Friday, July 30, 2010

Take SeaWaves to Navy Days!

Coast Guard medevacs ill sailor

Honolulu July 29, 2010 - A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane from Air Station Barbers Point medevaced a Navy dive team member from Kiritimati (Christmas) Island, Thursday evening after he began suffering from chest pains and respiratory distress.
The Coast Guard command center here received a call for assistance about 8 p.m. Wednesday from the Theater Patient Movement Requirement Center regarding the deteriorating health of the 22-year-old service member.
A Hercules aircrew was launched at 8:30 a.m. Thursday to medevac the sailor from the island about 550 miles south of Oahu. Local Emergency Medical Services transferred the patient to the Hercules at 12:30 p.m.
Medical care was provided by members from the Hawaii Disaster Medical Assistance Team who was aboard the Hercules during the entire transfer.
The patient arrived at Air Station Barbers Point at approximately 5:30 p.m. and was safely transferred to EMS for further treatment at Tripler Army Medical Center Hospital.
The sailor is a member of a Navy dive team deployed to Kiritimati from Kadena, Japan.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

DOD Identifies Navy Casualty

Washington July 29, 2010 - The Department of Defense announced today the death of a sailor who was previously listed as duty status whereabouts unknown while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Jarod Newlove, 25, of Renton, Wash., died from wounds sustained from an incident in Logar province, Afghanistan, on July 23. Coalition forces recovered his body July 28 after an extensive search. He was assigned to commander, Navy Reserve Force Command. The July 23 incident remains under investigation.

Submarine Commissioning to be Streamed Live Online

Groton July 27, 2010 - The Navy will commission the newest Virginia-class attack submarine Missouri (SSN 780) during an 11 a.m. EDT ceremony on July 31 at Naval Submarine Base New London.
The event will be streamed live online on
Missouri arrived at Naval Submarine Base New London July 22 in preparation for commissioning following a material readiness inspection by the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) team. INSURV is a survey team established by Congress to assess Navy surface ships, aircraft carriers and submarines and ensure they are properly equipped for prompt, reliable and sustained mission readiness at sea.
Cmdr. Timothy Rexrode is the commanding officer of Missouri, the seventh ship of the Virginia-class.
Missouri completed sea trials earlier this month.
There are five Missouri natives among the submarine's crew. They are Electronics Technician 1st Class John M. Tyhurst, a Joplin, Mo., native; Sonar Technician Seaman Benjamin A. Bowers, a Green Ridge native; Lt. Patrick Donovan, a Springfield, Mo. native; Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Nicholas C. Koblick, a St. Louis native; and, Fire Control Technician 2nd Class Ryan J. Thruston, a Jefferson City, Mo. native.
Construction on Missouri began in December 2004; the submarine's keel was authenticated during a ceremony on Sept. 27, 2008 at the Electric Boat facility in North Kingstown, R.I.; and, she was christened during a late morning ceremony at Electric Boat Dec. 5, 2009.
Another milestone occurred April 16 during "In Service Day," when crew members moved aboard the submarine, bringing her systems to life, beginning general day-to-day operations and preparing for sea-trials, work-ups and commissioning.
Rexrode leads a crew of about 134 officers and enlisted personnel. A native of Spencer, W.Va., Rexrode graduated with honors in 1990 from West Virginia University, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering. In addition, Rexrode is a distinguished graduate of the United States Marine Corps Command and Staff College, holding as Master's in Military Studies. He also received a Master's of Arts degree in Administration from Central Michigan University.
Becky Gates, wife of U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, serves as the submarine's sponsor. She broke the traditional champagne bottle against the boat's sail during the christening ceremony last December. Her initials were welded into a plaque inside the boat during last year's keel laying ceremony.
Missouri is the fifth Navy ship to be named in honor of the people of the "Show Me State." The last USS Missouri, the legendary battleship, was the site where Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, and many other U.S. and Allied officers accepted the unconditional surrender of the Japanese at the end of World War II Sept. 2, 1945.
Missouri is built to excel in anti-submarine warfare; anti-ship warfare; strike warfare; special operations; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions. Adept at operating in both the world's shallow littoral regions and deep waters, Missouri will directly enable five of the six Navy maritime strategy core capabilities - sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence.
The 7,800-ton submarine Missouri is being built under a teaming arrangement between General Dynamics Electric Boat and Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding-Newport News. At 377-feet long, Missouri is slightly longer than a football field. She has a 34-foot beam, will be able to dive to depths greater than 800 feet and will operate at speeds in excess of 25 knots submerged. Missouri is designed with a nuclear reactor plant that will not require refueling during the planned life of the ship, reducing lifecycle costs and increasing underway time.
The USS Missouri Commissioning Committee, an IRS-designated 501(c)3 nonprofit charity, was created to increase awareness of the submarine's commissioning. The Commissioning Committee offers information about the development of the submarine, as well as history on former Navy ships named for the "Show Me State."

