Monday, January 31, 2011

Piracy Challenges Maritime Security Off Somalia

Kuwait Naval Force Brig. Gen. Jassim al Ansari, left, shakes hands with Royal Bahrain Naval Force Col. Isa Al Doseri, his successor as commander of Combined Task Force 152 during a change-of-command ceremony at Mina Salman Pier in Bahrain, Jan. 6, 2011. Combined Task Force 152 is one of three task forces that reports to U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Mark I. Fox, center, in his capacity as commander of Combined Maritime Forces. Established in March 2004, Combined Task Force 152 coordinates theater security cooperation activities with regional partners, conducts maritime security operations, and is prepared to respond to any crisis in the Arabian Gulf. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Eric Brown
Navy Vice Adm. Mark I. Fox, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and the U.S. 5th Fleet, told a group of defense reporters here that pirates have begun commandeer large merchant ships and use them as “mother ships” to put smaller boats into operation far from the coast and beyond the reach of the international forces arrayed against them.
“This is the first time we’ve seen persistent and increased use of mother ships -- up to eight ‘pirate action groups’ as we refer to them, disbursed throughout the region,” Fox said, calling this development a “game changer.”
Such groups may include one or two mother ships that travel with a range of dhows, skiffs and other small craft to attack and hijack international commercial vessels.
Fox said the number of pirate hostages rose from 250 to about 770 between September and January. In response to this and to the pirates’ evolving capabilities, “we’re in a constant process of assessing the way we do our business here.”
The international force that works together in the region includes participation from the political alliance with the European Union, the military alliance with NATO, and military combined task forces that bring together nations from around the world to address critical security issues facing the region, including terrorism and piracy.
U.S Naval Forces Central Command is part of that mosaic, Fox said, “and then we have independent deployers like China or Russia, who are also in the region looking out for the well-being of their ships.”
Everyone in the region has been “too keen” to categorize some efforts as counterpiracy and some as counterterrorism, the admiral noted.
“We’ve not used the same level of rigor and discipline in terms of [investigating] the counterpiracy piece as we have in the counterterrorism piece,” he said. The same techniques should apply to both, he added, including investigating the sources of financing for pirates’ activities, equipment, relationships and supplies.
The fight against piracy and terrorism is a critical issue in the region but it has helped countries in the region work better together, Fox said.
“Pirates are enemies of all, terrorists are enemies of all, and there has been willingness on the part of a large number of nations to come together and work together, where heretofore that hasn’t happened,” the admiral added.
“This is real, no-kidding capability of regional partners developing their own capacity to take care of their own water space, communicate and effectively deal with a threat that they all want to be able to manage,” Fox said

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The last test model Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II

The last Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II assigned to developmental flight testing departs Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base on its first flight January 27th. Known as BF-5, the short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) jet will ferry to NAS Patuxent River, Md., later this year, where it will join four F-35Bs and one F-35C carrier variant aircraft currently undergoing testing. Lockheed Martin photo by Randy Crites.


Friday, January 28, 2011

U.S. Attorney’s Office Seeks Forfeiture of Aircraft Flown into Country Illegally

Photo from Birmingham News

Birmingham AL January 27, 2011 - The U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a civil complaint today seeking forfeiture of a former U.S. Navy military aircraft, its four wing cannons and assorted aircraft parts because they were brought into the country illegally, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance.
The government’s complaint was filed in U.S. District Court against a Douglas AD-4N Skyraider aircraft, its log books, four 20mm M3 aircraft cannons and aircraft parts.
“Regulations and restrictions on the importation of defense articles exist in order to secure and protect the United States,” Vance said. “Forfeiture is an appropriate remedy where a military aircraft is flown into the country without the proper permit and under false pretenses, and an attempt was made to separately smuggle its cannons into the country.”
The complaint charges that the aircraft, owned by Claude Hendrickson, president of Dixie Equipment in Woodstock, was flown into the country in August 2008 without the required authorization from the U.S. Department of State. The complaint also charges that the pilot, who was hired by Hendrickson to fly the plane from France into the United States, provided false information to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Port of Buffalo, N.Y., to gain admittance into the country.
The 20mm cannons arrived at the Port of Savannah, Ga., on Oct. 8, 2008, inside two 40-foot shipping containers being imported by Dixie Equipment, according to the complaint. It states that Customs officers discovered the cannons concealed in a wooden box and hidden under aircraft parts in the nose of one of the containers, although neither the entry form, bill of lading, invoice or other documentation submitted by Dixie Equipment listed the cannons.
Customs officers seized the cannons and aircraft parts on Oct. 15, 2008. Investigation following that seizure revealed the Skyraider airplane had entered the United States illegally, according to the complaint. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents seized the plane pursuant to a court order on April 24, 2009, at the Bessemer Airport, where it had been delivered to Hendrickson in August 2008, the complaint says.
The Skyraider, the cannons and the aircraft parts are all subject to import licensing requirements as “defense articles” under the Arms Export Control Act, according to the government complaint. Federal law prohibits the importation of defense articles without a license or permit. The complaint alleges that neither the State Department nor the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had granted a permit, license or other written authorization for the importation of the Skyraider, the cannons or the aircraft parts at the time they entered the United States.
This case is being investigated by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James Ingram.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

HMS Chatham Final Arrival at Devonport January 26th

Members of HMS Chatham's crew lining her decks on the ship's final approach into Devonport Naval Base

HMS Chatham enters HM Naval Base Devonport for the last time

People of Plymouth welcoming HMS Chatham home

[Pictures: Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]

