiral Wang Zhiguo, commander of the CNET, which is performing merchant ships escort mission in the Gulf of Aden and the waters off Somali coast, visited missile destroyer Dae Jo-young of the ROK naval escort taskforce on October 11.
  Wang Zhiguo and his four-member entourage boarded onto Dae Jo-young at 9: 30 a.m. and held talks with the commanding officers of the ROK naval escort ships.
  Wang Zhiguo expressed his gratitude to the ROK naval escort warship for its congratulation message to the Chinese naval escort taskforce on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. He also paid homage to the effort made by the ROK naval escort warship in maintaining security and stability in the Gulf of Aden and the waters off Somali coast.
  During the talks, Wang Zhiguo notified the ROK side that the Chinese naval escort taskforce had recently adjusted its escort route and escort area. He briefed his ROK counterpart the intelligence and information on pirate activities obtained by the Chinese naval escort taskforce and welcomed the ROK merchant ships to join in the ship formation under the escort of Chinese warships.
  After the talks, Wang Zhiguo and his party were showed around the “Dae Jo-young” missile destroyer.

USNS Knawha (T-AO 196)

091008-N-9740S-014 U.S. 5th FLEET AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY (Oct. 8, 2009) The Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Knawha (T-AO 196) conducts a replenishment at sea with the amphibious transport dock ship USS Ponce (LPD 15) and the multi-purpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5). The Bataan Amphibious Ready Group is conducting maritime security operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Tony Sisti/Released)

Friday, October 9, 2009

USNS Medgar Evers (T-AKE 13)

091009-N-5025C-001 WASHINGTON (Oct. 9, 2009) The Secretary of the Navy the Honorable Ray Mabus, a former governor of Mississippi, is honored to announce that the Navy will name a dry cargo ammunition ship after the civil rights leader Medgar Evers. The future USNS Medgar Evers (T-AKE 13) is designed to provide replenishment services to U.S. Navy ships at sea, to include collation ships from other nations. (U.S. Navy Illustration by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jay Chu/Released)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

USS McCampbell Heads to Indonesia for Humanitarian Mission

Story Number: NNS091008-08

Release Date: 10/8/2009 6:40:00 AM
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Byron C. Linder, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West Detachment Japan
USS MCCAMPBELL, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors aboard guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85) began transiting from Hong Kong to Padang, Indonesia, Oct. 3 at the request of the Indonesian government, to assist in humanitarian efforts in Sumatra following two earthquakes.After finishing a scheduled port visit to Hong Kong, McCampbell was called to join the amphibious transport dock ship USS Denver (LPD 9) to provide helicopter support and deliver relief supplies to remote areas of Sumatra affected by the disasters. McCampbell's embarked helicopter detachment, the "Warlords" of Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron Light (HSL) 51 Detachment 5, is preparing to support the disaster relief effort during the ship's transit."Right now, we are preparing to provide support with cargo transportation when we get there. Our aircraft is full of equipment right now, and we are going to take some things out so we can load up the helos with as much cargo as possible," said Senior Chief Aviation Structural Mechanic Chatchai Kampitak, HSL 51's maintenance manager. "We are preparing our aircraft now to make sure everything is up to support whatever missions will be called for and to support the flight schedule."McCampbell's Commanding Officer Cmdr. Charles Johnson expressed his appreciation for the McCampbell crew's support of the disaster relief effort."We will be able to have a very positive effect," said Johnson. "During the transit, we've asked for departments to get a list of volunteers who want to go ashore and provide assistance, and the crew's response has been tremendous. We were anchored off the coast of Bitung less than two months ago to celebrate the sixty-fourth anniversary of Indonesia's independence, and participated in the Indonesia International Fleet Review. Our experience there was incredibly positive. The memories and friendships we made in Indonesia are still fresh in all our minds, and we are honored to come back to provide all the assistance we can in their time of need."USS McCampbell is assigned to Destroyer Squadron 15 and patrols the 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility conducting routine operations. Operating in the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean, 7th Fleet is the largest of the forward-deployed U.S. fleets, covering 48 million square miles, with approximately 60-70 ships, 200-300 aircraft and 40,000 Sailors and Marines assigned at any time.