Russia's Moskva missile cruiser calls at Manila

Moscow July 29, 2010 (RIA Novosti) - The flagship of the Black Sea fleet, guided-missile cruiser RFS Moskva, called in on Thursday at Manila for an official visit, a statement from the fleet said.
"This is the second time the Russian warship has visited the Philippines in the past two months. The vessel was greeted at the port by representatives of the Russian Embassy, officers of the Philippine Navy and numerous journalists," the statement said.
Moskva will stay at the port of Manila until July 31. During the stay, Philippine Navy sailors will visit the cruiser and hold friendly football and volleyball matches against the Russian sailors.
Moskva is currently homeward bound to Sevastopol. It set off from the port of Vladivostok in Russia's Far East on July 21.
The ship was taking part in Russia's Vostok 2010 military drills jointly with the flagship of the Northern Fleet, RFS Pyotr Veliky nuclear-powered guided-missile cruiser, and the flagship of the Pacific Fleet, the RFS Varyag guided-missile cruiser.


Press Notice No: 211/10 Wednesday, July 28, 2010 Posted 13:10 GMT

The crew of the vessel also did not respond to calls from Portland Coastguard or whistles from a nearby coaster. The Coastguard rescue helicopter 106 was scrambled to investigate. The yacht was about 10 miles off Portland, Dorset, at the time.
Andy Jenkins, Watch Manager at Portland Coastguard said
Eventually after sounding sirens from the helicopter, the single person on board reported that he was on passage from Portland to the Azores and was conducting work below.
He was told of the inadvisability of effectively sailing blind through the busiest shipping lane in the world. He said he was sailing on his own to The Azores from Portland but we stressed he must keep a look-out at all times.
There are devices, like auto-helm or anti-collision radar, which we dont know if this man had, but these should not be relied upon on their own.
It costs a few thousand pounds to scramble the helicopter and in this case it could have been avoided.
Yesterday afternoon Portland Coastguard received a call from the crew of a yacht expressing concern for a yacht, `Erma, who had caused them to alter course in the middle of the English Channel and who did not respond to hails or VHF.

Monday, July 26, 2010

U.S. Ships Visit Vladivostok

VLADIVOSTOK (NNS) -- The frigate USS Vandegrift (FFG 48) and the mine countermeasures ship USS Patriot (MCM 7) arrived in Vladivostok July 23, to participate in celebrating Navy day.

The four-day port visit will bring Sailors from Patriot and Vandegrift together with members of the Japanese and Russian navies to celebrate the 71st anniversary of the Russian navy. Navy Day is an annual holiday in Russia that celebrates the accomplishments and contributions of the Russian Navy to the country's peace and security.
"Port visits like this provide very important opportunities for us to demonstrate our commitment to fostering growing relationships with our partnership nations," said Vandegrift's Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Steven Prescott.
"We are honored to be invited here for Navy Day," said Lt. Cmdr. Walter Mainor, Patriot's commanding officer. "The United States and Russia share a common interest in promoting peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, and we look forward to fostering a growing relationship with our Russian counterparts."
While many Sailors look forward to enjoying the hospitality, culture and sightseeing in Vladivostok, there are several who decided to use their time to help the local community. A group of about 20 Sailors will be volunteering to help underprivileged children at the Parus Nadezhdy Rehabilitation Center and host a chess match between Vandegrift Sailors and local children.
"It's great to feel like we have made a difference for the better, to give back to the children and the community," said Mineman 2nd Class Tyler King, Patriot's community service projects coordinator.
"This is the first time most of us have been to Russia. It's a great opportunity for the crew to experience a new culture and make new friends," said Prescott.
Vandegrift is an independently deployed ship homeported in San Diego, currently deployed in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR). Patriot, led by Lt. Cmdr. Walter Mainor, is currently fulfilling Amphibious Force Seventh Fleet and Mine Countermeasure Squadron 7 tasking and is forward deployed to Sasebo, Japan.

24th Marine Expeditionary Unit rotates out of Central Command, finishes deployment in Mediterranean

7/22/2010 USS NASSAU — The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) is rotating out of the Central Command and 5th Fleet area of operations after serving as the theater reserve force for approximately five months while embarked aboard amphibious assault ships of Amphibious Squadron 8 (PHIBRON).
The 2,300 Marines and Sailors of the 24th MEU participated in a variety of training exercises and theater security cooperation events throughout the Middle East and in Djibouti, Africa, while deployed in this region of the world. Many of these events were bilateral with partnered nations in the region, and were focused on strengthening military ties and continuing building relationships with these countries.
“Operating in the 5th Fleet area is extremely challenging, but at the same time tremendously rewarding. I could not be prouder of the MEU/PHIBRON team and all they have accomplished,” said Col. Pete Petronzio, commanding officer, 24th MEU.
The 24th MEU is headed to the European Command and 6th Fleet area of operations where they are planned to visit various ports throughout the Mediterranean before finishing their seven-month deployment and returning to the states.
The Camp Lejeune, N.C.-based 24th MEU is being relieved of their duty in CENTCOM by the Camp Pendleton, Calif.-based 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit. This rotation is part of normally scheduled rotation of MEU’s that takes place approximately every six months.
The rotation was officially complete as USS Nassau, the headquarters ship for the 24th MEU and PHIBRON 8, completed their transit through the Suez Canal.
The 24th MEU is made up of the following units: Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162 (based out of New River Air Station, N.C.), Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment (based out of Camp Lejeune, N.C.), and Combat Logistics Battalion 24 (based out of Camp Lejeune, N.C.). They are currently deployed on ships from Amphibious Squadron 8 (PHIBRON 8): the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Nassau (LHA 4), the amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) and the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48).