Southern Partnership Station Delivers Wheelchairs, Water Filters to Guatemala

Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala January 26, 2011 - The Southern Partnership Station (SPS) 2011 team aboard High Speed Vessel Swift (HSV 2) delivered more than 28,000 pounds of Project Handclasp donations to Guatemalan non-government organizations in Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala, Jan. 26.
Forty-four pallets of mobility aids and five pallets of water filtration systems were unloaded from the ship's mission bay in the early morning.
"Project Handclasp is such an important part of SPS, because it ties directly into our goal of partnership and sharing," said SPS 2011 Mission Commander, Cmdr. Mark Becker. "In addition to conducting subject matter expert exchanges with military and government agencies here, we get the chance to deliver aid to those in need."
Project Handclasp is a U.S. Navy program that accepts and transports educational, humanitarian and goodwill material donated by America's private sector on a space-available basis aboard U.S. Navy ships for distribution to foreign nation recipients.
The items were picked up by representatives from Hope Haven Foundation Guatemala, an organization that manufactures wheel chairs for children, and representatives from the University of Virginia (UVA) Guatemala Initiative, a public health program in the highlands of Guatemala that combines medical service, Spanish language acquisition and cultural education in the context of building sustainable relationships with the people and communities of Guatemala.
"We are so pleased today with this donation, and we are very appreciative," said Omar Cruz, Hope Haven Foundation Guatemala representative.
Cruz is a wheelchair user who works at the Antigua, Guatemala, manufacturing plant.
"These products will dramatically assist communities in the islands of Guatemala; provide clean water to schools and homes," said Scott Schubert, UVA Guatemala Initiative representative.
The wheel chair pallets were donated by Hope Haven International Ministries in Iowa, and the water filtration systems were donated by the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Virginia. The total value of the donations was $191, 317.
The HSV 2 crew has delivered Project Handclasp materials to Chile, Ecuador and Haiti as part of SPS 2011 and is scheduled to deliver items to El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua before the conclusion of the mission in April.
SPS is an annual deployment of U.S. ships to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility in the Caribbean and Latin America involving information sharing with navies, coast guards and civilian services throughout the region.
Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (COMUSNAVSO) is the naval component command for U.S. Southern Command and is responsible for all naval personnel and assets in the area of responsibility.
COMUSNAVSO conducts a variety of missions in support of the U.S. maritime strategy, including theater security cooperation, relationship building, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, community relations, and counter-illicit trafficking operations.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Australia day visit to HMAS STUART by Minister Snowdon

The Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Warren Snowdon, joined the ship’s company of HMAS Stuart in the Persian Gulf for a morning tea to acknowledge Australia Day.

HMAS Stuart, which is crewed by 190 members of the Royal Australian Navy, this week commenced maritime security operations in the Middle East Area of Operations as part of Operation SLIPPER.
While deployed, Stuart is working in an area of operations that covers more than two million square miles of international waters to conduct counter-terrorism, counter-piracy and maritime security operations.
Addressing the ship’s company yesterday, Mr Snowdon commended the sailors for the significant role that they carry out in the Middle East as part of the Combined Maritime Forces, which showcases Australia’s security credentials at the international level.
“It is a source of great pride for me, and for the people of Australia, to see the determination and commitment you display as you commence this important mission. Your skills and professionalism enable Australia to make a valuable contribution to regional stability and in the provision of security to sea trade,” Mr Snowdon said aboard HMAS Stuart.

“By targeting illegal trafficking of people, drugs and weapons that support international terrorist organisations, and denying freedom of movement to pirates, your work is instrumental in promoting a safe maritime environment,” he said.
Mr Snowdon also praised the selflessness of all ADF personnel currently away from home while serving on operations on behalf of the Australian people.
“Despite the many personal and family sacrifices involved, including being away from loved ones on special days like Australia Day, you dedicate yourselves to this valuable endeavor, and for this I, on behalf of the Australian people, express my sincere thanks and gratitude.”

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

RAND Releases "Alternative Fuels for Military Applications"

The U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force have all established programs geared toward reducing dependence on the use of fossil fuels in tactical weapon systems such as aircraft, combat ships and vehicles, and supporting equipment. From a technical standpoint, a number of alternative fuels can meet military requirements, but it is uncertain how much these fuels will cost and what effect they may have on the environment, particularly in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. This monograph examines alternative fuels that might be candidates for military applications within ten years, with emphasis on those that either have been or are currently the focus of research, testing, and certification within the Department of Defense (DoD). The authors discuss these fuels' economic viability, technical readiness for commercial production, lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions, and approaches that could be used to reduce those emissions. They also examine the military utility of mobile, in-theater synthetic fuel processes. The authors conclude that DoD goals for alternative fuel use in tactical weapon systems should be based on potential national benefits because the use of alternative fuels offers no direct military benefit over the use of conventional petroleum-derived fuels. Consequently, DoD and Congress should decide whether defense appropriations should continue to support advanced technology for producing alternative liquid fuels. The authors also find that the prospects for commercial production of appreciable amounts of alternative fuels suitable for military applications within the next decade are highly uncertain, that current efforts by the services to test and certify alternative fuels are far outpacing commercial development, and that certain efforts are directed at fuels with a very limited potential for sustainable production.

Read the report

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bataan Completes Ammunition On Load

Earle NJ January 24, 2011 - USS Bataan (LHD 5) successfully completed an ammunition on load Jan. 21 in Earle, N.J., bringing the ship one step closer to its scheduled deployment in 2011.
Bataan's Weapons Department, partnered with personnel from Naval Weapons Station Earle, took on nearly 1,000 pallets of ordnance during the four-day evolution.
"As an amphibious ready group, it is essential to have our ammunition on board in case we are called upon for any mission," said Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Troy King, one of Weapons Department's roving supervisors.
Sailors used a number of techniques to maneuver the ammunition from the pier to the ship.
"We used two cranes, diesel fork lifts, electric forklifts, pallet jacks and good old aviation ordnancemen muscle," said King. "We on loaded an assortment of ammunition including bombs, aircraft missiles, ship launched missiles, rockets, small arms ammunition, demolition materials and ship's defense ammunition."
The goal aboard Bataan was to be expeditious without compromising safety. The event was meticulously planned for months and when it came time for execution, safety remained at the forefront.
Hazards of electromagnetic radiation to ordnance conditions were set throughout the ship. Every fork-lift driver had a spotter, and every elevator operator had a quality-assurance safety observer. Everyone involved in the on load was required to wear the proper personal protective equipment. The hangar bay was secured to nonessential personnel to keep the crew safe and to contribute to a more efficient ammunition on load.
"As always safety is a major part of any evolution we do," said King. "The priority is to bring all ammunition on board and send everyone home with all of their fingers and toes. We are counter productive to mission readiness if we damage equipment or injure personnel."
Multiple departments worked together to seamlessly accomplish the on load.
Machinist's mates worked the elevators, the fire controlmen helped with traffic control and rigging ammo and supply provided hot meals and extended the chow hours when necessary.
"Of course Weapons Department and our fire controlmen played a major role in the on load, but we couldn't have done it without the support of a lot of people," said King. "There are a lot of moving parts involved with preparing for and executing a major on load such as this one. I personally want to thank everyone that supported us and made it a successful and safe evolution."
The on load also gave Sailors the opportunity to receive some in-rate training that isn't available everyday.
"The fire controlmen received on the job training; the new Sailors now know how to properly secure hazardous ammunitions such as the closed in weapons system while transporting it and securing it for sea," said Fire Controlman 2nd Class Charlie Whorton, a flight deck communication rigger.
"We have a bunch of young Sailors. It's my first on load, and we learned a lot from the senior guys — our supervisors," said Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Derek Curtsinger, a magazine assistance supervisor.
Sailors involved with the load, sometimes worked 15 hour shifts, but the hard work paid off, and Bataan wrapped up the on load a day early.
"They worked extremely hard," said King. We had to force some of them to go to bed, or they would have worked through the night. As the command master chief would say, 'they are all rock stars!'"