Philippines Relief Operations

091008-N-0807W-130 SOUTH CHINA SEA (Oct. 8, 2009) Sailors and Marines aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) conduct a vertical replenishment with an SA-330 Puma helicopter assigned to the combat stores ship USNS San Jose (TAFS 7). Harpers Ferry, the amphibious dock landing ship USS Tortuga (LSD 46) and the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (31st MEU) are supporting humanitarian efforts at the request of the Republic of the Philippines after two major storms struck the region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua J. Wahl/Released)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pirates captured by replenishment ship supporting EU NAVFOR

Northwood October 7, 2009 - Early this morning, 7 Oct 2009, 5 pirates were captured as they tried to take control of a French refuelling ship, the Somme, that is supporting the EU NAVFOR Operation Atalanta.
On 7 Oct 2009, a French replenishment ship was heading towards EU NAVFOR units to support the anti piracy operation Atalanta. At midnight, 2 skiffs rapidly approached the Somme and, mistaking the ship’s silhouette for a commercial merchant ship, they carried out a pirate attack.
The suspected pirates fired their guns in the direction at the Somme but no one was injured. The Somme manoeuvred to catch the pirate vessels, and eventually caught up with one of them. After a boarding operation the Somme arrested 5 men and took control of their skiff.
European Naval Force - Operation Atalanta
EU NAVFOR Operation Atalanta acts in accordance with United Nations Security Councils resolutions. The military operation was launched 8 December and has been extended by the European Council until December 2010. The EU NAVFOR Operation Atalanta will pursue the following objectives:
The protection of World Food Programme (WFP) vessels delivering food aid to displaced persons in Somalia.
The protection of vulnerable vessels sailing in the Gulf of Aden and off the Somali coast.
Employ the necessary measures, including the use of force, to deter, prevent and intervene in order to bring to an end acts of piracy and armed robbery which may be committed in the areas where they are present.
The EU NAVFOR Operation Atalanta consists of units from Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands and Spain. Contributions from third countries such as Norway are participating as well. Also, a number of Cypriot, Irish, Maltese, Swedish and Finnish military personnel supplement the team at the Northwood Operation Headquarters.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

McInerney Sets Sail for Final Deployment

Mayport October 6, 2009 - Family, friends and military gathered aboard Naval Station Mayport Oct. 5 to bid safe farewell to USS McInerney (FFG 8) as they set sail for their final deployment.
The McInerney will be the first gas turbine propelled ship to complete 30 years of service during their six-month deployment. All other ships of this kind have decommissioned prior to accomplishing this significant milestone.
According to McInerney's Command Master Chief, CMDCM (SW/AW/SCW) John T. Lawry this milestone pleases more than just the ship's current crew and the Navy.
"The pride I feel to have served on a warship with the history that McInerney possesses is indescribable. This ship was commissioned before anyone currently serving on her was in the Navy, and before many of her Sailors were even born. This accomplishment is a great testament to all who have sailed on her that this ship has performed at high levels for this long," said Lawry.
People not serving aboard McInerney felt that same pride about the ship's many years of success.
"I have watched this ship pull in and out of this harbor for years," said Neptune Beach local, "Buzz" Wilks. "I never get tired of watching ships leave full of Sailors, full of our country's angels setting out to serve, but nothing makes me happier than seeing them return home, and this one is going to come back having served this great country for 30 years. Now that's really something."
Lawry said the ship and its crew have many accomplishments, but he does have one that stands out.
"The accomplishments of any warship, let alone one with 30 years of service are so numerous and lengthy that I would do injustice trying to name them all. The accomplishment that stands out most to me during my tour would be the first capture of a SPSS (Drug Sub) by the crew while on deployment in 2008. Our combined efforts resulted in legislation being created to help stem the flow of illegal drugs into the United States and its allies," said Lawry.
The SPSS or self-propelled semi-submersible vessel Lawry referred to was carrying an estimated $107 million worth of cocaine that never hit the streets of the United States. Lawry said it is always great to take part in something so significant but the goal of every deployment is always bigger, it's always about safety.
"If you asked me what the goal of the deployment is I would answer that it is to bring back everyone we left with to their families and loved ones. Everything else that we accomplish as a team just makes my job that much more satisfying – but our primary goal whether it's for deployment, or just for a day, is to bring everyone home safely in the same condition or better than when we left."
Lawry's pride goes beyond the accomplishments of the ship and of its future milestone; his pride is in the crew.
"It is hard to describe my feelings for this crew and the growth they have shown as a whole during my tour aboard. We have been faced with so many challenges in such a short time it's seriously mind boggling. Watching these young men work together and put aside differences to accomplish something that was a huge undertaking is especially gratifying. I am proud to serve as the command master chief of such a hard working and professional group of individuals all who strive to improve and grow on a daily basis."
As McInerney sets out to unknown obstacles and achievements, people walk away already awaiting their return.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Command Continues Aid Efforts in Pacific