Coast Guard repatriates 13 Cuban migrants

MIAMI -- The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Pea Island repatriated 13 Cuban migrants to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba, Sunday.
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Pea Island interdicted a rustic vessel with 11 Cuban migrants aboard approximately 53 miles south of Marquesas, Fla., Wednesday. Aboard the rustic vessel were nine male and two female migrants.
A good Samaritan notified the Coast Guard stating he was on scene with a Cuban migrant in the water near Duck Key, Fla., Wednesday. A second person was located in the water off Long Key, Fla. A smallboat crew from Coast Guard Station Marathon, Fla., was launched and recovered both persons. The second person stated he left Cuba 11 days prior with two other people in a 19-foot foam-type vessel. He later changed his story and said he left Cuba with six others.
A third Cuban migrant was located on Conch Key, Fla., and taken into custody by Customs and Border Protection officials. He told officials he was with a group of six others who left Cuba.
The Coast Guard Cutter Sawfish, Coast Guard HU-25 Falcon jet crews from Air Station Miami, MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crews and HC-130 Hercules aircrews from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla., along with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission boatcrews conducted searches in the waters near where the migrants were found. Border Patrol vehicular units also conducted multiple searches on land. After an exhaustive, multi-day search covering more than 1,000 square miles, the active search was called off.
Once aboard Coast Guard cutters, all migrants are provided with food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.
Pea Island is a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in Key West.

Japan to Beef Up Submarines to Counter Chinese Power

Japan is to increase its submarine fleet for the first time in 36 years, the Sankei Shimbun reported Sunday. The plan apparently aims to counter China's naval build-up by partially filling the void created by the U.S. reduction of submarines in the Pacific area.

The paper said the Japanese government plans to increase the number of submarines from the current 18 including two trainer submarines to more than 20 when it revises its Defense Program Guidelines by year's end.
Tokyo has maintained 18 submarines since it first formulated the guidelines in 1976, although it has strengthened their capability by replacing superannuated vessels and with new ones.

But now that advanced technology gives them a longer lifespan, it has opted for the new plan to increase the total number, the daily reported. Exactly how many the country will have is not known.
Even more than 20 is no match for China, which has 62, but experts say most of the Japanese submarines are new types with superior capability.
The immediate cause for the decision was apparently China's plan to build an oceangoing fleet. China declared the plan at a fleet review in Qingdao, Shandong Province in April. It envisions extending its area of operations to the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
Out of the 62 Chinese submarines, seven are nuclear-powered and 55 diesel-powered. China recently built an underground submarine base on Hainan Island, which overlooks the South China Sea.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Butterfield Urges Boost for WWII Merchant Mariners

Washington July 23, 2010 - Congressman G. K. Butterfield has offered legislation to help World War II U.S. Merchant Marines receive earned veterans benefits.

“With fewer than 10,000 World War II Merchant Mariners still alive today, it is important to ensure they have the full opportunity to apply for benefits earned through service to our country,” Butterfield said..

With bipartisan support from 17 fellow House members, including House Budget Chairman John Spratt (D-S.C.), Butterfield is sponsoring the World War II Merchant Marine Service Act, which seeks to expand which documents are accepted by the U.S. Secretary of Defense in determining Merchant Marines' eligibility for veterans benefits.

Butterfield explained that during World War II, U.S. Merchant Marines contributed directly to the war effort. These contributions took place while their private employers were under contract or direction of the U.S. military or government, or due to their participation in military activities such as the defense of wide geographic areas, including Guam and Bataan.

“The Merchant Mariners have long and rightly been known as the fourth arm of defense,” Butterfield said.

In the years after the war, Congress held hearings on legislation introduced that would have either expanded benefits then currently available to merchant seamen, or provide benefits comparable to those provided in the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944. Unfortunately, Butterfield said, Congress failed to pass any of the legislation.

Decades later, Congress did eventually approve legislation that provided U.S. Merchant Marines with active oceangoing service during World War II with eligibility for veterans benefits.

While many Merchant Marines gained eligibility, Butterfield said that it is often difficult to meet the current documentation requirements. Currently, the only documents accepted are certificate of shipping and discharge forms, continuous deck or engine logbooks, and shipping company records that indicate the vessel names and dates of voyages.

Butterfield said that many of these documents never existed or are “all but impossible” to obtain, and that the bill would allow several alternatives. Under the bill, acceptable forms of documentation would include Social Security Administration records, validated testimony by the applicant or closest living relative and other official records that provide sufficient proof of service.

The other co-sponsors are U.S. Reps. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Howard Coble (R-N.C.), Larry Kissell (D-N.C.), Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), Bob Etheridge (D-N.C.), Sue Myrick (R-N.C.), Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), Bob Brady (D-Pa.), Madeline Bordallo (D-Guam), Donna Christensen (D-V.I.), Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Sanford Bishop (D-Ga..), Bill Delahunt (D-Mass.) and Gene Taylor (D-Miss.).