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Iran to Send Fleet of Warships to Red Sea, Mediterranean Sea (Propaganda)

Tehran January 23, 2011 (FNA) - The Iranian Navy plans to send a fleet of warships, including a home-made destroyer, to the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea in the near future.
"During the mission, the fleet of warships will enter the waters of the Red Sea and then will be dispatched to the Mediterranean Sea," The Iranian Navy Lieutenant Commander Rear Admiral Gholam-Reza Khadem Biqam told FNA on Sunday.
Elaborating on the important features of the mission, Khadem explained that the fleet would pass through the Suez Canal and would move on a very good route.
He said the mission would last for one year.
He also underlined that the fleet would gain good intelligence and information of the regions it is due to visit during the mission.
The Iranian Navy has started extraterritorial missions mainly in 2008. The Navy has lately dispatched its 10th flotilla of warships to the Gulf of Aden to defend the country's cargo ships and oil tankers against the continued threat of attack by Somali pirates.
The intelligence-operational fleet of warships, which consisted of Khark warship and Alvand destroyer, were dispatched to the Gulf of Aden on September 1 to fight Somali buccaneers and guard Iranian cargo ships in the volatile region.
Iran's measure to dispatch the 10th fleet of warships to the Gulf of Aden will boost Navy's operational range in international waters since the Iranian Navy is considered as a strategic regional force with a long operational range.
Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari in September stressed Iran's continued naval deployment in the high seas, and said that he Iranian Navy's presence in the high seas and international waters is part of Tehran's strategy for defending its interests abroad.
The Iranian Navy has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in high seas, including the Gulf of Aden, since November 2008, when Somali raiders hijacked the Iranian-chartered cargo ship, MV Delight, off the coast of Yemen.
Also, Sayyari announced in late 2010 that Iran plans to deploy its first home-made destroyer, 'Jamaran', in the high seas and international waters as part of the country's strategy to defend national interests abroad.
"Jamaran destroyer will be deployed in an area 10 degrees north of international waters in the near future," Sayyari told FNA in October.

Friday, January 21, 2011

NOAA Satellites Aid in the Rescue of 295 People in 2010

Washington January 20, 2011 - In 2010, NOAA satellites were critical in the rescues of 295 people from life-threatening situations throughout the United States and its surrounding waters. The satellites picked up distress signals from emergency beacons carried by downed pilots, shipwrecked boaters and stranded hikers, and relayed the information about their location to first responders on the ground.
NOAA’s polar-orbiting and geostationary satellites, along with Russia’s COSPAS spacecraft, are part of the international Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking system, called COSPAS-SARSAT. This system uses a network of satellites to quickly detect and locate distress signals from emergency beacons onboard aircraft and boats, and from smaller, handheld personal locator beacons called PLBs.
Alaska had the most people rescued last year with 77, followed by Florida with 37, and West Virginia with 17, who were aboard a downed Army Reserve helicopter.
“With each rescue, the COSPAS-SARSAT system performs the way it was intended — as a real, life-saving network,” said Chris O’Connors, program manager for NOAA SARSAT.
When a NOAA satellite finds the location of a distress signal within the United States or its surrounding waters, the information is relayed to the SARSAT Mission Control Center based at NOAA’s Satellite Operations Facility in Suitland, Md. From there, the information is quickly sent to a Rescue Coordination Center, operated by either the U.S. Air Force, for land rescues, or the U.S. Coast Guard, for water rescues.
Now in its 29th year, COSPAS-SARSAT has been credited with supporting more than 28,000 rescues worldwide, including more than 6,500 in the United States and its surrounding waters.
•Of the 295 saves last year, 180 people were rescued from the water, 43 from aviation incidents, and 72 in land situations where they used their PLBs.
•In a joint U.S. Coast Guard-Navy operation, a man was rescued from his capsized boat, 250 miles off of Cape Hatteras, N.C.•A man's car veered off a snowy Colorado road in a blizzard and became stuck. With no cell phone signal, his PLB was the only way to contact authorities for help. •Two people with a seven-member dog team were aboard a helicopter that crashed in Alaska. All lives were saved.•Although not included in the 295 count, Abby Sunderland, a California teen attempting to set a new record for youngest solo sail around the world, was rescued when she activated her emergency beacons. A storm took her mast — which also left her satellite phone inoperable — and left her boat adrift in the southern Indian Ocean over 2,000 miles from shore. Hers is among the non-U.S. rescues in 2010; those numbers will officially be released later this year.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Royal Navy moves Iraqi Navy step forward