By Jim GaramoneAmerican Forces Press ServiceWASHINGTON, Oct. 2, 2009 – U.S. Pacific Command continues to help in coordinating humanitarian relief operations in American Samoa, Indonesia and the Philippines, the command’s top officer said today.
Navy Adm. Timothy J. Keating said Pacom officials are keeping a watchful eye on Typhoon Parma, now approaching the northern Philippines, and Typhoon Melor, which is threatening Guam, Tinian and Saipan. The command has sent five C-17 Globemaster III transport jets to American Samoa, which was hit by an earthquake-triggered tsunami Sept. 29. Officials said more than 160 people died in the disaster, and that thousands of homes and businesses were destroyed. The C-17s, from the Hawaii Air National Guard and the Air Force, deployed from Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. The planes carried search-and-rescue teams, mortuary affairs specialists and vehicles. “The aircraft carried a lot of equipment and some food supplies,” Keating told Pentagon reporters via telephone from his office in Hawaii. Pacom is standing by to fly two or three more C-17 missions filled with Red Cross personnel and supplies to the island. In addition, the USS Ingraham, a Navy frigate, is in the waters off American Samoa. The ship has two helicopters that will help with damage assessment and search and rescue efforts. In all operations in American Samoa, the command is acting in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the admiral said. Tropical Storm Ketsana struck the Philippines on Sept. 25, killing more than 250 people in Manila, the capital city, Philippine officials reported. Thousands are homeless. “About 20 personnel with the Joint Special Operations Task Force went up to Manila to help the armed forces of the Philippines in any way they could,” Keating said. But even as Manila residents assess the damage and bury their dead, Typhoon Parma is bearing down on the country’s northern islands. The storm is expected to miss Manila, Keating said, but it still could cause tremendous damage. Forecasters are saying the storm – still off the coast – could intensify and become a super typhoon. “We have moved two amphibious ships – the USS Harpers Ferry and the USS Tortuga – off the coast of the Philippines,” Keating said. The ships have a Marine complement aboard and will stand by to provide whatever aid the Philippine government requests. In Indonesia, an Air Force C-130 Hercules transport has delivered supplies to the area around Padang. U.S. special operations forces -- who were on their way to the country for an exercise when the earthquake hit Sept. 30 -- were able to set up communications with Pacom headquarters and help Indonesian and American officials assess the damage. Thousands of people are reported to be trapped in pancaked buildings. The command is sending a Navy rear admiral to the region to help in coordinating U.S. military efforts with the Indonesian armed forces. “The USS Denver, with three heavy-lift helicopters, is on its way to Indonesia,” Keating said. Meanwhile, Typhoon Melor is approaching Guam, Saipan and Tinian in the Marianas Islands. The USS Bonhomme Richard is east of the islands and is prepared to offer assistance to the residents there if needed. Weather reports say Melor will have winds in the 50- to 75-knot range. Navy submarines and Air Force aircraft have left Guam, and islanders are battening down the hatches. “We’re watching it, but it is a normal weather pattern for this time of year, and we’re cautiously optimistic there will not be a significant blow,” Keating said.