Navy to inactivate 11 ships

Stars and Stripes

Published: July 22, 2010

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Eleven Navy vessels face inactivation in the upcoming months, according to an administrative message released Wednesday.
The Los Angeles-class USS Memphis fast-attack submarine will be inactivated in March , which will lead to its decommissioning, according to the message signed by Vice Adm. J.T. Blake, deputy chief of naval operations.
The frigate USS Hawes will be inactivated later this year and will be used as a logistic support asset for remaining Perry class frigates. Two other frigates, the USS Doyle and USS Jarrett, will be sold to foreign militaries after inactivation next year.
The amphibious assault ship USS Nassau’s fate will be determined following a service life extension review, according to the message. If decommissioned, the ship will remain in reserve.
The amphibious transport docks USS Dubuque and USS Cleveland will be decommissioned and enter reserve status, while the transport tankers USNS Samuel L. Cobb and USNS Richard G. Matthiesen will be inactivated and transferred to the U.S. Maritime Administration.
The Military Sealift Command’s USNS Shasta and USNS Kiska will be dismantled next year, according to the message.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

USS George Washington Arrives in Busan

Busan July 21, 2010 - USS George Washington (CVN 73) arrived in Busan, Republic of Korea (ROK) July 21 for a port visit to promote goodwill and ambassadorship to the United States' longstanding ally.

Greeted by ROK sailors and a musical performance from a ROK navy band, GW is making its first port visit of its 2010 Western Pacific summer patrol and its second visit to Busan. The carrier last visited the ROK port in October 2008.
"On behalf of the 5,500 Sailors of the George Washington and the Carrier Air Wing Five team, we thank you for your hospitality and friendship," said GW Commanding Officer Capt. David A. Lausman to representatives of the ROK navy who were pierside when GW pulled into port.
After the official welcoming party departed, Lausman hosted a news conference for more than 75 local, regional and international journalists and then escorted them on a tour of the ship which included a stop in the hangar bay and an elevator ride to the flight deck.
"We are proud to show you our ship and introduce you to the fine young Sailors of the United States Navy," said Lausman. "The United States maintains a robust presence in the Asia-Pacific region and we are committed to your nation."
In the coming days, GW will open the 97,000 ton aircraft carrier for tours and host a reception for distinguished ROK guests.
"The GW team is very happy to be visiting Busan and having the chance to spend time on this beautiful navy base, and we look forward to the opportunity to learn from each other," said Lausman.
During the visit, GW Sailors will participate in eleven different community service projects, meet and interact with local citizens, experience local customs and traditions and enjoy recreational activities offered in Busan.
GW is the US Navy's only forward deployed air carrier and is stationed at Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka in Yokosuka, Japan. It is currently on its summer patrol ensuring security and stability in the Western Pacific.

USS New Orleans Arrives in Peru with A-SPS 10

By Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Robert Winkler, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command Public Affairs

CALLAO, Peru (NNS) -- USS New Orleans (LPD 18), along with Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 5, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force 24 and other embarked units, arrived in the port city of Callao, Peru, July 20, as the second port visit in support of Amphibious-Southern Partnership Station (A-SPS) 2010.
A-SPS is the amphibious portion of Southern Partnership Station, which is a deployment of various specialty platforms to the U.S. Southern Command Area of Responsibility in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The mission's primary goal is mission-focused information sharing with navies, coast guards and civilian services throughout the region to enhance regional maritime capabilities and security.
"The professional exchanges in which we have engaged during this deployment have provided both our Navy and those of our partner nations an intimate look into how our respective navies operate," said Capt. Peter J. Brennan, PHIBRON 5 commodore and A-SPS's mission commander. "Global maritime partnership missions such as A-SPS provide a foundation for security for the United States and throughout the world, and this type of interaction creates positive relationships that unite us as one powerful force against any enemy."
New Orleans, along with partner nations and SPMGTF 24 most recently participated in Partnership of the Americas 2010 and Southern Exchange 2010 in support of A-SPS, conducting joint amphibious operations in Salinas and Ancon, Peru.
Subject matter experts from the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay have been participating in cooperative training exercises and information exchanges in a variety of subjects such as refueling-at-sea, boarding team operations and damage control.
"It's a good thing to exchange experiences and to make new friends," said Peruvian navy Ensign Ricardo Kinosita. "That is going to help strengthen the good relationship that we already have. This is a big opportunity for both of us to operate together and share information. I think it will change the way we both work as we learn what it is that each country does well."
While visiting Manzanillo, Mexico, U.S. and partner nation service members participated in painting a local school. Service members conducted a similar community outreach project while in Callao.
"When I go home, I'll tell my friends about the good experiences I had on the ship, mostly the good friendships that I have made," said Kinosito. "I'll take back with me that Americans have great values and are people that they can trust. If they ever have the opportunity to visit the United States, they will enjoy your culture. I think that your officers and Sailors have learned the same thing of us."
New Orleans, along with PHIBRON 5 and other embarked units, are also scheduled to visit Bahia Malaga, Colombia, and Balboa, Panama, during the three-month deployment.

Reuters AlertNet - Germany rejects Israel bid for naval aid-report

Reuters AlertNet - Germany rejects Israel bid for naval aid-report

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Dorothy Stratton legend lives on

The week's events began Sunday at dawn when the cutter was launched into the water at the Northrop Grumman Pascagoula, Miss., shipyard. Photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding.