London January 20, 2011 - The Royal Navy has been training the Iraqi Navy in Umm Qasr as part of a coalition training team since 2004. Most recently they have been supporting the Iraqi Navy by delivering Swift patrol boat training and mentoring the future Iraqi Navy training staff.
In advance of the first operational patrol the crew had to complete a final sea assessment conducted by a joint Iraqi and coalition team. They passed with flying colours and proceeded on patrol immediately.
The importance of the patrol to the Iraqi Navy was emphasised by it occurring on Iraqi National Army Day - 7 January 2011.
Lieutenant Abdul, the captain of patrol boat 301, said:
"It was a significant day, especially since the patrol was part of the Iraqi National Army Day."
Captain Gary Sutton, Commanding Officer Iraqi Training and Advisory Mission - Navy [ITAM-N] (Umm Qasr), said:
"Today the Iraqi Navy has made a huge step forward with the first Swiftships patrol of ABOT. I am proud of their accomplishment, but I would also like to acknowledge the achievements of the highly professional training and advisory coalition team in ITAM-N whose training of the Iraqi Navy made this possible."
This new class of modern patrol boat marks a significant step forward in the operational capability of the Iraqi Navy.
Built by Swiftships in the USA, these high-speed, 35-metre vessels are armed with the 30mm British MSI gun and are ideal for their role of defending the vitally important Iraqi offshore oil infrastructure.
The Iraqi Navy of 2,500 personnel, 11 patrol boats and 35 fast attack craft will be joined over the next 12 months by a further 14 Swift patrol boats.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New home court for OMI on Coast Guard Island

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

by Petty officer 3rd Class Caleb Critchfield

The sounds of the dribbling ball and shoes skidding across the hard wood floor echo through the gym as white jerseys flash down the court, weaving in between the dark blue uniforms of the opposing team.
The Oakland Military Institute Boys Basketball team, the Grizzly’s, squared off against the Phillip and Sala Burton High School Boys Varsity Basketball team at the new home court of the Grizzly’s, located on Coast Guard Island in Alameda, Calif.
The Oakland Military Institute is California’s first charter school established in 2001 and was founded by former mayor of Oakland, and current California governor, the Honorable Jerry Brown. OMI consists of a racially diverse student body with a focus on military style discipline and leadership. The campus has no problem academically facilitating a little more than five hundred students, but its limited area left little room for the school’s sports teams to practice and compete.
Coast Guard Capt. Keith Turro, commander, Base Support Unit Alameda, and Dr. Mark Ryan, superintendent of the Oakland Military Institute, came together to sign a memorandum of agreement on Nov. 10, 2010, formally recognizing the partnership between BSU Alameda and OMI.
“I’m excited to be establishing this partnership with this school and to give the student body a chance to be exposed to the Coast Guard through our service members and facilities,” said Turro.
The agreement, in alignment with the Coast Guard’s Partnerships in Education program, gives the students at OMI access to the Coast Guard gym and sports facilities on Coast Guard Island.
The PIE program is a youth outreach program that serves as a tool to enhance educational opportunities and awareness of military careers for young men and women from an array of cultural backgrounds.
“The Coast Guard values educational partnerships such as these and works collaboratively with schools and community-based organizations to provide opportunities for students to enhance their academic skills, and increase personal initiative, responsibility, and individual self-worth,” said Gwendolyn White, the Partnership in Education coordinator at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington D.C. “For nearly twenty years, the Coast Guard has supported partnership programs in communities nationwide.”
The school’s mission is to pair military discipline with college preparatory classes and to provide a structured academic program through military style discipline. In this environment, the cadets are encouraged to develop as scholars and citizens with the tools they need to become future leaders.
“This agreement will help OMI to have a place for our athletic programs, and it also provides a link to the Coast Guard for academic programs, study groups and tutoring,” said Ryan.
The agreement will also serve OMI’s girls varsity basketball, girls and boys varsity soccer teams, boys volleyball and girls softball. Coast Guard Island will also host several weekend baseball clinics in early March in order to help OMI develop a baseball program.
By promoting academic excellence, dedication and self-discipline, the PIE program encourages the Coast Guard to provide academic and athletic support, while cultivating the curiosity of young men and women interested in joining the service. The signing of this agreement, and the formation of this new partnership, paves the way to a better future for Bay Area youth and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Body of Missing Navy Sailor Recovered

Manama January 19, 2011 - The body of a U.S. Navy sailor reported missing from the USS Halsey (DDG 97) Jan. 18 was recovered Jan. 19 during search and rescue operations in the Gulf of Oman.
On Jan. 18, the sailor did not report to watch and, after a search of the ship, a man overboard was called away.
Helicopters from Halsey, USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), USNS Rainier (T-AOE-7) and the Royal Navy's HMS Cumberland (F 85), F/A 18 Hornets from the Lincoln and P-3 maritime patrol aircraft participated in the search operations.
The sailor's name is being withheld pending next of kin notification.
The incident is under investigation.
Halsey is deployed to 5th Fleet conducting maritime security operations.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Portland City Council to Vote on USS John F. Kennedy Aircraft Carrier Project

Portland ME January 18, 2011 - On Wednesday, January 19, the USS JFK Museum will present a detailed business plan to the Portland City Council (7:00pm) in hopes to gain their support in the effort to bring the decommissioned aircraft carrier to Casco Bay. The Navy requires organizations seeking to acquire the ship in their donation program to have the support of its host city as part of the "Phase II" submission. The Portland City Council must vote in favor of the project or Portland will be disqualified for consideration, leaving Newport, RI as another potential host city and the possibility of the ship being scrapped as the only other alternatives. Being the last non-nuclear powered aircraft carrier in the fleet, the USS JFK is also in all probability, the last U.S. Navy aircraft carrier to ever go on public display as a museum.
Woods, who leads the USS JFK Museum organization as CEO/Executive Director, will be presenting a detailed budget and business plan outlining the benefits and economic opportunity the project holds along with the commitment that the acquisition process and future operation of the USS JFK Museum will come at no expense to the city or its taxpayers. In fact, the plan being presented will include significant direct revenue projections to the City of Portland along with the expected annual positive economic impact to Portland and the region in the tens-of-million-of-dollars.
"Early feedback concerning the USS JFK Museum only focused on the size of the ship while ignoring the enormity of the opportunity. I believe that the USS JFK Museum has the potential to serve as the greatest single catalyst for local & regional growth ever experienced here in Maine," said Woods. "Our presentation to the Portland City Council on Wednesday evening will demonstrate a forward looking vision along with the practical details needed to evaluate a project of this magnitude. All I'm asking from the Mayor, the City Councilors and the public is to keep an open mind in regard to this proposal as we hope to enter the Navy's Phase III period for securing the ship (next 7-months) – at which point, there will be ample time to sink this process if that becomes the collective will. But, to do so now preemptively serves no purpose," concluded Woods.
Naval aviator (and famous attorney), F. Lee Bailey, is expected to attend to the Portland City Council meeting to speak in favor of the project as a current Maine (and longtime – coming to Maine first in 1933) resident and former member of the military as a jet fighter pilot. F. Lee Bailey has also experienced a carrier landing/launch on the USS JFK a few years ago during an official visit to the ship at the invitation of the US Navy.
In addition to serving as the CEO/Executive Director of the USS JFK Museum organization (501 (c)(3): 30-0593890, Stephen M. Woods is also the Founder/CEO of emg3/TideSmart Global (an international experiential marketing firm based in the Portland area), an elected Town Councilor from Yarmouth, and a Board Member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Maine.)


Monday, January 17, 2011

Wasp Moves to BAE Shipyard

Portsmouth VA January 14, 2011 - USS Wasp (LHD 1) made a "dead-stick" move down the Elizabeth River Jan. 13, to BAE Systems Shipyard in Portsmouth, Va., to begin the multipurpose amphibious assault ship's scheduled Phased Maintenance Availability (PMA).
"This is a $16 million CNO (chief of naval operations) availability primarily focused on critical work in the engineering department," said Capt. Brenda Holdener, USS Wasp commanding officer.
"In addition, we are doing $4.6 million of work for modifications to support the Joint Strike Fighter testing. It is much-needed work to improve the material condition of Wasp."
The PMA is a chief of naval operations maintenance period, less than six months in duration, for the accomplishment of labor-intensive industrial maintenance and modernization. During the availability, the ship will be in an extensive industrial environment with limited hotel services, with electricity and intermittent periods of potable water being available for use.
"While in the yards, Wasp will accomplish upgrades to both boilers and receive needed maintenance throughout the ship to sustain a high degree of condition readiness," said Cmdr. Stephen W. Connell, USS Wasp chief engineer.
The PMA is running concurrently with Wasp's Continuous Maintenance Availability (CMAV), which began in August 2010. While the PMA is specific to the JSF modifications and boiler upgrades, the CMAV is a more general maintenance period.
"There is a lot of work that needs to be done," said Lt. Cmdr. Arthur E. Harvey, USS Wasp maintenance officer. "Our plate is full, but with team work and coordination we will accomplish all of our objectives."
Because the ship will remain pier side for an extended period of time, many Wasp Sailors are using the time to attend schools and off-ship training. It is also a period where the crew can expect a regular schedule of drills to keep their skills sharp and to ensure continuity for when the ship leaves the yards.
"Operational readiness and success in the certification phase starts with effective training and drilling in the yards," said Cmdr. Howard B. Link, USS Wasp operations officer. "It is always a challenge to balance the demands of a heavy workload with a drill schedule, but it is necessary to make this extra effort to maintain readiness."
Wasp, the lead ship of its class, was commissioned July 29, 1989. Wasp is the tenth ship to bear the name Wasp. The 844-foot ship weighs 40,532 tons and carries a crew of approximately 1,000. Wasp was selected in 2010 to be the test platform for the F-35B Lightning II, the short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant of the JSF.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Survey Ships to assist in Queensland recovery

Canberra January 17, 2011 - Cairns based Royal Australian Navy Survey Ships HMAS Shepparton and Paluma departed Cairns in the early hours of Saturday morning to proceed at best speed towards Moreton Bay and Brisbane. Expected to arrive on Tuesday, the ships will meet up with Sydney-based mine hunter, HMAS to help with efforts to re-open the shipping channel to deep-draught commercial vessels.
Proving the main shipping channel clear of obstructions from the floods ultimately allows the recovery effort to proceed faster, rebuilding to accelerate, and restores vital economic activity for all of Queensland. As the flood waters travel at speed, they have the ability to transport great volumes and larger sizes of sediment, gravels, rocks and other debris.
As the waters enter the wider expanses of Moreton Bay, the speed of the water decreases, and the greatest majority of the sediments will precipitate out of the flood waters. This has the potential to create blockages of the shipping channel - although the extent of this is currently unknown.
"I have a great sense of pride in being able to help our fellow Queenslanders, and hope that our efforts, as a small part of the help being provided by the ADF, other Queenslanders, and Australians in general, will help Brisbane and SE Queensland with the task of re-building", said Lieutenant Commander Adam Muckalt Commanding Officer, HMAS Shepparton.
Leading Seaman Hydrographic Systems Operator Kelly Denner added: "I am proud to assist and provide ongoing support to the people of SE Queensland throughout this natural disaster".
Seaman Marine Technician Nick Cook said "When I was told that we were deploying to help with the flood relief I couldn't wait to start helping out with the clean-up effort, and I will be extremely proud to be wearing uniform whilst doing so."

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Deploys

USS Enterprise at Sea January 13, 2011 - The Enterprise Carrier Strike Group (CSG) departed its homeport of Norfolk Jan. 13 to embark upon its first deployment since 2007.
Slated to deploy for operations in the U.S. Navy's 5th and 6th Fleets, this deployment is part of an ongoing rotation of U.S. forces supporting maritime security operations in international waters around the globe.
Working with allied and partner maritime forces, the Enterprise CSG units will focus heavily on maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts, which help establish conditions for regional stability.
The Enterprise CSG consists of approximately 6,000 Sailors who, during the last four months, have successfully completed refresher training and certifications to ensure they operate effectively and safely together.
"We have trained long and hard to get to this day," said Rear Adm. Terry B. Kraft, commander of the Enterprise CSG. "Since beginning workups in April of last year, this team of Sailors and Marines in our strike group have honed their skills at sea in order to be ready to execute our missions of forward naval presence, maritime security operations, theater security cooperation and crisis response, if required."
This is the third deployment leading an aircraft carrier into combat operations during the last three years for Capt. Dee L. Mewbourne, who assumed duties as commanding officer of USS Enterprise (CVN 65) Jan. 4. Mewbourne most recently commanded USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), where led her crew through two successful combat deployments.
"Enterprise has a proud history of more than 49 years. Our nation, our Navy and our families, too, should be proud of our crew who has gone above and beyond to make the ship ready to deploy," said Mewbourne. "Make no mistake, Enterprise and her crew are ready to answer our nation's call."
Before saying their goodbyes and pulling away from the pier, Enterprise Sailors were busy working around the clock to make final deployment preparations to ensure thousands of mission-essential supplies were properly on-loaded, off-loaded and stowed for sea.
"We've been running the crane every day for the past few weeks now, bringing on all kinds of materials for ship's company and the air wing," said Logistics Specialist 3rd Class Matthew R. Cascella, who works for the S-8 Division of Enterprise's Supply Department. "Our duty sections were working up to taps each day to make sure we have all the supplies we need and that they are organized and distributed."
This deployment, the 21st for the carrier since its commissioning in 1961, also marks the first deployment of the centennial year of naval aviation.
"For 100 years, we have operated aircraft from the decks of warships. It's appropriate that our most accomplished active aircraft carrier is the first to deploy this year," said Kraft.
The Enterprise CSG consists of Enterprise, the guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), the guided-missile destroyers USS Bulkeley (DDG 84), USS Barry (DDG 52) and USS Mason (DDG 87), USNS Arctic (T-AOE 8), Carrier Air Wing 1 and Destroyer Squadron 2.