Washington July 19, 2010 - While the christening of any cutter is of particular interest to the Coast Guard, this Friday’s christening of the service’s newest National Security Cutter is an especially proud moment for any woman who has ever donned Coast Guard blue.
First Lady Michelle Obama’s christening of CGC Stratton, will mark a historic day where the legacy of the first female Guardians, the SPARs, is honored and remembered.
The traditional ceremony will include a keynote address from Michelle Obama, as the cutter’s sponsor, before the bottle is broken across the cutter’s bow.
“I am honored to serve as sponsor of the Coast Guard Cutter Stratton, named after one of the most extraordinary women to serve our nation in uniform,” said the First Lady during the keel laying ceremony almost one year ago to the day. “Every day, the United States Coast Guard keeps our families and communities safe at home and contributes to the defense of our nation overseas. This vessel will embody the strength of today’s military and the enduring courage of our Coast Guard men and women.”
Named for Captain Dorothy Stratton (1899-2006), the cutter honors her contributions not only as the first woman accepted in to the Coast Guard in 1942 but also as a trailblazer for all future female Guardians to come. Stratton, known for coining the name SPARs, led the 10,000 enlisted women and 1,000 commissioned officers that made up the SPARs during World War II. Although released from service in 1946, it will be as if the SPARs return to active duty as their legendary service lives on in CGC Stratton.

The U.S. Coast Guard Stratton (WMSL 752) built by Northrop Grumman is the third of eight national security cutters. The ship will be christened on Friday, July 23 in Pascagoula, Miss. Photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding.

The CGC Stratton (WMSL 752) is the third of eight 418-foot, multi-mission NSCs scheduled to be built and named for a Coast Guard legend. The first two NSCs are named for former commandants Adm. Ellsworth P. Bertholf and Adm. Russell Waesche respectively. The fourth NSC is slated to be named for Founding Father and first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton.
On Thursday, there will be a rare gathering of some of the legendary SPARs, their families and friends along with the Coast Guard Vice Commandant, Vice Adm. Sally Brice-O’Hara shipbuilders and prospective crew at the Northrop Grumman Pascagoula, Miss., shipyard.
The following day, there will be no shortage of VIPs as the christening ceremony is expected to draw the First Lady, Michelle Obama; the Coast Guard Commandant, Adm. Robert Papp; the cutter’s prospective Commanding Officer, Capt. Bruce Baffer; Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding President, Mike Petters; as well as Marsha Barbour, wife of Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Navy's newest dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS Charles Drew delivered to MSC

Washington July 14, 2010 - The Lewis and Clark-class of dry cargo/ammunition ships - the Navy's newest class of logistics ships, also called T-AKEs - grew July 14 when Military Sealift Command accepted delivery of the 10th ship in the class, USNS Charles Drew.
The currently deployed T-AKEs operate as part of MSC's combat logistics force - allowing Navy ships to stay at sea, on station and combat ready for extended periods of time.
"As our 10th ship in the T-AKE class, USNS Charles Drew is another milestone for MSC," said Capt. Jerome Hamel, commander, Sealift Logistics Command Pacific, MSC's office in San Diego. "The T-AKE program is a continued example of MSC's commitment to support the Navy."
Drew is expected to begin conducting missions for MSC next spring and will operate in the Pacific.
"Taking command of a ship is always exciting, but being in command of a brand new ship in a class like the T-AKE takes the excitement level even higher," said Capt. Dan LaPorte, Drew's civil service master. "I've got an extremely professional and motivated crew and we're really looking forward to getting underway on our first mission."
Drew is crewed by 124 civil service mariners and 10 U.S. Navy sailors who provide supply coordination.
Drew was christened and launched during an early morning ceremony Feb. 27, 2010 at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego and underwent a series of tests and trials prior to delivery.
Drew is named for Dr. Charles Drew, an American physician regarded as the father of the blood bank who researched and developed methods of blood collection, plasma processing and storage. Drew's research in blood storage first benefitted soldiers in the field during World War II, but has continued to save the lives millions of people worldwide. His blood bank design is still the model for modern hospitals and organizations such as the American Red Cross.
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.

Frigate To Join Navy Days Line-Up

Royal Navy Type 22 frigate HMS Cumberland, who last year undertook a successful anti-piracy patrol in the Indian Ocean, has joined the growing list of top attractions at Portsmouth Navy Days.
HMS Cumberland, which is based at Devonport, will be opened up to the public for the three-day event which starts on July 30 at Portsmouth Naval Base. It will be a rare chance for people to see a Type 22 frigate as there are just four left in service and all are based in Plymouth.
HMS Cumberland returned home from anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia in December 2009 and has since taken part in Exercise Joint Warrior off the coast of Scotland. Forming part of an international coalition task group spearheaded by HMS Ark Royal, she took part in a scenario of a territorial dispute which escalated into war between fictional regional powers.
Captain Paul Lemkes, Deputy Naval Base Commander said: “We are delighted that HMS Cumberland is able to join us for Navy Days at the end of the month. It will provide a rare opportunity for people, particularly those in the local area, to visit a Type 22 frigate and explore her capabilities.”
Other attractions at the popular event will include Type 45 destroyers HMS Daring and Dauntless - among the most powerful warships in the world, Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Argus – a aviation training and casualty receiving ship with an onboard hospital, and two Type 23 frigates, minehunter HMS Cattistock and fisheries patrol vessel HMS Tyne. Unfortunately, due to operational reasons, French ship FS Scormoran has had to pull out of this line-up.