Obit Stuart Edward Soward

December 26, 1924 – January 10, 2011
Retired LCdr. Stuart E. Soward passed away peacefully on January 10, 2011. Pre-deceased by his brother, Maurice. He will be greatly missed by his wife, Sheila; daughters, Kathie Arundell, Beth Danskin (Danny), Fiona Soward (Lyse); son, Stuart (Sandra); sister, Jean Morrow; grandsons, Michael Danskin, Ross Soward and granddaughter, Susan Danskin and his many nephews and nieces.

Stu was born on December 26, 1924, raised in Vancouver and enlisted in the RCAF in June1943 for pilot training, obtaining his wings in 1944. In 1945, he enlisted in the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm as a pilot, later that year transferring to the newly-formed RCN Air Branch joining 825 Canadian Firefly Squadron. He had a rewarding career as an operational naval pilot having flown 15 different aircraft serving extensively in first line squadrons flying both fighter and ASW aircraft aboard all three of Canadas’ aircraft carriers, participating in the Cold War with NATO forces. In 1954, Stu was officially commended by the Chief of the Naval Staff for his invention and development of an improved aircraft night landing signal system which was adopted by the RCN. His last tour of operational flying was as Officer-in-Charge of the 12 plane Tracker detachment aboard Bonaventure in 1961. Following command of the West Coast Naval Air Squadron and Staff appointments, he retired in 1970 at Victoria, where he first became involved in Community Affairs, serving on the Board of Directors of the Victoria Symphony Society and two years as President.
Stu’s business activities began as a member of the Board of Directors of Data Processing Company, later being assigned the role of Manager and President. He subsequently purchased a fuel oil distributor and became the local Agent for Pacific Petroleum Ltd. After selling the Agency he joined an Aviation Consulting partnership and was appointed the Vancouver Island Member of the Board of Directors of the BC Aviation Council. He then joined the Bureau of Management Consultants, Ottawa, where he prepared operational procedures for the Canadian International Development Agency’s (CIDA) various international projects.
In 1985, Stu began researching the biography of Canadian Naval Pilot Lt. Hampton Gray, who, flying from the aircraft carrier HMS Formidable, was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, the only Canadian Naval Officer in WW2 to be so honoured. This first book, A Formidable Hero was published in 1987. Stu wrote and published a total of four books over the next eight years. All were on the subject of Canadian Naval Aviation history and related flying activities.
In 1988, focusing his interest in Lt Gray’s heroic exploit, he initiated a project to erect a memorial at Onagawa Bay, Japan where Gray was killed. With strong support from the Canadian Embassy Tokyo, the monument was unveiled on August 9, 1989 adjacent to the Japanese memorial dedicated to their own war dead. The Gray Memorial is the only monument in Japan erected to a foreign hero. Accordingly, Stu was awarded the Naval Officers’ Association of Canada Medal “For Exemplary Achievement in Service to NOAC and Canada”. In recognition of Stu’s achievements during his naval service, the Shearwater Aviation Museum has generously offered to dedicate the renaming of the West Wing to “Soward Hall”. Stu felt very honoured.
In 1995 he was chosen as the City of Victoria’s representative to the newly-formed Victoria Airport Authority. The same year Stu was awarded the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation, recognizing the efforts of those Veterans “who in an exemplary way have contributed to the remembrance of the sacrifices and achievements of Canadians in armed conflict” on behalf of Canadian Veterans.
The only business unfinished for Stu was the halting of the Mega Marina planned for Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Stu worked relentlessly with his friends, Terry Milne, Peter Pollen, Patrick Finnigan and Peter Chance through the Victoria Harbour Defence Alliance and were pleased when the City downsized the development. He can rest knowing this issue is in their capable hands.
Stu requested no Memorial Service and in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Cancer Society or Victoria Hospice. A gathering of family and friends is to be held at the Union Club, 805 Gordon Street, Victoria, B.C. from 2pm to 4pm on Monday, January 17th, 2011. Condolences may be offered to the family at

United States Marine Corps Page Surpasses One Million Fans on Facebook

Washington January 13, 2011 - The United States Marine Corps – America's Expeditionary Force in Readiness committed to the protection of Americans and their interests at home and abroad – recently surpassed one million fans on its recruiting command's Facebook page.
The Marine Corps Recruiting Command's (MCRC) Facebook page currently has more "likes" than any other official military service page.
The recruiting command launched its Facebook page ( in 2008, becoming the first branch of the military with an official page. Posts made to the Facebook page have been viewed more than 73.8 million times with more than 420,000 interactions ("comments" and "likes") over the last 12 months. The recruiting command is increasingly using social networking sites to connect and communicate with potential Marines, Marine parents, supporters, and those capable of influencing the enlistment decision.
"The Marine Corps consists of the few and the proud – an elite and diverse group of men and women who are always faithful to our nation, the Marine Corps and each other, and we want to share our story with as many people as possible," said Lieutenant Colonel Darrin Kazlauskas, Assistant Chief of Staff for Advertising, MCRC. "Facebook and other social media serve critical communication functions that enable us to reach our prospects more directly."
Facebook is part of the Marine Corps' integrated multimedia communication platform for its recruiting efforts that includes YouTube, Twitter and MySpace. The United States Marine Corps' Facebook page provides an open, interactive space for users to engage and connect with the Corps. People that "like" the page opt-in to receive a steady stream of posts regarding Marine Corps subjects, such as its history, training, enlistment, gear and missions.
To help share the story of the Marine Corps and provide a more immersive experience, MCRC recently launched two new tabs and a custom Marine Corps-branded Facebook application:
The Marines tab was created to provide a more targeted and engaging content experience for new and active users. The Marines tab provides relevant videos, applications and links to other Marine Corps websites and social properties, and helps direct users to additional information. It also encourages users to join the conversation by posting on the wall, where many prospects and parents ask questions of the community about serving as one of America's Few.
For those ready to take the next step, the Join the Few tab directs users to the appropriate form to request more information and contact a recruiter. If users still have questions about service they are directed to our discussion board that is actively moderated.
From prospects considering service, to parents whose children have recently deployed, many users on the page have expressed interest in connecting with others in the Marine Corps family. Marine Connect helps facilitate those connections by enabling users to proclaim their affiliation with the Corps and search for and discover others that share the same passion for the organization. The application uses a map tool that gives users the ability to pin-point their current city, forming virtual networks of Marines, potential Marines and Marine Corps supporters from coast to coast.

A few fans of MCRC's Facebook page shared their stories of how they interact with the page, below:
Sean Wayne Sebastian: I enlisted on November 10th, 2010, the Marine Corps 235th birthday. The first comment I read on this website was regarding the Marine Corps birthday and I felt honored to enlist on the day the Marine Corps was born. I start basic at Parris Island, SC. on February 23, 2011.
Jeffrey Hensley: The United States Marine Corps Facebook page has allowed for me to continue towards my goal to becoming a Marine Officer. I am currently in 10th grade, and looking towards the Naval Academy as my place of choice to start off my life in the military. Because of this page and the Marine Connect application, I have figured out answers to questions on the Academy, and what to do, and how to get accepted, that I wouldn't have figured out anywhere else. Thank You USMC, I cannot wait for my day to come. Semper Fi, and God Bless.
Halley Hogan: I already know I'm going to be a Marine, but this page has been great for keeping me posted on everything going on in the Marine Corps, from the troops in Afghanistan to Toys for Tots. It also helped me make the decision between NROTC and just enlisting after high school, which is something I was having trouble with. I've also decided to recommend that my parents look at this page, to show them that not only am I serious about becoming a Marine, but I'm also completely sure that it's the right thing for me to do, and I want them to know that. In short, this page is amazing! Semper Fi!


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hue City Begins Cruiser Modification

Mayport January 12, 2011 - The Ticonderoga Class guided-missile cruiser USS Hue City (CG 66) began the process of cruiser modification Sept. 29, to extend the ship's life and enhance combat capability.

Hue City is the second ship at Naval Station Mayport to go through the modification process.

In 2003, the Navy decided to upgrade 22 of the 27 Ticonderoga Class guided-missile cruisers (CG 52 - CG 73), in an effort to keep these ships combat-relevant until a new generation of surface warships can be designed and built. This conversion will extend each ships service life to 35 years. The conversion will also allow the ships to participate in land attack, littoral undersea warfare, force protection and anti-air defense missions; including ballistic missile defense.

Part of the many modifications happening aboard Hue City is an all-electric conversion. This is when the steam-operated equipment is replaced with electric equipment.

"The core of the modification package is to upgrade the engineering plant to an all-electrical configuration by removing the waste heat boiler systems," said Don Doyle, port engineer. "This is a tremendous undertaking for these systems and it extends throughout the ship. The waste heat boilers are very maintenance intensive and a major contributor to just about all the ships internal corrosion issues."

Other equipment affected includes washers and dryers, cooking kettles, dishwashers, fuel oil heaters and potable water heaters.

"The Navy spends millions of dollars of repair money every year fixing problems with our evaporators and other portions of the steam system. Not only does it cost a lot, but the unseen cost is the many man hours the crew uses fixing these steam-related problems," said Lt. Peter Furman, the ship's systems test officer.

Additionally, there are some other improvements being made to Hue City as part of this modification.

"There will be a significant weight reduction to improve ship's stability and to enable growth for the ship's extended service life," said Furman. "In all, the cruiser modification program is critical to sustain surface combatant force structure and will provide a cost effective bridge to the introduction of our future family of ships."

Other alterations include superstructure strengthening and improved main space firefighting capabilities.

This $24 million dollar project will give Hue City critical new war fighting capabilities as combat systems are upgraded, while crew size and maintenance requirements are reduced. The ship will receive the combat systems portion of the cruiser modification in its 2014 availability.

"It's a privilege to be associated with a project of this magnitude," said Furman. "This is a significant period in the ship's life. Ultimately, it will improve the quality of life for Hue City's Sailors."

Capt. Paul Stader, USS Hue City commanding officer, said the crew is ready for the challenges ahead.

"The process of the shipyard environment is very testing and because the ship is out of its element, it can be a challenging period for the crew and leadership," said Stader. "It's been a very productive yard period, but we look forward doing to what we do best, and that's being underway at sea. It has been a great effort between us, Southeast Regional Maintenance Center and the many government contractors. We are ready to wrap this up and get operational."

The mission of USS Hue City is to conduct prompt, sustained combat operations at sea in support of a carrier battle group or amphibious assault group and is designed to defend against coordinated saturation attacks involving enemy surface ships, submarines, aircraft and missiles.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

NORAD Flight Exercise Planned for Washington, D.C.

North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and its geographical component, the Continental U.S. NORAD Region (CONR), will conduct a three-day exercise -- Falcon Virgo 11-04 -- beginning Tuesday in the National Capital Region, Washington, D.C.
Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s flights are scheduled to take place between 11:30 p.m. and 5:30 a.m EST. Thursday’s flights are scheduled to take place between 11:30 p.m. and 1:30 a.m.
In the event of inclement weather, the exercise will take place the next day, until all training requirements are met. If bad weather continues, officials will then make a decision to postpone or cancel the exercise.