NOAA Ship Fairweather Maps Aid Shipping Through Bering Straits

Washington July 20, 2010 - As Arctic ice recedes, countries are looking forward to faster, safer and more efficient sea routes across the top of the world. Responding to a request from the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, Alaska Maritime Pilots and the commercial shipping industry, NOAA sent one of its premier surveying vessels, NOAA Ship Fairweather, to detect navigational dangers in critical Arctic waters that have not been charted for more than 50 years.
Fairweather, whose homeport is Ketchikan, Alaska, will spend July and August examining seafloor features, measuring ocean depths and supplying data for updating NOAA’s nautical charts spanning 350 square nautical miles in the Bering Straits around Cape Prince of Wales. The data will also support scientific research on essential fish habitat and will establish new tidal datums in the region.
Just as the growing numbers of cars on the road cause traffic “chokepoints,” more ships traversing northern passageways can choke maritime traffic. These maritime traffic snarls occur when nautical charts are outdated, ships do not have sufficient information for navigation or changing maritime conditions – like sea level rise or movements of the seafloor – are not tracked.
“We have seen a substantial increase in activity in the region and ships are operating with woefully outdated charts,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. “I have introduced legislation that authorizes a significant increase in funding for mapping the Arctic, and I am pleased to see NOAA beginning the process. While this is a good start, we still need more resources to adequately map this region.”
“Commercial shippers aren’t the only ones needing assurances of safety in new trade routes,” notes Captain John Lowell, director of NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey. “The additional potential for passenger cruises, commercial fishing and other economic activities add to pressures for adequate response to navigational risks.”

NOAA Ship Fairweather in the Gulf of Alaska with namesake Mt. Fairweather. NOAA photo.

The U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone includes 568,000 square nautical miles of U.S. Arctic waters. The majority of charted Arctic waters were surveyed with obsolete technology dating back to the 1800s. Most of the shoreline along Alaska’s northern and western coasts has not been mapped since 1960, if ever, and confidence in the region’s nautical charts is extremely low.
“In Alaska we are seeing the effects of climate change more rapidly than anywhere else in the U.S.,” said Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska. “As Arctic sea ice recedes, economic activity in the region is going to expand dramatically. Alaskans rely on NOAA to help us make sure that things like oil and gas development and marine transportation are done safely and responsibly. The 21st century mapping technology the Ketchikan-based Fairweather brings to this important charting mission is a great example of what the federal government needs to do as activity in the Arctic grows.”
About a third of U.S. Arctic waters are considered navigationally significant. Of that area, NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey has identified 38,000 square nautical miles as survey priorities. NOAA estimates that it will take well more than 25 years to map the prioritized areas of the Arctic seafloor.
“President Thomas Jefferson ordered a survey of the East Coast in 1807, when our country was losing more ships to unsafe navigation than to war,” explains Capt. David Neander, commanding officer of the Fairweather. “Today, we have better maps of the moon than of our own oceans. Our46-person crew is amassing ocean data that directly affects our economy and our ecosystems.”
The vessel is equipped with the latest in hydrographic survey technology – multi-beam survey systems; high-speed, high-resolution side-scan sonar; position and orientation systems; hydrographic survey launches; and an on-board data-processing server.

HMS Somerset heads for Iraq

Currently on maritime policing patrol in the Gulf, Royal Navy warship HMS Somerset is now setting course to protect an Iraqi oil port.

In the first week of her current tasking, the frigate visited 76 vessels, with its boarding team and embarked Royal Marines, helping to reassure the maritime shipping community.
The work continued during HMS Somerset's passage through the Gulf of Suez, where the ship, as part of Combined Task Force (CTF) 152, helped provide a secure environment for merchant vessels navigating a shipping lane through which 50 per cent of the world's annual oil and gas supplies pass.
Reaching the Gulf of Aden, HMS Somerset switched to CTF 151, with a new focus on counter-piracy operations.
It is a role which HMS Somerset has experience of from an exercise last year. Since its launch, CTF 151 has cut piracy attacks by 15 per cent in its area of operations.
Commander Andrew Burns, HMS Somerset's Commanding Officer, said:
"HMS Somerset is already having significant effect in the Gulf through her presence and the engagement my boarding team have had with seafarers. The reassurance we have been able to provide to the local community indicates the commitment of coalition forces to security and stability.
"My team are focused on the task in hand and ready for any eventuality in this unpredictable theatre of operations."

HMS Somerset's boarding party exercises in the Gulf. [Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2010]

HMS Somerset is moving from general security patrols in the Gulf to the specific role of protecting the Al Basrah Oil Terminal (ABOT) to the north.
Comprising British and US naval personnel, working alongside elements of the Iraqi Navy and the Iraqi Marines, CTF Iraqi Maritime (CTF IM) is responsible for maintaining security in and around both the ABOT and Khawr Al Amaya Oil (KAAOT) Terminals.
The two oil terminals, ABOT and KAAOT, are tremendously important to Iraq. 95 per cent of Iraqi oil is distributed from these terminals, and the oil industry accounts for 75 per cent of Iraq's Gross Domestic Product. They are therefore vital to the economy of Iraq and her ongoing reconstruction.
Conducting Maritime Security Operations and supporting the development of operational capability of the Iraqi Navy and Marines are important additional elements of the role undertaken by the Task Force.