U.S. Naval Forces Aid Distressed Mariners

Manama January 10, 2011 - U.S. ships provided medical assistance to crew members from two vessels in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility since Jan. 1.
Amphibious dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) provided medical assistance to an Indian crew member of a fishing vessel in the Arabian Gulf Jan 2. Later that week, USS Momsen (DDG 92), assigned to Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, Combined Maritime Forces' (CMF) counter-piracy mission, responded to a medical emergency aboard an Iranian fishing vessel 400 nautical miles north of Seychelles, off the coast of Somalia.
USS Carter Hall lookouts observed an individual aboard a vessel waving his hands over his head and gesturing for help. Carter Hall immediately responded by dispatching an assistance team to provide aid.
The team discovered an injured man with a pressure dressing on his right arm. The crewman of the distressed vessel sustained the injury when his shirt was caught in the vessel's engine fan while performing maintenance.
"Given the extent and type of injury, the man could have developed significant problems," said Lt. Dustin Lorentz, USS Carter Hall medical officer. "The Carter Hall medical team is always prepared to provide prompt and quality treatment to a person in need."
A USS Momsen medical team treated a 15-year-old boy aboard an Iranian fishing vessel Jan. 5. His injuries were not serious and there was no requirement for him to be medically evacuated.
"We are delighted that once again CMF has been able to provide humanitarian assistance in an emergency," said Lt. Cmdr. Susie Thomson, Royal navy CMF spokesperson. "Mariners of all nations take pride in supporting each other and this occasion was no exception. We are particularly glad that this boy's injuries were not more serious and that he could remain with his crew mates."
Carter Hall is part of the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts. Kearsarge ARG is operating as a theater reserve force for U.S. Central Command.
CTF 151's mission is to deter, disrupt and suppress piracy, protecting maritime vessels of all nationalities and securing freedom of navigation in the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin.
In conjunction with NATO and European Naval Forces, CTF 151 conducts patrols in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor and supports best management practice methods for piracy avoidance that are promoted to the shipping industry.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Enterprise Strike Group to Deploy

Norfolk January 7, 2011 - Commander, Second Fleeet announced Jan. 7, that Enterprise Carrier Strike Group (ENT CSG) will deploy for operations in the U.S. Navy's 5th and 6th Fleet areas Jan. 13.

This deployment is part of an ongoing rotation of U.S. forces supporting maritime security operations in international waters around the globe. Working with allied and partner maritime forces, ENT CSG units will focus heavily on maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts which help establish conditions for regional stability.

"I'm extremely proud of the men and women of the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group," said Rear Adm. Terry B. Kraft, commander of ENT CSG. "These sailors and Marines have exceeded all expectations in a very short amount of time. We are trained and ready to go over the horizon and support our joint and coalition partners in the execution our nation's maritime strategy."

ENT CSG consists of approximately 6,000 sailors who, over the last four months, have successfully completed refresher training and certifications to ensure they operate effectively and safely together.

"Enterprise returned to the waterfront last spring ready to tackle her upcoming deployment. The strike group spent most of October at sea training during a challenging Composite Training Unit Exercise, and after a successful Joint Task Force Exercise in December, we spent our time ensuring the ship, our Sailors, and our families were ready for this deployment," said Kraft.

This is the third deployment leading an aircraft carrier into combat operations over the last three years for Capt. Dee L. Mewbourne, who assumed duties as commanding officer of USS Enterprise (CVN 65) Tuesday. Mewbourne most recently commanded USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) and while in command he completed two successful combat deployments supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

"It is clear Team Enterprise is trained and ready to accomplish the missions that lay ahead. I am honored to be joining such a professional crew and to be a part of the legacy and heritage of Enterprise," Mewbourne said.

ENT CSG is made up of Commander, Carrier Strike Group 12, the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 2, the guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), and the guided-missile destroyers USS Barry (DDG 52), USS Bulkeley (DDG 84), and USS Mason (DDG 87). The squadrons of CVW 1 embarked in Enterprise are Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 11 "Red Rippers," VFA 136 "Knighthawks," VFA 211 "Fighting Checkmates," Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 251 "Thunderbolts," Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 123 "Screwtops," Carrier Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ) 137 "Rooks," Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40 "Rawhides," and Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 11 "Dragonslayers."

Friday, January 7, 2011

Carl Vinson CSG to Visit Republic of Korea

USS Carl Vinson at Sea January 7, 2011 - The USS Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group (CSG) will visit the Republic of Korea (ROK) Jan. 11.

USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) will visit Busan; USS Gridley (DDG 101) and USS Stockdale (DDG 106) will visit Chinhae.

The Carl Vinson CSG is conducting a regularly scheduled deployment to the Western Pacific. While in port, the crews will participate in community service projects, as well as sporting events, with the ROK Navy.

"Regular visits to ports in this region are an important part of our presence and engagement here. We are not only allies but we've been fortunate to forge real friendships with the Korean people," said Rear Adm. Samuel Perez, Carl Vinson CSG commander. "Through the events we have planned in Busan and Chinhae, our Sailors are looking forward to learning more about this wonderful culture and strengthening an already healthy relationship."

In addition to the surface ships attached to the strike group, Carl Vinson is home to Destroyer Squadron 1 and Carrier Air Wing 17, which includes: the "Red Lions" of Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron 15; the "Fighting Redcocks" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 22; the "Fists of the Fleet" of VFA 25; the "Sunliners" of VFA 81; the "Stingers" of VFA 113; the "Rawhides" of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 40; the "Garudas" of Electronic Attack Squadron 134; and the "Tigertails" of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 125.

"For many of our Sailors, this will be their first visit to a foreign land," said Perez. "We feel very fortunate that they'll be able to experience that here and build relationships they'll remember for years to come."

The U.S. Navy maintains a robust forward presence in the Asia-Pacific region, utilizing both forward deployed naval forces in Japan and Guam, as well as rotationally deployed forces from the continental United States and Hawaii.

Carrier Strike Group 1 was formally established October 1, 2009, and led Carl Vinson and Bunker Hill when the ships supported disaster response and humanitarian operations in Haiti in 2010.

This is Bunker Hill's first deployment since it underwent cruiser modernization, the first Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser to complete its mid-life modernization.

This is Stockdale's maiden deployment, and Carl Vinson's first deployment to 7th Fleet since 2005.