Monday, July 19, 2010

US Diplomats, Warships Headed for South Korea

VOA News19 July 2010

Photo: AP

Crewmembers of USS George Washington aircraft carrier clean its flight deck at Busan military port in Busan, south of Seoul, South Korea (File Photo)
Senior U.S. diplomats and two warships are converging on South Korea, in a show of solidarity four months after the sinking of a South Korean military vessel.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrived in Seoul late Monday for three days of talks. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will join him on Wednesday for so-called two-plus-two talks with their South Korean counterparts.
U.S. authorities also announced that the aircraft carrier USS George Washington and two destroyers will visit the South Korean port of Busan for five days beginning Wednesday. Another destroyer will visit the port of Chinhae.
Officials did not say whether the American warships will take part in a joint naval exercise that has troubled China. Details of the exercise, which will include maneuvers in the Yellow Sea, are to be finalized during this week's meetings.
China has vital seaports and economic zones along its Yellow Sea coast. It has objected to the exercise, but the United States says the maneuvers are intended to send a "clear message of deterrence" to North Korea.
A South Korean investigation produced what it said was strong evidence that North Korea was responsible for the sinking in March of the warship Choenan, killing 46 South Korean seamen. North Korea has denied any responsibility.

Friday, July 9, 2010

USS Taylor Departs Villefranche

VILLEFRANCHE, France (NNS) -- USS Taylor (FFG 50) departed Villefranche, France, after a four-ay port visit July 6.

During the visit, Taylor's crew participated in several events, including the commissioning of a memorial to French sailors who were lost during World War II, a memorial honoring the American pilots of a downed B-24 Liberator and assisted in cleanup efforts in the flood-ravaged areas of Draguignan.
Cmdr. Lyle Hall, Taylor's commanding officer, and six Sailors attended the commissioning of a new memorial in Villefranche honoring French sailors who were lost during the battle of Mers-el-Kebir during World War II.
"I was very humbled to be part of such an event," said Navy Counselor 1st Class (SW) Robert Ehrhart Jr. "This was a historically significant event for the French, and I am glad I was a part of it."
After the ceremony, Taylor's crew hosted a reception aboard the ship that included 75 local officials from the U.S. Navy League, French Riviera-Monaco Council and the city of Villefranche.
"We wish to thank [Taylor and her crew] and all Americans that serve in the U.S. Armed Forces," said Villefranche Mayor Gerard Grosgogeat. "Because of your sacrifices, we can all live with liberty in life."
Members of Taylor's crew were hosted by both the U.S. Navy League and Grosgogeat in multiple events celebrating America's Independence Day.
Cmdr. Jeremy Hill, Taylor's executive officer, and 15 Sailors attended the L'Equipage du Liberator memorial, which honors the American crew of a downed B-24 Liberator. The B-24 crashed following mechanical malfunctions during a bombing run on a German communication center May 25, 1944.
After the B-24's ceremony, the French Riviera Navy League hosted a luncheon for the crew of Taylor on the beaches of Cannes. Members of the Navy League of the United States, many of whom were children during the German occupation of France, shared their experiences with Taylor's crew.
"To have the opportunity to speak to people who lived through something that I have only read about is a once in a lifetime thing," said Boatswain's Mate Seaman Jordan Kareklas. "I have a new appreciation of the French people and what they went through."
Hall, Command Master Chief Steven Allen and several of Taylor's crew participated in the procession to the Feast of St. Peter Mass, which concluded with an at-sea wreath laying with Grosgogeat. During the ceremony, Hall assisted Grosgogeat in placing a wreath at sea in honor of former Sailors. Afterward, Rene Vestri, mayor of Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, also hosted Hall, Allen and the Taylor officers and crew to a luncheon.
In addition to the ceremonies and receptions, 12 Sailors from Taylor took part in cleanup efforts in which they helped clean up the homes of local residents struck by massive flooding in the city of Draguignan, which caused more than 200 deaths.
"The last big flood they had here was over 200 years ago, and all of a sudden they had over 400 milimeters (17 inches) of rain in one day," said David True, a volunteer from Paris assisting with the cleanup. "All the people here appreciate the [U.S. Navy's] help, it was unexpected."
Taylor crew members spent the day removing debris and clearing dirt and mud that had accumulated as a result of the flood.
"To see what the city and the people went through was very heartbreaking," said Culinary Specialist 2nd Class (AW) Waltine Nauta. "It reminds me of my home in Guam. To be able to lend a hand and actually interact with the people brings me a great deal of joy and fulfillment."
Taylor, an Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate, is home ported in Mayport, Fla., and is on a schedule deployment to the 6th Fleet Area of Responsibility.


STA: US Destroyer Visiting Port of Koper

STA: US Destroyer Visiting Port of Koper

Thursday, July 8, 2010

North American War of 1812 Grand Tactical July 31 - Aug.1, 2010

Organizers of the North American War of 1812 Grand Tactical selected the Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site for their 2010 major event that draws re-enactors from across the nation and Canada. The event is scheduled for Saturday July 31 and Sunday August 1.

Coordinating the weekend event is the Sackets historic site's not-for-profit support group The Sackets Harbor Battlefield Alliance, Inc.
Grand Tacticals annually alternate between the United States and Canada, attracting large numbers of participants and spectators. This is the first War of 1812 Grand Tactical for New York State's north country. The Sackets Harbor site was selected for its battlegrounds authenticity and ranking by the National Park Service as one of the top ten War of 1812 sites in the nation.
Experience life during the War of 1812 as living history re-enactors and sutlers (period merchants) gather at the Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site. Hundreds of re-enactors participate in Grand Tacticals. Registrations for Sackets Harbor include units from California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and many locations in Ontario and Quebec, Canada.
A full schedule of demonstrations fills Saturday from 9am to 9pm and again on Sunday from 9am to 3pm. There is a nominal admission fee. High points are the Saturday afternoon and early evening tacticals and again a tactical Sunday afternoon.
Visitors will experience military formations and drills, see artillery and tactical demonstrations, listen to military music, shop for period merchandise and crafts, take part in 19th c. children's games and watch both land and sea battle tactics. Bateaux and sailing ships add to the excitement and authenticity of the living history weekend. A Saturday afternoon book signing by Canadian authors Don and Dianne Graves spotlights the Site's excellent gift shop and book selections.
Tour the Navy Yard Commandant's House as part of the event admission price. View two DVDs on the Site's long history and the newest production on the Battle of Sackets Harbor. Explore the Site's several War of 1812 exhibits. Story panels found along the history trail give fascinating accounts of the 1813 battle. Listen to recorded history tid-bits as part of the cell phone tour offering.
This gigantic Grand Tactical kick-off to the upcoming War of 1812 Bicentennial will give everyone a taste of what's to come during the three-year cross-border observance starting in 2012.
For more information, contact the Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site (NY) 315-646-3634,

Naval Special Warfare Sailors Rescue Nine From Overturned Tour Boat

PHILADELPHIA (NNS) -- Sailors from Special Boat Team 20 helped rescue nine people July 7 from an overturned tourist boat in the Delaware River.

According to Philadelphia police, the boat was struck by a barge and capsized, throwing 35 passengers and two crew members in the water.
Twelve Special Warfare Boat Operators at nearby Penn's Landing immediately responded to a radio distress call and sped to the scene in small boats to recover people in the river.
"We were the first responders," said Garrett Rodriguez, a Special Boat Operator 1st Class from Maui, Hawaii. "Some of us jumped out and started grabbing people. They were just exhausted, in shock."
Rodriguez said some of his team members pulled people into boats, while others jumped off a jetty and swam to tourists struggling in the water.
Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Patrick Perdew, a 33-year-old Louisville, Ky. medic assigned to the boat team, said the nine passengers they rescued didn't have discernible injuries and were ambulatory when they brought them ashore.
The Navy crew members worked together with the Coast Guard, Philadelphia Police and fire rescue teams.
"We were just happy to help," said Capt. Chuck Wolf, the commander of Naval Special Warfare Group 4. "The city responders deserve all of the credit, but our guys really showed why the Navy is 'America's Navy: A Global Force for Good,' and it shows our ability to adapt to our surroundings and assist with any and all situations."
The boat team was in Philadelphia to attend community relations functions and was preparing to to get underway and return to their base in Virginia Beach.

Ten Russian Agents Plead Guilty and Are to Be Removed from the United States

Washington July 8, 2010 - Ten individuals pleaded guilty today in Manhattan federal court to conspiring to serve as unlawful agents of the Russian Federation within the United States and will be immediately expelled from the United States, the Justice Department announced today.
In hearings today before Judge Kimba M. Wood in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, each of the 10 defendants arrested on June 27, 2010, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government within the United States without notifying the U.S. Attorney General. Under their plea agreements, the defendants were required to disclose their true identities in court today and to forfeit certain assets attributable to the criminal offenses.
The defendants known as "Richard Murphy" and "Cynthia Murphy" admitted they are Russian citizens named Vladimir Guryev and Lydia Guryev and are agents of the Russian Federation. Defendants "Michael Zottoli" and "Patrica Mills" admitted they are Russian citizens named Mikhail Kutsik and Natalia Pereverzeva, and are agents of the Russian Federation. Defendants "Donald Howard Heathfield" and "Tracey Lee Ann Foley" admitted they are Russian citizens named Andrey Bezrukov and Elena Vavilova, and are agents of the Russian Federation. "Juan Lazaro" admitted that he is a Russian citizen named Mikhail Anatonoljevich Vasenkov and is an agent of the Russian Federation.
The defendants Vicky Pelaez, Anna Chapman and Mikhail Semenko, who operated in this country under their true names, admitted that they are agents of the Russian Federation; and Chapman and Semenko admitted they are Russian citizens.
The United States has agreed to transfer these individuals to the custody of the Russian Federation. In exchange, the Russian Federation has agreed to release four individuals who are incarcerated in Russia for alleged contact with Western intelligence agencies.
"This was an extraordinary case, developed through years of work by investigators, intelligence lawyers, and prosecutors, and the agreement we reached today provides a successful resolution for the United States and its interests," Attorney General Eric Holder said.
"Counterintelligence is a top FBI investigative priority, and this case in particular represents the dedicated efforts of the men and women who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to counter the efforts of those who would steal our nation's vital secrets," said FBI Director Robert S. Mueller.
This case is the result of a multi-year investigation conducted by the FBI and other elements of the U.S. intelligence community; the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York; and the Counterespionage Section and the Office of Intelligence within the Justice Department’s National Security Division.
The prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Farbiarz, Glen Kopp and Jason Smith of the Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, and Trial Attorneys Kathleen Kedian and Richard Scott of the Counterespionage Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. photo